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Professor Jean NICOD

Derek Ford et Paul Williams
p. 7-8

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1It is an honour to be invited to contribute to an appreciation of Jean NICOD, the renowned karstologist, respected colleague and long-standing friend. We two first met him when we joined the world of international karst studies and its many enthusiasts at a field symposium of the 1964 International Geographical Congress in London. Organised by our PhD supervisor, Marjorie SWEETING, it took place amidst the glaciated limestone benches, karren fields, dolines and caves of the Yorkshire Dales in northeast England. Many established notables were there, including Alfred BÖGLI, Hans CRAMER, Ivan GAMS, Joe JENNINGS, Vladimir PANOS and the leader of the climamorphic school himself, Herbert LEHMANN. Jean CORBEL’s controversial proposition of 1959 - that karst evolves faster in humid cold climates than in humid tropical ones – was vigorously debated by all. We remember Jean NICOD courteously holding an umbrella over Alfred as arguments continued in the rain on the steeply sloping rinnenkarren of ‘Hutton Roof’, a famous site.

2A few years later Jean joined an excursion of the UIS Commission on Karst Erosion to Ireland led by Paul WILLIAMS. Following a meeting at the University of Lancaster, the group travelled to Ireland, visiting Marble Arch Cave in Fermanagh, the dry Cong Canal at Lough Mask and then the glacio-karst of the Burren in County Clare, where Jean NICOD and other karst leprechauns climbed onto a limestone glacial erratic (in the photo, Jean is sitting at far left behind Ivan GAMS).

3We knew Jean NICOD as a precise, collegial and scholarly gentleman. His first refereed karst publication appeared in 1948 and since then his wide range of interests and expertise may be likened to those of Jovan CVIJIC, the founder of modern karst studies. The doctoral students that Jean inspired and guided in the field of karst geomorphology have, in turn, given us exceptional innovation and stimulation in their findings, providing international leadership worthy of his tradition and memory.

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Derek Ford et Paul Williams, « Professor Jean NICOD »Physio-Géo, Volume 16 | -1, 7-8.

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Derek Ford et Paul Williams, « Professor Jean NICOD »Physio-Géo [En ligne], Volume 16 | 2021, mis en ligne le 17 mai 2021, consulté le 25 mars 2023. URL : ; DOI :

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Derek Ford

Honorary University Professor, CANADA.

Paul Williams

Honorary University Professor, NEW ZEALAND.

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