The Schlumberger Medal recognizes scientific excellence in mineralogy and its applications. It is my great pleasure to present this to you tonight, Dr Paul Nadeau, for your contributions to clay mineralogy of which the most significant has been the proposal that interstratified clay minerals are composed of nano-crystalline ‘fundamental particles’ whose absorptive interfaces are responsible for the expanding smectite layers observed by X-ray diffraction. This model has not been without opposition, but the debate it generated has inspired other mineralogists to seek alternative explanations, which in themselves have advanced our knowledge of clay mineral genesis.

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