Good evening ladies and gentlemen.

It is a particular pleasure for me to introduce the 18th Glossop Medal Lecturer, Dr Jackie Skipper (Fig. 1). It was Jackie who unravelled the mysteries of the Lambeth Group for me and many others, who introduced me to Chris King and to the insights he provided on the London Clay, and who, with her infectious enthusiasm, explained the geological history of the materials we would deal with on many of the projects with which I became involved at the Geotechnical Consulting Group (GCG). Jackie joined GCG in 2007 and is a Senior Consultant.

Jackie came relatively late to Engineering Geology, arriving, unusually, via the National Health Service, where she had followed a career in crisis resource management, which included having a helping hand in over 800 cardiac arrests- clearly Engineering Geology's gain and the NHS's loss.

Dr Jacqueline Skipper was awarded a First Class Honours degree in Geology at The University of Greenwich in 1993. In 1995 she began a PhD at Imperial College, studying the stratigraphy and sediments of the Lambeth Group, which were at that time poorly understood. During her research she worked with engineers involved in a wide range of tunnelling and infrastructure projects including the Jubilee Line Extension, Channel Tunnel Rail Link (HS1), M11 Link Road, and Newbury Bypass, using this experience to produce a new interpretation and model for the Lambeth Group. Jackie's landmark paper on the lithologies of the Lambeth Group, which she co-authored with Darren Page, was published in 2000 (Page and Skipper 2000).

Between 2000 and 2002, Dr Skipper continued her research in stratigraphy and mineralogy at the Natural History Museum, London, where she provided expert input into a range of ground investigations including HS1 and the developing Crossrail and Tideway projects. During this period she started her CPD and field training programmes in stratigraphy.

In 2002 Dr Skipper joined the Dublin Port Tunnel Project as senior geologist, working with Haswell and GCG. She introduced a system of rigorous logging, recording and interpretation techniques for all open cut and tunnelled sections in the faulted and rafted Carboniferous limestone and glacial tills of the project. This allowed a novel application of the observational method to the stability of soil nailed slopes.

Between 2003 and 2007 Dr Skipper was back at the Natural History Museum, working as a geological advisor and peer reviewer on a wide range of projects including the Channel Tunnel Rail Link collapse in Stratford.

At GCG Dr Skipper has been a senior consulting geologist on the ground investigation and construction for many major tunnel projects including Crossrail, Crossrail 2, the Thames Water Tideway Project, the Lee Tunnel, HS2 and the Northern Line Extension.

Dr Skipper is a strong advocate of Project Specific Geological Training as a tool in project ground risk identification and reduction, and she teaches a wide range of courses on aspects of engineering geology. It is probably on one of these courses that many of you here first met Jackie. She co-founded the Lyme Regis Fossil and Coastal Science Festival, and is passionate about the communication of science to the next generations of engineers and geologists.

Jackie is also passionate about swimming, the colder the water the better, as far as I can see. Tony Bracegirdle (pers. comm. 2017) provided me with the following story which sums up beautifully Jackie's passions for swimming and geology:

‘It was earlier this year. Jackie and I and two lawyers were in Cornwall looking at coastal cliff exposures. Jackie was very enthusiastic, as usual, but the rain was lashing down and the tide was rising. We couldn't get around the headland to see the exposure we wanted to because of the waves crashing into the base of the cliff. The lawyers and I were looking at each other shaking our heads and thinking that we should go back to the beach café for a cappuccino. Suddenly Jackie became agitated and threw off her clothes – down to her swimming costume beneath. She jumped in the water and swum off around the headland without a word leaving the three of us wide-eyed and anxious. After about an hour- and totally soaked by this stage – Jackie reappeared out of the sea carrying her go-pro having photographed the exposure from top to bottom. To say that the lawyers were impressed was an understatement. Our bills were paid immediately and in full.’

Jackie, everybody here is very much looking forward to hear your 18th Glossop Medal Lecture on ‘Variability and ground hazards: how does the ground get to be unexpected?’

DH: conceptualization (lead)

This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analysed during the current study.