A British scientist has won a $1m (�500,000) international award for his work on using chemical fossils to understand past climatic change. Prof Geoffrey Eglinton of Bristol University will be awarded the Dan David prize on May 19 at Tel Aviv University in Israel, at a ceremony attended by the country's president Shimon Peres.

Others honoured with the science prize include the former US vice-president Al Gore and playwright Tom Stoppard. Eglinton and two other scientists, Dr Ellen Moseley-Thompson and Prof Lonnie Thompson at Ohio State University, are honoured for their work in the field of geosciences. He has published more than 500 scientific papers.

"He was the first to show how certain organic molecules in rocks could act as 'biomarkers', that is give clear evidence for the existence at times in the distant past of specific plants, fungi or microbes," said Prof Mike Benton, head of the Department of Earth Sciences at Bristol University.

"He has received many honours over the years, and the Dan David prize is one of the most striking, and the equivalent of a Nobel Prize." The Dan David prize for outstanding scientific, technological, or cultural work was founded by the businessman and philanthropist Dan David.


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