Here we attempt to give some information on influential key geoscientists taught us much about the geology, mineralogy and tectonics of the Arab World-Middle East region


ArabGU would also refer with honor to distinct geoscientists, who enriched the Earth Sciences library with research studies and textbooks written in Arabic (Download the list)

Written by Amany Takla


Prof. Maher A. Takla is one of the most eminent Geologists who has outstanding contribution in the field of Geology (Petrology & Economic Geology) in Egypt & abroad. He was really totally devoted & dedicated for research & studies.

 He was born on 14th of January 1942 in Dakahlia Governorate, received his Bachelor degree of Science in special Geology with the honor grade in 1962 from Assiut University.

After graduation, he joined the most famous University in Egypt the Cairo University as Demonstrator in Geology Department through the period 1962 – Jan. 1967, then he received M.Sc. in Mineralogy & Petrology, Cairo Univ., Jan 1967.

In 1968, Prof. Maher A. Takla travelled in UNESCO fellowship to Austria (Leoben & Vienna Univs.), 1968 – 1970, during this period he received 2 diplomas titled “Exploration & Mining of Ore Deposits” & “Mineralogy & Petrology”. During the period (1967-1971) he was an assistant lecturer in Cairo University.

In 1971 he received his Ph.D in Mineralogy & Petrology from Cairo University & then he was promoted to lecturer.


In 1974 he travelledto Norway in NORAD fellowship, Bergen Univ., (1974 – 1976).

After returning from Norway, he was promoted to the position of assistant Professor from 1976 to 1982, then as Professor of Mineralogy, Petrology & Economic Geology in 1982.

His efforts & dedication was Culminated in 1999 to be the Head of the Geology department, Cairo University (1999- 2002) in which he started his journey as demonstrator in 1962.


During Prof. Maher A. Takla great fruitful voyage, he was honored many prizes, for example:

·          State Prize for Encouraging Sciences (Geology), 1992, Academy of Scientific Research & Technology, Egypt.

·         Medal of Distinguish, First Class, 1995, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

·         Prize of the best paper published in the Annals of the Geological Survey of Egypt, 1997.

·         15 prizes for papers presented in scientific conferences.


Not only that Prof. Maher A. Takla also was engaged in many Memberships of Professional & Scientific Societies in Egypt & abroad. He was serving as:

¨       Vice President, Research Council of Mineral Resources, Academy of scientific Research & Technology, Egypt.

¨       General Secretary, Permanent Scientific Committee for Promotion of Professors & Assistant Professors (Geology), Supreme Council of Universities, Ministry of High Education, Egypt.

¨       Board of Directors, Mineralogical Society of Egypt.

¨       National Committee of Mineralogy, Academy of Scientific Research & Technology, Egypt.

¨       National Committee of Geology, Academy of Scientific Research & Technology, Egypt.

¨       Professors & Assistant Professors Promotion Committee, National Research Center, Egypt.

¨       Professors & Assistant Professors Promotion Committee, Nuclear Material Authority, Egypt.

¨       Specialized Maps Division, Academy of Scientific Research & Technology, Egypt.

¨       Ore Deposits Division, Academy of Scientific Research & Technology, Egypt.

¨       Geology Division, Academy of Scientific Research & Technology, Egypt.

¨       Editorial Board, Egyptian Mineralogist.

¨       Geological & Mineralogical Societies of Egypt.

¨       Listed in “The International Book of Honor”, American Biographical Institute, USA.

¨       Listed in “Encyclopedia of Eminent Personnel”, Egypt.

¨       Listed in “2000 Outstanding Scientists of the 20th Century, 2nd Edition”, International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England.

¨       Listed in “2000 Outstanding Scientists of the 21st Century Publication Late 2004”, International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England.


Professor Maher A. Takla scientific research school known as Takla school was very dynamic & served much to the geological science community, he had many publications documented in  116 Papers in the fields of Ore Deposits, Geochemistry, Mineralogy, Igneous Petrology & Metamorphic Petrology, not only papers but also Student books (B.Sc. level, Published by Cairo Univ. on Economic Geology, Ore Mineralogy, Igneous Petrology, Crystallography & Mineralogy, Optical Mineralogy and Mineralogy & Petrology for 4th year, Faculty of Education (in Arabic).

Also, he supervised about 35 Ph.D. Theses & 40 M.Sc. Theses.

Prof. Maher A. Takla was engaged in many scientific activities including being Referee for M.Sc. & Ph.D. Theses for all Egyptian Universities and some Arab & African Universities, Referee for All Egyptian periodicals and some Arab & International journals & Referee for the scientific projects in Egypt & some Arab countries.

Prof. Maher A. Takla was the Chairman of the organizing committee, 3rd international conference on The Geology of the Arab World in the period 1994 till 1996. From 1998 till 2004, he was the Head of the 5th, 6th & 7th of the international conference on The Geology of the Arab World. Moreover, he was the Director of Electron Microprobe & X-ray Fluorescence labs in Cairo University.

He was Consultant for Egyptian & some Arab Scientific and Educational Organizations, Consultant for numerous Mining companies of Egypt & some Arab and European countries & Consultant for the Petroleum companies working in Egypt.

Prof. Maher A. Takla was opened to all channels worldwide so he was having joint supervision with European Professors for 6 Ph.D. (3 in Switzerland, 2 in Germany & 1 in Netherlands) & have outstanding Contribution to the Geological Encyclopedia, Kuwait Foundation for advancement of Sciences.

Even after Prof. Maher A. Takla passed away in  Jan., 2005, he was Listed in “2000 Outstanding Scientists of the 21st Century Publication”, International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England in the year 2005,2006 & 2007.

At the end of his marvelous voyage which was 63 years he passed away peacefully leaving behind an outstanding scientific school (Takla school) well known everywhere, furthermore he left not only science but also ethics, teamwork, respect & gratitude.


N.B. Information given below is derived mostly from the website of the Islamic World Academy of Sciences


Prof. Farouk El-Baz is Research Professor and Director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University. He received a B. Sc. degree (1958) in geology from Ain Shams University (previously Ibrahim Basha El-Kabir University), Cairo, Egypt; and M.S. degree (1961) and Ph.D. degree (1964) both in geology and both from the University of Missouri-Rolla. He taught geology at Assiut University, Egypt (1958-1960), and at the University of Heidelberg, Germany (1964-1966). In 1989, he received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the New England College, Henniker, New Hampshire, USA.

He participated in the Apollo program from 1967 to 1972 as Supervisor of Lunar Science and of Lunar Exploration at Bellcomm Inc., Bell Laboratories, Washington DC. During these six years, he was secretary of the site selection committee for NASA's Apollo lunar landings, chairman of the astronaut training group, and principal investigator for visual observations and photography. 1973-1983, he established and directed the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. 1982-1986, he was Vice-President for International Development and for Science and Technology at Itek Optical Systems of Lexington, Massachusetts.

Prof. El-Baz served on the Steering Committee of Earth Sciences of the Smithsonian Institution and the Arid and Semi-Arid Research Needs Panel of the National Science Foundation. He also served as Science Advisor to the late Mohamed Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt (1978-1981).

He is known for his pioneering work in the applications of space photography to the understanding of arid terrain, particularly the location of groundwater resources and has contributed to interdisciplinary field investigations in all major deserts of the world.

Prof. El-Baz is President of the Arab Society of Desert Research. He has received many honors and awards including: NASA's Apollo Achievement Award, Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal and Special Recognition Award; the Certificate of Merit of the World Aerospace Education Organization; and the Arab Republic of Egypt Order of Merit - First Class. He also received the 1989 Outstanding Achievement Award of the Egyptian American Organization, and the 1992 Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He also received the 1996 Michael T Halbouty Human Needs Award of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. Prof. Farouk El-Baz was elected a Fellow of the IAS in 1998.


Written by Prof. Baher El- Kaliouby (Ain Shams Univ., Egypt)


By the death of Prof. Mohamed Ezz El Din Hilmy on October 11, 2008, the scientific community lost a valuable member of its staff, an energetic investigator with unusual splendid achievement. Prof. Mohamed Ezz El Din Hilmy (85) passed away peacefully at his home in Heliopolis, Cairo. He will be greatly missed by his friends, colleagues and everyone interested in the Earth science throughout the civilized world.

Professor Dr. Mohamed Ezz El-Din Mahmoud Hilmy had a career that spanned 65 years with the Geological Sciences. He is one of the most striking pioneers in mineralogy. He is widely recognized for his contributions in the field of mineralogy and economic geology in Egypt and abroad.

Prof. Mohamed Ezz El Din Hilmy (Ezz as he preferred to be known to his many friends and colleagues) was born on March 5, 1924 in Quissena, Monoufia Governorate; He grew up and lived there until his high- school graduation in 1940 at the age of 16.

He began college at Ibrahim Bascha (Cairo) University in 1940, where he enrolled as a student of Geology. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree (B.Sc.) in special Geology with highest honors in 1944.

After graduation, perhaps his best good fortune came on August 1944 when he started the first phase of his scientific career as instructor in mineralogy in Farouk Al- Awal (Alexandria) University. He moved to U.S.A in 1946 to begin his graduate studies at the University of Chicago, U.S.A. He received his Master's degree (M. Sc.) in 1949. Thereafter, he started his Ph. D. at the University of Michigan where he received his Ph.D. degree in 1952.

After finishing his studies in the U.S.A. Prof. Hilmy was employed as a member of the teaching staff at Alexandria University from 1952 to 1960. During this period, he played a major role in the establishment of earth sciences laboratory at the National Research Center in Cairo. In the early 1960s he was transferred to the Faculty of Sciences, Ain Shams University as assistant professor until he promoted to professor of Mineralogy and economic geology in January 1966.

From September 1966 to August 1970, he founded the Geology Department at Kuwait University and witnessed its first graduation ceremony.

Professor Hilmy held many executive positions. He was elected chairman of the Geology Department at the Faculty of Science of Ain-Shams University in 1970, and remained at this position until 1972. He was also appointed as a Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Science for Graduate Studies and Research (1972-1975) and later in 1978-1980 as Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Science for Education and Students Affairs.

In 1982 he was elected again as Chairman of the Geology Department.  In 1984 he retired from active Administration but remained involved in national and international professional affairs. Prof. Hilmy was invited as a visiting Professor at the Institute of Applied Geology (currently, the Faculty of Earth Sciences) of the University of King Abdul Aziz, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; at Qatar University; at the University of the United Arab Emirates; at the University of Mustansseria, Iraq; at Southampton University, England; Tubingen and Heidelberg universities in Germany and at Boston University, U. S. A., where he taught graduate courses in Mineralogy and economic geology.

The school of scientific research of Prof. Hilmy dates back to 1951 when he published a paper in the American Journal of Sedimentary Rocks about the properties and types of the Mediterranean beach sands in Egypt and the economic minerals in what is known as the black sands. He also discussed the origin of calcareous sands and dunes extending along the western coastal plain.

Economic mineral deposits were his lifelong major subject of investigation. His scientific career is documented in almost 70 original papers in periodicals. Prof. Hilmy has supervised more than 60 M. Sc. and 40 Ph. D. theses. The results of these studies and investigations were numerous and important.

Prof. Mohamed Ezz El Din Hilmy was highly engaged in many Egyptian and international scientific societies and professional organizations of numerous national earth science projects. He was serving as: Councilor of the Mineralogical Society of Egypt (1964–1966); and of the Geological Society of Egypt (1967–1984) and Chairman (1976–1984) of the Subcommission on Precambrian Stratigraphy of the International Union of Geological Sciences; National Program Chairman (1961–1962), Councilor (1962–1965), and President (1970–1971) of the Society of Economic Geologists.

Because of his scientific authority in mineralogy, Professor Hilmy was elected from 1984 until his death as the president of the Mineralogical Society of Egypt. Prof. Hilmy has been decorated with many high awards. He was awarded the State Prize in Geology, the Order of Science and Arts of the First Class in 1961and Ain Shams Discretion Prize in basic Sciences in 1994. He also received El Kholy Gold Medal for a pioneer in Science in 1988.

Prof. Hilmy was a life fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America (MSA), which he joined in 1948. He is also member in the International Mineralogy Association (IMA), the International Association for the Genesis of Ore Deposits (IAGOD) (representative of Africa in the Council) and the Egyptian National Committee for Geologic Sciences (for more than 15 years). Prof. Hilmy has been the General Secretary of the Egyptian Academy of Science for more than 5 years. He is also the Chairman of both the Egyptian Geologic Society and the Mineralogical Society of Egypt.

Prof. Hilmy has been sacrifying much of his effort to arabicize geologic nomenclature and to provide the Arabic library with many valuable in-Arabic textbooks. He authored several textbooks in Arabic including the first Arabic reference in the principles of mineralogy, issued at 1956 (1st ed) to 5th Edition at 1984; Principles of Optical Mineralogy, 1977; (in collaboration with Prof. Zaghloul, Z. M.); and Geology of Economic Minerals (in 2004). He also collaborated with other authors in writing textbooks of modern geology for secondary schools.



Born in Mecca Al-Mukarramah, Saudi Arabia, in 1940.

Primary education at the Haram al-Sharif.

Primary, preparatory and secondary stages at Al-Falah Schools, graduated in 1964.

Bachelor degree of Science in Geology from the University of Riyadh (currently King Saud University) in 1968.

Ph.D. from Cornell University, United States, in 1971.

Vice Minister for the Ministry of Education for Technical Affairs in 1973.

Vice President of King Abdulaziz University from 1973 to 1974.

President of King Abdulaziz University from 1974 to 1975.

Minister of information in the period from 1975 to 1983.

Vice-Chairman of Dallah Al Baraka Group from 1983 to 2010.

Chairman of the Board of Directors of twelve Foundation and companies dealing with the areas of culture, publishing, health, science and education, development and investment.

Member of the board of directors of ten Arab institutions, bank and literary and charity.

Published thirty-five publications on the scientific, religious and cultural systems.

Received many awards, such as: scarf King Abdulaziz,  medal discretion of the government of Abu Dhabi, medal discretion of the Government of Qatar,  medal from the Republic of Mauritania, medal from the Republic of Indonesia, medal from the Jordanian King Hussein, medal from the President of the Republic of France, medal from His Majesty the King of Spain.


N.B. Information given below is derived mostly from


The late Prof. Robert Millner Shackleton (1909-2001) was a famous British field geologist who made significant contributions to our understanding of the geology and tectonic setting of the East African Orogen.  Born December 30, 1909 in Purley, Surrey, he attended the Quakers' Sidcot School in Somerset and the University of Liverpool where, in 1930, he obtained a B.Sc. degree in Geology with First Class Honours. He went on to earn his Ph.D from the University of Liverpool in 1934 under the supervision of P.G.H. Boswell on the geology of the Moel Hebog area of Snowdonia in North Wales, helped by an award (1932-1934) from the Beit Fellowship at Imperial College, London.                      

      In 1935, Robert Shackleton was appointed Chief Geologist to Whitehall Exploration Ltd in Fiji, and in 1936 he became a Lecturer in Geology at Imperial College. As part of the wartime strategic planning program, he was appointed in 1940 a geologist in the Mining and Geological Department of Kenya. He carried out detailed studies in the areas of Malikisi, North Kavirondo, Nyeri, the Migori Gold Belt, Nanyuki, and Maralal, presenting his results as  reports to the Geological Survey of Kenya. His work in Kenya introduced him to the East African orogenic belts attracted his attention to volcanism associated with the East African Rift.  In the mid-1940s, he constructed geological maps of the area around the Olorgesailie SW of Nairobi where Mary Leakey, in 1942, discovered prehistoric human artefacts, and the area between Olorgesailie and Ngong.

      In 1948, Robert Shackleton returned to Liverpool as the Herdman Professor of Geology. He played a significant role in re-organizing the geology department to be in the forefront of geological research in Britain. In 1962, in order to continue his research in East Africa, he was given a chair at the University of Leeds and joined the staff of the Research Institute of African Geology. From 1965 until his retirement, Shackleton serve as Director of the Institute.  In 1970-1971, he joined Haile Selassie University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as a Visiting Professor of Geology.  Dr. Shackleton retired from his Leeds University appointment in 1975, but continued his love of geology as Research Fellow at the Open University from 1977 until his death.

The contributions of Robert Millner Shackleton to the geology and tectonics of Africa include:

- Initiation of structural studies across orogenic belts in Tanzania-Zambia-Malawi.

- Major studies across the Limpopo Belt and adjacent Archaean greenstone belts of Zimbabwe-Botswana-South Africa.

- Detailed studies across Egypt, Sudan and Kenya with particular attention paid to Tertiary volcanics in Kenya.

Even at the advance age of 75, Dr. Shackleton continued active field work and collaborated with the Academica Sinica, Beijing on the geology of Tibet.

Prof. Robert Millner Shackleton was awarded the Silver Medal of the Liverpool Geological Society (1957) and the Murchison Medal of the Geological Society of London (1970). He was elected Fellow to the Royal Society in 1971.  The "Robert Shackleton Award for Outstanding Precambrian Research in Africa" given by the Geological Society of Africa is a fitting reminder of his brilliance as a geologist and teacher, and a tribute to his lasting contribution to the geology of the continent.

Prof. Robert Shackleton passed away May 3, 2001.  He was married and had five children one of whom, Prof. Sir Nicholas Shackleton (1937-2006), followed him into the field of geology.