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Professor Peter Haggett


Peter Haggett (b. Somerset, England, January 24th 1933) has held geographical research and teaching posts at universities around the world for sixty years. 

Since 1966 he has been Professor of Urban and Regional Geography (now emeritus) at the University of Bristol, England.  A Cambridge graduate, he previously taught at University College London (1955-57) and at Cambridge University (1957-66).  He has been visiting professor in many other countries, especially in North America (including Berkeley, Minnesota [J.J.Hill Professor in Public Health], McMaster, Pennsylvania State, Toronto, and Wisconsin) and Australasia (ANU, Canterbury and Monash) and has acted as adviser to Asian and African universities.  A gold medallist of both the Royal Geographical Society and the American Geographical Society he has also been awarded the Anders Retzius medal (Sweden) and the Vautrid Lud prize (France) and the Lauréat d’Honneur (International Geographical Union).  A festschrift volume entitled Diffusing geography: essays for Peter Haggett was published on his retirement in 1995.  He holds seven honorary degrees in Law and in Science from universities on both sides of the Atlantic (Bristol, Copenhagen, Durham, Helsinki, UCL, UWE and York (Canada)).  In 1993 he was awarded the CBE for services to geography.


Peter Haggett has researched and written on three scientific areas.  First, on the nature of geography as a discipline and its contribution to human understanding of the earth.  These volumes include Models in geography (with Richard Chorley) (1967), Geography: a modern synthesis (1972, four editions, six translations), The geographer’s art (1990), and Geography: a global synthesis (2001).  With three Cambridge colleagues, he also established two journals reviewing developments in the field:  Progress in physical geography and Progress in human geography.


A second area is on quantitative methods in human geography and the central role of locational analysis in research.  Locational analysis in human geography (1965) was followed by five jointly-authored books:  Network analysis in geography (1969), Regional forecasting (ed.) (1971), Elements of spatial structure (1975), Locational models (1977) and Locational methods (1977).


The third areas has been on applying geographical ideas, especially diffusion waves, to understanding the changing geography of infectious diseases, the focus of his sustained research over the last quarter-century, largely supported by the Wellcome Trust.  Here he has served as a visiting scientist at both the Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, and the World Health Organization, Geneva.  His monographs on the geography of disease written with his former student and now co-worker (Prof Andrew Cliff, Cambridge) include Spatial Diffusion (1979),  Spatial aspects of influenza epidemics (1986),  Atlas of disease distributions (1988), Atlas of AIDS (1992),  Measles: an historical geography (1993),  Deciphering global epidemics (1998), Island epidemics (2000), World atlas of epidemic diseases (2004) and Emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases: a geographical analysis (2009).  Haggett’s Clarendon Lectures at Oxford reviewed this work on the interface of geography and epidemiology in Geographical structure of epidemics (2000).


In addition to his geographic interests, Professor Haggett has acted as Vice Chancellor of his university and founding Provost of its Institute for Advanced Studies, as a member of Britain’s University Grants Committee and chairman of its Social Sciences board.  He also served as Vice President of the British Academy (the National Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences) and as a member of the National Radiological Protection Board.  For seven years he chaired the Wellcome Trust’s History of Medicine panel.  With Torsten Hägerstrand he was one of the two geographers amongst the founding members of the European Academy, and he is currently the only European geographer to hold honorary foreign membership of both the American Academy of Arts and Science and the US National Academy of Sciences.


Now retired, but continuing his research actively, he lives in a small Somerset village with his wife, Brenda.  They have four children and six grand-children in Australia and England.  Between research and family, he supports Somerset cricket and Somerset churches and has recently published a book (a ‘labour of love’) on the western part of the county where he was born, bred, and has lived for most of his 82 years.




School of Geographical Sciences