Previously Mary Fowler was Master of Darwin College, University of Cambridge; Professor of Geophysics and Dean of the Science Faculty at Royal Holloway, University of London. She studied Mathematics and Geophysics at Cambridge (undergraduate at Girton College and postgraduate at Darwin College) after which she held a Royal Society European Fellowship at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and spent a decade at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. She moved to Royal Holloway from Canada in 1992.
Her academic responsibilities have included former Chair of CHUGD (Committee of Heads of University Geoscience Departments), Vice President of the Royal Astronomical Society and Council of The Geological Society. In addition to work for many funding bodies she served on the Higher Education Funding Council for England research assessment panels in 2001 and 2008 and is currently Deputy Chair of the ‘Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences’ sub-panel for REF2014. She has been a member of the Board of the School of Cosmic Physics of the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies since 2006 and from 2012 the British Geological Survey Advisory Committee.
She was awarded the Prestwich Medal of the Geological Society for her book The Solid Earth: an Introduction to Global Geophysics (published by Cambridge University Press and now in its 2nd edition). The Solid Earth is the dominant text worldwide for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses and is widely used as a standard reference for researchers.