If you want to hear what I sound like, listen to my podcast from fieldwork in Turkey. Skip to 8mins in. http://planetearth.nerc.ac.uk/multimedia/story.aspx?id=1275
University of Leeds (2003-2007), Harrogate Grammar School (1996-2002)
Undergraduate masters degree in Geophysical Sciences (2003-2007), PhD (expected summer 2013)
Geophysicist at Petroleum Geo-Services, Researcher, Planning enquiries clerk, bar tender, waitress, fish and chips server person! litter picker
PhD research student
University of Leeds
Favourite thing to do in my job: Problem solving and fieldwork
I’m a passionate geo-nerd who likes looking at the energy from earthquakes to look for ancient ocean floors and volcanoes.
I get alerts as soon as there’s an earthquake. Part of me is thinking, “please don’t let anyone be injured”. The other part is, “wow, let’s have a look at why it happened and whether we can use it to learn more about the Earth and it’s hidden past”. The truth is that most earthquakes don’t result in loss of human life. Also, these earthquakes tend to be difficult for seismologists to analyse anyway.
The earthquakes I use are from SE Asia and I look at the energy that arrives at seismic stations in North America. The great thing is: I can comfortably download the earthquake data from the internet, even while chilling out on my sofa! I use the data so I can create images of what lies 1000s of km (1000000 meters) beneath our feet, in the depths of the Earth. Luckily the methods I use are similar to those that create the X-ray or CAT scans that you might get in a hospital, so are standard imaging techniques.
I generally look for old ocean floors (subducted slabs) and in my recent work I have found oceanic rock that could be from 80 million years ago. Now that’s pretty old! These old rocks are important because they help us understand plate tectonics, today and in the past, and also how convection in the Earth is connected to the changing world on the surface.
My Typical Day
I’m a PhD student – so my day involves tea drinking and sitting at a computer looking at earthquakes and writing computer programs!
Things I do in a day:
* check for earthquakes
* download earthquake data
* check data for signs of seismic echos and locate where the echos come from.
* make some models of the Earth
* drink tea
* write my thesis
* avoid writing my thesis
* write computer programs (I prefer this kind of writing!)
* plot my results on charts/maps ready for interpetation
* create movies showing my results in 3D
* read some published articles by some amazing scientists (geolebreties)
* drink tea
* check twitter
* meet with other nerdy scientists to chat about what is going on deep in the Earth (in the mantle) and even deeper in the Earth (in the core)
* teach BSc/MSc students
* drink tea
What I'd do with the prize money
Create “I’m a future scientist” mobile app
The app would be aimed for secondary school children to find out what scientist they could be. The user would input their interests, skills and idols, and the app would find the science careers that best match. The user can upload a photo of themselves, and this can be placed on the body of the scientist and shared to friends and family. The app can be used just-for-fun or as a tool to help youngsters find a great science career.
£500 wouldn’t be enough to create the app in full but will help in developing the concept.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Attitude is everything
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Recording a podcast for Planet Earth while Installing seismometers in Turkey and interviewing locals about the 1999 turkey earthquake
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
Doc Brown (Back to the Future)
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Um … only for singing in french class, chatting and throwing around pencil cases.
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
A specialist doctor in tropical diseases!
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Flight of the concords
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
White water rafting in Bosnia
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1)To travel round South America on a motorbike 2) To go to the moon 3) To live in a castle
Tell us a joke.
Patient: Doctor, Doctor Every time I drink a cup of coffee I get this stabbing pain in my eye! Dr: I suggest you take the spoon out!