Photo:

Lyndsey Fox

some weird questions on chat today....

Favourite Thing: Tea breaks, and travelling the world to see amazing rocks!

My CV

School:

Minster School, Southwell, Notts

University:

University of Plymouth

Work History:

Employer:

University of Leeds

Current Job:

PhD researcher

Me and my work

I’m a geologist! I research climate change during the Miocene (17 million years ago) using microfossils collected from the sea floor in the Pacific Ocean. Understanding past climate change helps us predict the future!

I’m a geologist / micropalaeontologist, this means I look at fossils which are tiny!

I spend most of my time looking at a group of microfossils called “foraminifera”, these are single celled organisms which build a shell using calcium carbonate in the sea water. I study their evolution, and the chemistry of their shells which tells us about what the oceans were like millions of years ago.

My Typical Day

Coffee, answer emails, microscope work, coffee, teaching university students about geology and fossils, more coffee, and more microscope work!

I normally work a 8-10 hour day, 6 days a week. It’s hard work doing a PhD! But it’s worth the long hours when you start to get results.

My day usually starts at 8am with a strong cup of coffee, and a long list of emails to answer. Most of my time is spent behind a microscope, picking my tiny fossils out of sediment samples ready to be vaporised in the mass spectrometer, but I have some cool speakers in the lab so I can plug in my ipod and blast the tunes out whilst I’m slaving away. I also spend a lot of time helping run practical classes for students at the university. I teach palaeontology, and practical geology, and mineralogy.

Most days I finish around 6-7pm (unless I have a presentation to prepare or paper to write, in which case it can be 10-11pm before I make it home) and then hang out at the pub with the other PhD students for a couple of hours before going home and falling into bed. Ready to do it all again the next day!

It’s not all late nights and labwork though because as a geologist I get to travel the world and see some amazing rocks!
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What I'd do with the money

Take microscopes into primary schools and teach kids about the amazing micro-organisms in the ocean.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Chilled, happy, geek.

Who is your favourite singer or band?

I love indie and prog-rock (but I’m a closet Kate Bush fan)

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Climbed a volcano whilst it was erupting.

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

To excavate a dinosaur skeleton, visit Japan, own a land rover.

What did you want to be after you left school?

A geologist.

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Only for handing in homework late, and not having my tie done up properly.

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

discovered a new species!

Tell us a joke.