For the first time in 47 years, I’m not doing any teaching in this academic year. But, having been Director of Teaching for over half that time, I’m still programmed to worry about how teaching is going in the Department, especially in this strange year of all years. So I asked a selection of students and teaching staff for their perspective. The replies I had were almost entirely positive…Continue reading “Socially-distanced Earth Sciences teaching. Dr Nigel Woodcock finds out how the term went…”
Throughout July, Gemma Shaw, Hero Bain, and myself (all Earth Sciences students at varying levels) set out on an internship spearheaded by Dr Jenny Jenkins of the Deep Earth Seismology Group. Our aim was to bring the latest research from Cambridge Earth Sciences to secondary schools across the country.Continue reading “Seismology in schools”
Of all the cities to be locked down in away from Cambridge, my hometown of Durham wouldn’t normally make for too much of a contrast. Winding cobbled streets, hordes of students with a penchant for college stash and absolutely no sign of the 21st century are ordinarily staples of both cities. Yet when I headed home in March, the change felt far greater than usual.Continue reading “Studying in lockdown (or a lack thereof)”
The last field trip that our undergraduates take is the fourth year, Part III trip to Spain. Run in the break between Lent & Easter term the trip aims to gather all the aspects of the course and put them together as a cohesive whole. Other trips focus on specific research areas: e.g. Sedimentology and Petrology – the 1B Southwest trip to Dorset & Cornwall, or Geophysics in Greece, or developing mapping skills in Sedburgh & on Skye. The Spain trip can be seen as the closing bookend to our students’ discovery (and love) of geology that begins on the first year trip to the Isle of Arran.
Early Sunday morning the department was full of life as bleary eyed finalists arrived eager for their final field trip. The Spanish coastline would not disappoint, a week of beautiful sunshine and exciting, challenging geology lay ahead.
The end of Lent term brings with it the start of the undergrad fieldtrip season. The first group of 1A’s left bright and early on Thursday morning for the Ayrshire coast in Scotland, ready for their first proper fieldtrip away from Cambridgeshire.
Day 1 – Off we go!
I’d never been to any part of the southwest so I was very much looking forward to my second Earth Sciences Department field trip – third if we count an afternoon at Ketton Quarry. My first big trip had been to Arran the previous year, to my mind it would take a lot to surpass that experience. This account will contain little to no geological verbiage in order not to bring shame to myself or the department.
Spain 2016 outshone Spain 2015 the moment the plane took off from Gatwick Airport. David Hodell, our mighty leader, breathed a sigh of relief when French Air Traffic Control decided not to strike at the same time as the Cambridge fourth-year Earth Sciences fieldtrip. 29 students and 8 demonstrators left the drizzle behind us and landed in sunny south-east Spain. A quick change into shorts in the airport loos and we were ready for terrible sunburn.