Before the unprecedented months of virtual everythings – hand sanitiser-soaked fingers and meetings in pyjama bottoms – I was happily enjoying my final year as an undergraduate. Whilst making the most of my time left in beautiful Cambridge and running the greatest student geological society there is (the unofficial title I awarded the Sedgwick Club), I found myself working on an interesting Master’s project with Alex Liu. The exciting results that came out of this project gave me something to focus on whilst stuck at home in the months after graduation. I’ll tell you more about my project, and my journey to getting my results published, in this blog post.Continue reading “Life after graduating, and life before the Cambrian Explosion”
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…”
If you had the chance to escape from the ongoing pandemic to a remote exploration geology camp in northern Canada, 150km from the closest town and only accessible by helicopter, would you take it?
I came to Cambridge to start my PhD in January 2020 and, although I was warmly welcomed, things were at first pretty uneventful. However, this changed dramatically with the sudden onset of COVID-19. I chose to return home to Canada where I continued to work on what I still hope to be a lab-based PhD. However, there are, of course, limitations to research from a bedroom 5000km from Cambridge!Continue reading “Escaping the pandemic – my experience as an exploration geologist in Yukon”
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)”
It’s been just shy of two months (I think) since I cleared my desk and left Cambridge as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This blog is a bit of a summary of my life in lockdown, my thoughts about my PhD progress, and my aims for the future.Continue reading “Research in Lockdown: Labs Closed”
My PhD concerns a longstanding question—how do valuable metals move through volcanic systems? Since starting my PhD in September 2018, I’ve been looking forward to testing my hypotheses on this topic in the field, on a six-week expedition called the Metals in Magmas field campaign. Like many Earth scientists, I spent months planning the project’s logistical and technical details. But, two weeks before the fieldwork was set to begin, the outbreak of the current global pandemic stopped the project in its tracks. My plans are now on hold and my PhD can’t continue as originally billed. In this blog post, I hope to share my perspective on the impact of COVID-19 on my PhD research.Continue reading “Research in Lockdown: Fieldwork Disrupted”