Working with me

I will update the posts below with masters, PhD, Postdoc project positions as they become available. But if you have a great idea for a project and would like to work with me please do send me an email, it is always fun to discuss new project ideas and we can investigate funding options.

Overseas applicants:

Be aware that UK research council PhD studentships (e.g. through the NERC DTP, or STFC) are only able to fully fund UK applicants. Therefore if you are an overseas student it is important that you apply for funding early, either through your domestic funding agencies, or from international scholarship programmes like the Gates. The deadlines for these scholarships may be long before the internal Cambridge PhD deadline, so check them regularly. There is further information on making a PhD application as an overseas student on the Department of Earth Sciences web page and on the Institute of Astronomy page.

Research council funded PDRA positions are open to all applicants.

Post-doc positions

I am always keen to develop ideas and work on fellowship applications with people. I can also help put you in contact with the resources in Cambridge to develop these applications. Please contact me to discuss further.

International Fellowships (to work anywhere)

General Sciences
Branco Weiss Fellowships (Branco Weiss)

National Fellowships (to work in UK)

General Sciences
1851 Fellowship (Royal Commission)
Early Career Fellowships (Leverhulme Trust)
University Research Fellowships (Royal society)
Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships (Royal Society)

Earth Sciences
NERC Independent Research Fellowships (NERC)

Ernest Rutherford Fellowship (STFC)
Winton Exoplanet Fellowship (Winton Foundation)

Cambridge fellowships

Kavli Fellowships (Astrophysics, Kavli Institute)
Gavin Boyle Fellowships (Cosmology and exoplanetary sciences, Kavli Institute)

Many of the colleges in Cambridge also have internal fellowship competitions for ‘Junior Research Fellowships’. These run each year, so be sure to check the college websites. I held a Trinity JRF.

Michaelmas: week 8 (the Christmas vacation edition)

Map Exercise: Complete map exercise 4 from the examples book.

Thin Section: Describe the rock and thin section Me3.

— Due for the first supervision of Lent Term, before lectures start —

Go over your notes and read around the subject a bit!
A structured way of doing this is by identifying the 1A tripos questions that relate to the Michaelmas term of the course (which you can access through Moodle), and use these essay titles to construct essay plans. Where you can’t think what you would say, head back to the notes and then onto relevant textbooks to find the information you need and to furnish your answers with more quantitative detail and real-world examples of the processes you are describing.

A great book for John’s part of the course is Fowler’s Solid Earth, which contains much more than you need to know, but has good clear explanations of key physical processes. The minerals part of the course is nicely expanded upon in Putnis’s Introduction to mineral sciences. For Marian’s part of the course there are a couple of books you might look at, Klein’s Earth Materials and Philpotts’s Principles of Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology are both good; each of which will also contain some examples of real-world occurrences of metamorphic terranes you can use in your essays and photomicrographs to help you relate geological processes to the textures you can see under the microscope. All of these should be in college libraries/UL so you shouldn’t need to buy them.

As a general read, Langmuir’s update of How to Build a Habitable Planet couldn’t be better, but this is a big book so expect reading it to take a while.

After all of this reading you should have plenty of questions for the first supervision next term, so come back with a list of things you want to discuss.

Michaelmas: Week 6

Essay: Describe, using appropriate examples, how basaltic and granitic magmas are generated, the different tectonic environments in which these processes occur, and the type of rocks formed as a result.

Thin sections: Describe the thin sections ‘super 3’ and ‘super 7’.  Refer to the short guide I have written to help you.  These sections are in an envelope in my department pigeon hole (outside reception, on the left) – please be very careful with them and put them back in the envelope and back in my pigeon hole after you have finished working with them.

Remember that after identifying phases you need to decide what type of rock you are looking at, and give a summary of its history.

Michaelmas: week 4

Long-format answer: Explain why the concept of structure, rather than chemical formula, is more useful in the study of silicate minerals. Use olivine, pyroxene, amphibole and mica as examples in your discussion.

Question sheet 1 [no need to hand in]: I thoroughly recommend working through the question sheets provided with this part of the course.  The first one has you downloading the crystal maker software and using it to examine the structural elements of crystals.  This is an extremely valuable learning tool so do get familiar with it now.


Michaelmas: week 2

Calculation question: Attempt the isostasy question in the 2011 Tripos Part 1A practical exam (it is section 2, parts a-c).

Complete the answer on clean sheets of A4 rather than trying to fit it into the text boxes that come with the exam paper.  You can download past tripos papers from the NST Part 1A Earth Sciences page on Moodle, just follow the ‘past exam papers’ link from the navigation pane on the left (or follow this link).  Note that the structure of the 1A Earth Sciences exams was different before 2012, read your course guide for more details (or look at the most recent exam papers), but some of the older questions set are often still relevant and useful for revision.

Map exercise: Complete map exercise 2 from the examples booklet.


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