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Alumni Events

Our alumni events offer the opportunity to learn more about what is currently happening in the Department of Earth Sciences, in addition to the opportunity to meet with old friends and network with other Earth Science professionals.

The University of Cambridge Development and Alumni Relations Office (CUDAR) run events for alumni across the University. To find out more about their events visit their Alumni Events page. 


Forthcoming Alumni Events


Alumni Day and Dinner, Saturday 13 May 2017

Last chance to book – bookings close at 6pm on Friday 28 April

Book now

All Earth Sciences alumni, their partners and families are warmly invited to join us on Saturday 13th May. We would like to particularly encourage those who graduated in 1957, 1967, 1977, 1987, 1997 and 2007 to join us.

Highlights include

  • Emeritus Professor Dan McKenzie will reflect on Plate Tectonics at 50
  • Professor Nick Butterfield on the origin of the modern biosphere
  • Dr Sally Gibson on linking deep mantle process with Earth surface systems
  • Tours of the Godwin Lab and Microanalysis Suite
  • Walk through geological and architectural history with Nigel Woodcock
  • Core to crust: in your hand and under the microscope
  • Undergraduates talk about their recent mapping projects
  • William Smith and George Greenough maps on display in the Library

Outline programme for the day

11am: Registration and coffee followed by activites throughout the day.

12:30pm: A buffet lunch will be served from a marquee on the Archaeology Lawn

5:00pm: Wine reception in the Sedgwick Museym

7:00pm for 7:30pm: Alumni Dinner at St John’s College

Price:  £55 per person including lunch and dinner.  Lunch can be booked separately.

For further information, please contact

We have planned a children’s activity in the Sedgwick Museum for those who are thinking of attending with young family.  Unfortunately we not are not able to accommodate children at the Alumni Dinner in St John’s College but if you need assistance booking an alternative evening meal in Cambridge, please contact  

Our speakers

Emeritus Professor Dan McKenzie CH FRS (King's, 1965) previously Royal Society Professor of Earth Sciences at Cambridge and Head of the Bullard Laboratories. His scientific contributions are many and include: the formulation of Plate Tectonics in the form that it is now used; integrated ideas of mantle convection with wider fluid dynamical understanding of convective systems; showing how sedimentary basins could be formed by distributed extension of the continental lithosphere; obtaining the two-phase flow equations that govern melt generation and transport.

Dan has been the recipient of many major honours and awards including the Wollaston Medal of the Geological Society, the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society and has been appointed a Member of the Order of Companions of Honour by The Queen.

Professor Nick Butterfield is a palaeobiologist with roots in western Canadian ranching, logging and heavy equipment repair. He is interested in the major evolutionary transitions in the history of life on Earth, and how the biosphere worked in deep time. Nothing thrills him quite so much as dissolving up old mudstones in acid and recovering the remains of once-living organisms - with a focus on the interval between 2500 and 500 million years ago.

Dr Sally Gibson is Reader in Petrology and Geochemistry. Her research interests include the causes of Earth's largest volcanic eruptions (flood basalts), the origin of volcanic islands and also the formation and evolution of our planet's lithosphere. Some of Sally's current work is focused on Galapagos volcanoes and how they impact on the weird and wonderful species that inhabit the islands. Her research continues two centuries of research in the archipelago by Cambridge University scientists, including Charles Darwin and Alfred Harker.


Save the date

Alumni Panel Discussion at the Geological Society, London, Monday 20 November 2017                

Earth Sciences alumni are warmly invited to join us for our third annual panel discussion at the Geological Society. Our expert panellists will give short talks and will then answer questions from the floor. Afterwards there will be drinks and canapés in the Lower Library, and a chance to meet fellow alumni and the panel informally.

Deep Geological Disposal

The safe disposal of high-level radioactive waste has been well researched and the international consensus is that deep geological repositories are the preferred method. Only a handful of countries however – Finland, Sweden, France and the US - have started building permanent storage facilities.

The panel will be chaired by Simon Redfern, Professor of Mineral Physics and Head of Department. Simon is a member of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management providing independent advice to the UK Government on long-term management of radioactive waste, including storage and disposal. 

Our panellists include Dr Ian Farnan, Reader in Earth and Nuclear Materials; Dr Nigel Woodcock, Emeritus Reader and Dr Liz Harvey (Jesus 2003), Senior Consultant at  Galson Sciences Ltd.

Notifications for this event are sent by email only. If you do not currently receive our e-invitations and would like to be added to the mailing list let Alison know, at


Research Talks and Seminars

Alumni are welcome to attend the Department of Earth Sciences talks and seminars. The programme of talks is available here. Do please contact Alison at if you plan to attend so that we know to expect you.

Recent Events

Cambridge Earth Sciences Alumni Panel Discussion – Tuesday 22 November 2016

Climate Change: A view from the past

Alumni and guests joined us at The Geological Society, London for our second Earth Sciences Alumni Panel Discussion. Short introductions from the panel members were followed by questions from the floor, expertly directed by Lord Oxburgh KBE, Crossbench (Independent) member of the House of Lords and former Head of Department 1980-88. Afterwards alumni had the opportunity to meet the panel and one another informally in the Lower Library where drinks and canapés were served. Photos of the evening are available on Flickr.

In addition to thanking alumni who attended and contributed to the debate, we would like to thank Lord Oxburgh, who did an excellent job as Chair, and our panellists Professor David Hodell, Professor Eric Wolff, Dr Alexandra Turchyn and Alex Maskell.

2016 Alumni Day and Dinner - Saturday 7 May 2016

We were delighted to welcome 120 alumni and their guests from across seven decades for the Earth Sciences Alumni Day and Dinner on 7 May. The afternoon of activities included talks, tours of the Microanalysis Suite, a selection of treasures from the archives, library, and on display in the museum, and our popular undergraduate mapping project talks.

A drinks reception was held in the Sedgwick Museum followed by dinner in Clare College.  It was lovely to welcome so many of you back to the Department. Some of the many photos taken during the day are available on Flickr. Thank you to Richard Stockey and Greg Palmer for recording the event.

Upcoming events

2017 Alumni Day and Dinner

May 13, 2017

Department of Earth Sciences

Upcoming events

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