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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.

Forthcoming Alumni Events

Alumni Day and Dinner, Saturday 11 May 2019

We will be holding our 14th Alumni Day and Dinner on Saturday 11 May.  All Earth Sciences alumni and their partners are warmly invited to join us. There will be a particular focus on those who graduated and/or started their graduate studies in a year ending with a 9, but once again, all of you are welcome.

We have a varied and interesting programme throughout the day, beginning at 11am. Highlights include:

  • Talks by Dr David Norman, Dr Liz Hide and Dr Oliver Shorttle
  • Three of our undergraduate students will give short talks about their recent mapping projects
  • Stories from the Sedgwick Museum Archive and treasures from the Map Room will be on display in the Library
  • Godwin Laboratory and Hidden Stories Museum tours
  • Walk through geological and architectural history with Dr Nigel Woodcock
  • In addition to the Museum's permanent displays include a new Ice Age display, showcasing the Museum's local collections of Pleistocene fossils, there are several temporary displays
  • Core to crust: in your hand and under the microscope
  • Emeritus Professor Simon Conway Morris will speak at the Alumni Dinner in St John’s College


11:00am   Registration and coffee followed by talks and activities throughout the day.

12:30pm   Lunch served from a marquee on the Archaeology Lawn

5:30pm   Wine reception at the Sedgwick Museum

7:00 for 7:30pm   Alumni Dinner in the Dining Hall at St John’s College

Ticket price: £59 per person (includes lunch and dinner).  Lunch can be booked separately.

Book on-line:

If you would like any help to contact fellow alumni and organise a group reunion, or have any questions please do get in touch with us at

Our speakers

Dr David Norman trained at King's College London - became a lecturer in Biology at Queen Mary London, then Zoology at Oxford University, and Head of Palaeontology at the Nature Conservancy Council. He was then appointed as the first vertebrate palaeontology lecturer in Cambridge Earth Sciences. Concurrently he became the first Director of the Sedgwick Museum, spending 20 years transforming its displays and organisation.  Some of his research students now hold key positions at UCL, the Natural History Museum, Oxford University, Bristol University and Birmingham University, as well as overseas. He researches dinosaurs - their biology, biomechanics, biogeography, systematics and evolution, and has originated several new research directions, recently overturning a 130-year-old evolutionary hypothesis. Dave is also a rugby referee ... so his legs and lungs still work!

Dr Liz Hide (St John’s 1988) has recently been appointed as Director of the Sedgwick Museum. With a background in palaeontology, she has spent more than 20 years working in museums as a curator, exhibition developer and consultant. She played a major role working with David Norman to modernise the Oak Wing displays of the Sedgwick Museum. As University of Cambridge Museums Officer she enabled the University's eight museums and Botanic Garden to collaboratively raise their profile and increase their impact. She is keen to enable wider audiences to engage with research and researchers, and for students to gain transferable skills and experience through the Museum. She has a particular interest in broadening access to the Museum, and developing a greater role for it within the wider community.

Dr Oliver Shorttle works between the Earth Science and Astronomy departments to understand planet formation and evolution.  His research is rooted in what we can learn from detailed study of the Earth and how this may be extensible to planets beyond the solar system.  He is particularly interested in understanding how planets gain their inventory of water, carbon and nitrogen, bioessential elements that Earth has carefully regulated over its history through subduction recycling and volcanism.  Exoplanetary science represents a new frontier for geology, and Oli is working to bring geological knowledge into that field to help us characterise terrestrial planets around other stars.

Emeritus Professor Simon Conway Morris (Churchill 1972, St John’s 1975), Chair of Evolutionary Palaeobiology, formally retired at the end of December. In the Department he gave the 1A palaeobiology lectures over a geological interval and shared the rain on various field-trips. Otherwise, Simon is principally known for three areas of enquiry: his contributions to our understanding of the Cambrian “explosion”; his enthusiasm for the role of convergence in evolutionary biology and his activities in the realm of public outreach, including the defence of evolution and the wider science/religion debates. 


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

2018 Alumni Day and Dinner - Saturday 12 May 2018

We were delighted to welcome alumni and their guests for our 13th Alumni Day & Dinner in May. The afternoon of activities included talks, tours, displays in the library and museum including treasures from the archive, our popular undergraduate mapping project talks and a sing-along to remind alumni of the geology of Arran. Some of the many photos taken on the day are now available on Flickr and YouTube.

Thank you to Greg Palmer for recording the event.