Earth Sciences alumni  
Nigel Woodcock Dear alumni

Welcome to our first alumni e-newsletter. I hope you will enjoy the articles below covering research, new appointments, news of department members, alumni events and ways for you to be involved. We have a newly formed Alumni Relations team of Alison Holroyd, the Alumni Co-ordinator, and myself. We are keen to answer any of your questions and to hear your own news. We particularly look forward to welcoming many of you back to the department over the coming years.

Nigel Woodcock, Teaching staff: 1973-present
Bardabunga erupting

Cambridge scientists and PhD students at the forefront
Monitoring Bárðarbunga
in Iceland

A team of researchers, led by Professor Bob White, have recently returned from Iceland where, thanks to good planning and even better luck, they have gathered the most extensive dataset ever from a volcanic eruption. This data will yield new insights into how molten rock moves underground, and whether or not it erupts.

In a short video, Luck and Lava, Bob and PhD student Tim Greenfield discuss their work and what it's like to be up close to such a spectacular eruption.

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Fossil showing muscle tissue structure with overlaid muscle structure diagram  

An unusual new fossil discovery of one of the earliest animals on earth may also provide the oldest evidence of muscle tissue – the bundles of cells that make movement in animals possible. The fossil, dating from 560 million years ago, was discovered in Newfoundland, Canada.

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Royal Research Ship James Cook  

Deep sea sediment cores are revealing 30,000 years of climate history. PhD student, Julia Gottschalk, reports from her voyage last summer aboard the James Cook, the British Royal Research Ship operated by the Natural Environment Research Council.

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Jean-Philippe Avouac, BP-McKenzie chair in Earth Sciences  

We welcome Professor Jean-Philippe Avouac as the first holder of the new BP-McKenzie chair in Earth Sciences. Jean-Philippe joins us from Caltech where he held the post of Earle C Anthony Professor of Geology and Director of the Tectonics Observatory.

Read more about the BP-McKenzie chair

QEMSCAN during its installation  

The Department has taken delivery of a new QEMSCAN – (Quantitative Evaluation of Minerals by Scanning electron microscopy). Due to its unique detector configuration the instrument is the first of its kind in a UK university and has generated a lot of interest, both from Cambridge researchers and students, and also from independent consultants nationally.

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Dan McKenzie

Dan McKenzie received his Honorary Degree, the highest honour that the University can bestow, from the Chancellor in a special ceremony that included six other distinguished individuals.

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John Maclennan

John Maclennan has been awarded both the 2014 Bigsby Medal of the Geological Society, in recognition of his research, and a Pilkington Teaching Prize for excellence in teaching.

Read more about the Pilkington Prize and recipients
Read more about the Bigsby Medal

Katherine Daniels during the European Touch Rugby Championships

Dr Katherine Daniels, Research Associate, represented England in the European Touch (rugby) Championships in Swansea in August. England went on to win the Women's Open category.

Sir David Attenborough features in the Earth Sciences film

Earth Sciences on YouTube
A video taking a brief look at the earth sciences course aims to encourage the next generation of earth scientists at Cambridge.

See the video

Fieldwork on Skye

Earth Sciences fieldwork
Fieldwork continues to play an important part of the student experience at Cambridge. Our fieldwork blog features posts from recent field trips. Do please send us your own memories, including any images. We would be delighted to hear from you.

Fieldwork blog
Department of Earth Sciences' building

Alumni day and dinner
We hope to welcome many of you back to the Department for the biennial Alumni Day and Dinner on Saturday 9 May 2015. Do save the date and spread the word amongst your year group and contemporaries.

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Building stones tour

Building Stones tour
We hosted our first Building Stones tour of central Cambridge in September and welcomed back alumni and their families. Tours were led by Dr Peter Friend and Dr Nigel Woodcock. Afterwards alumni enjoyed tea in the Watson Gallery.

We look forward to running more special 'field trips' in the future.

Sedgwick Museum

A night at our museum
Enjoy an after-dark visit to the Sedgwick Museum on Thursday 18 December, 5-7pm. All ages are welcome. We can’t guarantee that the giant deer or our iguanodon will come alive at night, but follow our new trail and see what you can discover in the shadows. Don’t forget your torch.

Sedgwick Museum events

Alison Holroyd, Alumni Co-ordinator

Alumni Co-ordinator
We are keen to build an alumni events and communications programme to suit you. Do contact Alison Holroyd at with any suggestions, or simply to update us with your news.

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