some weird questions on chat today....
Minster School, Southwell, Notts
University of Plymouth
I’m a geologist / micropalaeontologist, this means I look at fossils which are tiny!
I spend most of my time looking at a group of microfossils called “foraminifera”, these are single celled organisms which build a shell using calcium carbonate in the sea water. I study their evolution, and the chemistry of their shells which tells us about what the oceans were like millions of years ago.
My Typical Day:
Coffee, answer emails, microscope work, coffee, teaching university students about geology and fossils, more coffee, and more microscope work!
I normally work a 8-10 hour day, 6 days a week. It’s hard work doing a PhD! But it’s worth the long hours when you start to get results.
My day usually starts at 8am with a strong cup of coffee, and a long list of emails to answer. Most of my time is spent behind a microscope, picking my tiny fossils out of sediment samples ready to be vaporised in the mass spectrometer, but I have some cool speakers in the lab so I can plug in my ipod and blast the tunes out whilst I’m slaving away. I also spend a lot of time helping run practical classes for students at the university. I teach palaeontology, and practical geology, and mineralogy.
Most days I finish around 6-7pm (unless I have a presentation to prepare or paper to write, in which case it can be 10-11pm before I make it home) and then hang out at the pub with the other PhD students for a couple of hours before going home and falling into bed. Ready to do it all again the next day!
What I'd do with the prize money:
Take microscopes into primary schools and teach kids about the amazing micro-organisms in the ocean.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Chilled, happy, geek.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Only for handing in homework late, and not having my tie done up properly.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I love indie and prog-rock (but I’m a closet Kate Bush fan)
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To excavate a dinosaur skeleton, visit Japan, own a land rover.