PostDoc, Petrology and Geochemistry, Diego González García @dgonzalez_83: A Day in the GeoLife Series

Diego González García at the summit of Mt. Etna volcano. ©2019 Diego González García

NAME: Diego González García

CURRENT TITLE: Postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Turin, Italy

AREA OF EXPERTISE: Experimental petrology, geochemistry, volcanology


EDUCATION: BSc and MSc – University of Oviedo, Spain
PhD – University of Perugia, Italy

TWITTER NAME: @dgonzalez_83

What’s your job like?

My background is in petrology and geochemistry from a mainly experimental point of view. That is, I use laboratory experiments at high temperatures (and sometimes high pressures) to understand magmatic and volcanic processes. Currently, I am working on various topics and doing many different tasks. On one hand, I study the diffusion of chemical components between magmas of different composition, which is important to understand some magmatic process such as magma mixing. I also combine the experimental approach with the study of natural volcanic rocks, aiming to understand pre-eruptive processes of particular volcanoes. But now, my main research aims to determine how we can use Raman spectroscopy to learn about physical properties of experimental silicate melts and glasses with volcanic origin.

An experiment just taken out of the furnace. ©2019 Diego González García

What’s a typical day like?

I am focused on research, which means that my day at work can vary widely depending on what is needed to do in those particular moments. I usually work in my office, processing experimental and analytical data or preparing papers, and of course, I also spend a significant amount of time using laboratories and analytical equipment such as a micro-Raman spectroscopy, scanning electron microscope or electron microprobe; or performing experiments in high-temperature furnaces. It is certainly dynamic and variable, which makes it more interesting. 

What’s fun?

For me, one of the best things about my work is that I get to travel a lot, visiting other research departments in Italy or abroad to perform analyses or experiments that I cannot do in my institute, or collaborating with other researchers and exchange experience, discussing research issues. I also enjoy going to conferences a lot, because they allow me to stay updated on the work that colleagues around the work are doing, and in the big and more multidisciplinary conferences, to see research in other fields that I could not have imagined. Of course, presenting my own research and getting feedback and tips from colleagues is a lot of fun. Another highlight is encountering friends that I usually meet only in such events.

I also like to do fieldwork, but unfortunately in the past, I have not done much of it even if during my undergrad studies this was a strong focus. I hope this will change soon!

But more generally, what’s fun is the research work itself, trying to understand why things happen and what we can learn from them, and more importantly, communicating your findings to society.

Diego González García presenting at a conference. ©2019 Diego González García

What’s challenging?

One of the challenges that I am discovering now as a postdoc is the difficulty in finding resources and funding for your projects. You must spend a significant amount of time not doing research but looking for opportunities to do research, writing projects on and doing bureaucracy. 

Another challenge for me is to organize my time, not only at work (there is always a lot of things to do but time is limited) but trying to keep a reasonable daily timetable also. Especially now that I am working in many different projects at one time, managing my time can be very challenging.

What’s your advice to students?

My main advice to students can be summarized in one thing: do what you love to do. There are plenty of opportunities to find your interests during your undergrad studies. Whether you want to pursue an academic career or work in the industry, for me one of the most important things is to enjoy what you are doing. And don’t hesitate to travel and change your environment because it will strengthen your background and open more opportunities. 

Privacy Preference Center





%d bloggers like this: