PhD Candidate, Geomagnetism & Palaeomagnetism: A Day in the GeoLife Series @LauRob85

NAME:  Laura


AREA OF EXPERTISE:  Geomagnetism/palaeomagnetism

YEARS EXPERIENCE:  I’m about to submit my thesis, so I’ve been doing my PhD for nearly 4 years. Prior to that I was an environmental consultant for 3 years.

EDUCATION: MSci Geology from the University of Liverpool.


What’s your job like? 

My job is very varied. It’s allowed me to travel all over the world and work with and meet some awesome people.

Mostly, I am based at my lab in Liverpool (UK). If I’m there, I spend the majority of my time doing experiments using one of the numerous instruments we have there. I’ve also spent a chunk of my PhD visiting a lab in Holland, at Utrecht University and using a nifty piece of kit (it’s called the robot) there that does experiments a lot quicker than I could at Liverpool.

When I’m not doing lab work, I’ve had the great opportunity to be traveling. I’ve gone on sampling trips to collect the samples I needed for my research to South Africa. I’ve also gone on summer schools to the USA and conferences in Europe.

At the moment, because I am writing up my thesis, I spend the majority of my time at my desk at the office or at home.

What’s a typical day like? 

There is no typical day.

Mostly, if I’m in the lab, I’ll check my emails first thing in the morning, if anything needs dealing with urgently, then I will. If not, I’ll spend the day preparing my samples for experiments and then carrying them out. Some days I’ll attend a seminar or lecture, which is a nice distraction. Others I’ll partake in some school outreach or public engagement activity.

What’s fun?

The travel! Having great places to visit and the opportunity to meet people from a wide variety of backgrounds who can open your mind to new ways of thinking and new perspectives. The fact that often, the people you meet on your travels become good friends.

What’s challenging? 

Keeping focused and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, even when the data isn’t so good, or you’ve messed up an experiment that took you days to complete through some silly little mistake.

What’s your advice to students? Earth science is one of the most fascinating sciences (and so underrated). The job prospects are really good and very few professions will allow you to travel and experience the landscapes that earth sciences will. Tell me what other science allows you to combine the knowledge of physics, biology and chemistry the way you can in earth science?

Enjoy what you do, you don’t have to be super brainy to succeeded, just have passion!


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