Category Archives: Earth sciences

The importance of being an unglamorous collection | Curator of Micropalaeontology

Most geological collections we hear about in the news are the prettiest, oldest, youngest, largest, smallest, rarest, most expensive or have some exciting story related to them that ties them to the evolution of our planet. Dinosaurs, human remains and meteorites are particularly popular. Over the last year we’ve embarked on a major curatorial project rehousing something that is the opposite – an unglamorous collection of bags of crushed rock.

Protective equipment

Curators Becky Smith, Helena Toman and Robin Hansen in protective equipment.

I’ll be explaining why the samples needed to be re-housed and most importantly why they are strategically important to the work of the Museum and needed to be kept for future reference. And also why we are all dressed up in protective equipment and why I had to learn to drive a fork lift truck! Continue reading

Roy Starkey wins first Marsh Award for Mineralogy

The first Marsh Award for Mineralogy was awarded to Roy Starkey in recognition of his huge contribution to the field of mineralogy.

Roy Starkey

Roy Starkey receiving the first Marsh Award for Mineralogy

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Palaeontology prize goes to Museum volunteer

The Marsh Award for Palaeontology was awarded to Dr William Blows in recognition of his huge contribution to the field of palaeontology.

Dr William Blows

Dr William Blows receiving the Marsh Award for Palaeontology

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Beamtime at the Advanced Light Source | COG3 Consortium

In November, Laura Newsome, a Research Associate, and Sul Mulroy, a PhD student at the University of Manchester Geomicrobiology group, travelled to California for beamtime at the Advanced Light Source synchrotron at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

outside-advanced-light-source-berkeley

At the Advanced Light Source in Berkeley, California

Laura and Sul travelled to analyse samples generated from their work on the COG3 project. Sul reports from the visit.

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What do scientists do at conferences? | Curator of Micropalaeontology

The micropalaeontology team attended the annual conference of The Micropalaeontological Society in Lille last week. My wife thinks that conferences are just an excuse for drinking, but I keep telling her that this is only partly true.

Micropalaeo team

The Micropaleontology team at the TMS conference dinner at Dubuisson Brewery

Read on to find out what we were doing in Lille, besides drinking Belgian beer of course! Continue reading

COG3 team presenting at Science Uncovered | COG3 Consortium

On Friday 30 September, scientists from across the Museum gathered to take part in Science Uncovered 2016, part of European Researchers’ Night.

People gathered around the COG3 stand at the Museum

The COG3 stand at Science Uncovered 2016

The theme for this year’s event was ‘Hidden Worlds’, which gave us the perfect opportunity to share the work we have been doing as part of the CoG3 project with members of the public. COG3 project member Rachel Norman reports from the event.

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Studying cobalt mineralisation of the Nkamouna deposit at Diamond Light Source | CoG3 Consortium

Dr Paul F. Schofield is leading the part of the CoG3 project that focuses on describing and characterising new ore types, with an aim of developing new ways of extracting cobalt (Co). He reports back on a visit to Diamond Light Source.

In early September the Museum CoG3 team met with Prof Fred Mosselmans, a fellow member of the CoG3 consortium from Diamond Light Source. The team hoped to use Diamond’s facilities to study how cobalt is incorporated into the minerals of the Nkamouna cobalt-nickel laterite deposit in Cameroon.

Aerial view Diamond Light Source

Aerial view of Diamond Light Source at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, Oxfordshire

The Diamond Light Source facility provides very intense, high-brightness beams of X-rays that are focused to produce powerful microscopes. Not only do these microscopes allow us to image the distribution of cobalt in natural materials with nanometre scale resolution, but they also enable us to measure how the cobalt atoms are actually bound into the atomic structure of their hosting minerals.

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