Not-so-serious Sunday 49: Diatom Art

By Kelly

It’s been such a long time since I posted a ‘tangentially related to geoscience’ post, but after seeing this clip I just couldn’t resist. Enjoy!

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The how to, and how not to, guide to interviewing for the Australian Public Service (2)

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Kelly completing her written assessments, or the equivalent there of.

By Kelly

Last week I started talking through the process of applying for positions in the Australian Public Service Graduate Programs. To recap, I covered some considerations for addressing the selection criteria. I applied to three departments; Department of A, Department of B and Geosciences Australia. All three had selection criteria, with the first two also requiring a written test, then all three a panel interview. In my opinion I did really poorly on the two written tests, partly because I was very used to writing in a different style and partly because I was losing the plot. As far as the interviews go I interviewed really well for two departments and the other SO badly that I actually started laughing part way through…In my defence I had finished writing my thesis at 2am and that particularly interview was at 10am, however even so I was such a loose cannon I’m surprised they didn’t have security escort me out. And herein lies the ‘how not to’ part of the post :)

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The how to, and how not to, guide to interviewing for the Australian Public Service (1)

By Kelly

hoops

First, I must apologise for the delay in getting this post up. My brain appears to have softened post submission…. However I do appreciate those who ‘liked’ the fact the advice page was empty!

There are two questions on every PhD’s mind toward the end, first, will this ever end, and second, what on earth will I do next? Unfortunately the latter needs to be thought about during the former, so when all your energy should be focussed on getting over the finish line, more often you are writing endless job applications. Here in Australia one job option includes applying for the Public Service Graduate Programs. Due to our current government’s lack of faith in the merit of scientific research the Public Service is one of the few options with long-term security*. And so I ran the gauntlet for three different departments, lets call them Dept A, Dept B and Geoscience Australia. I did a great job on two of these, and a rather shocking job on another…hence the how to….and how not to.

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Meet the scientists…Who? Me?

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One very good scientist and four dressing the part

By Kelly

Just recently I was given a healthy reminder that some stereotypes are really hard to break. I am very open about the fact that I was always interested in science, however when I hit 16 I was more interested in being cool. Unfortunately I had no role models that were cool scientists which led me to make some decisions that would lead me away from science* for over a decade**. And so during my time at the Research School of Earth Sciences I have gladly been involved with the university’s Equity and Diversity Unit, that most recently included participating in their ‘Who are scientists?’ workshop that was held for 14 year olds from regional school along the coast.

The 8 representative ‘scientists’ were jumbled in with other staff from our coastal campus, and when singled out the 120 kids were asked to stand if they thought that person was a scientist. Of 120, guess how many stood for me……

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Not quite News yet – Part III


In this series we present fictive “News Articles” which some of us wrote when participating in a Science Communication Workshop at ANU. If you want to know more about the Why and How, please see this post here.

While the projects described are PhD projects that are on the way at RSES, the results (if they are described) in those “news articles” are by no means final and can be described from “That`s my current interpretation of my data that I came up with last night and I haven`t tested yet” to “Wishfull thinking”.

The aim of this series is to provide you with a glimpse of the diversity of ongoing Earth Science research at ANU, not to present final results.

And now, without further ado …


 

Lab grown crystals hold the answer to rock formation

 

By Louise

Small amounts of elements, in two minerals could be a new master key for unlocking the mysteries of how deep rocks formed.

Louise Schoneveld, a young doctoral candidate is currently simulating conditions from deep in the earth’s crust and growing crystals in the lab at Australian National University.

“Small amounts of powders are placed under the appropriate pressures and temperatures and they melt, and from this melt grow tiny crystals” explains, Miss Schoneveld. From the crystals; no bigger than the head of a pin, she hopes to create a “code” to help unlock the formation conditions of the Earths lower crust.

“When the crystals grow, they pick up elements. The amount of these elements change when the crystals form from different compositions and in various temperatures and pressures” says Miss Schoneveld.

Determining how much of these elements occur under various conditions will allow Miss Schoneveld compile a database of elemental amounts in a whole combination of temperatures, pressures and compositions.

“Once you have measured the amount of elements in these minerals, you can then look at this database and figure out in what conditions this rock formed,” says Miss Schoneveld.

This will be a great tool for other scientists to help confidently determine the formation conditions of rocks from many different locations in the world.

My favourite megafauna; a tribute to Dippy and Dusty

By Kelly

Motley crew

The cast of the Simpson Desert Dig 2014

If you haven’t been following my last few posts, I have been discussing my adventures post PhD submission that include participating in a camel expedition into the Simpson Desert (see Gallery). I was lucky enough to be joining the party in charge of investigating megafauna fossils first sighted in 2007. Now in 2014, the scientific party, a bunch of hangers-on (including myself) and 18 camels were off to finally retrieve said fossil, and prepare it for transport to Flinders University for further study. What made this particularly exciting was the species was yet to be identified, and therefore we did not know whether we were collecting a giant wombat-like creature, the Diprotodon, or the giant emu-like creature, Genyornis. But before we could even think about retrieving the fossilised megafauna, we had to get our contemporary megafauna to agree to take us. And trust me, at times it really did feel like a UN style negotiation!

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Not quite News yet – Part II


In this series we present fictive “News Articles” which some of us wrote when participating in a Science Communication Workshop at ANU. If you want to know more about the Why and How, please see this post here.

While the projects described are PhD projects that are on the way at RSES, the results (if they are described) in those “news articles” are by no means final and can be described from “That`s my current interpretation of my data that I came up with last night and I haven`t tested yet” to “Wishfull thinking”.

The aim of this series is to provide you with a glimpse of the diversity of ongoing Earth Science research at ANU, not to present final results.

And now, without further ado …


 

DIAMOND EXPLORATION REVOLUTIONISED

 

By Patrick

Researchers at an Australian university have developed a new technique which they hope will forever change the way we search for diamonds.

Current diamond exploration relies on poorly understood phenomena, but the advent of Mr. Goodarzi’s work will, it is hoped, clear up much confusion.

Patrick Goodarzi and colleagues made the breakthrough after years of laboratory work at the Australian National University’s Research School of Earth Science. The discovery was made using specialist apparatus which allowed them to make new rocks from scratch, in a way he describes as similar to making a cake. “We synthesize rocks by adding what we think to be the right ingredients, then bake them at very high pressures.”

“By replicating the conditions found within the Earth, we have been able to observe and control the conditions which stabilise diamond. Importantly, this can be related to the real world to provide key indicators of where diamonds may have been brought to Earth’s surface.”

Despite the work only recently being published, the findings are already making shockwaves in the scientific community. He adds “This is undoubtedly the most exciting research of our careers. We are proud to be advancing Australian industry, with ANU’s science at the fore-?‐front.”

Increased diamond production may become a reality sooner than we’d normally expect, with many high-profile companies already taking note. The effect on future diamond price is not clear, although many experts predict reductions to be minor.