Name: Mike Jollands 

Position: PhD Student

Research School of Earth Sciences

Australian National University

Area of study: Experimental Petrology (cooking things that shouldn’t be cooked)

Project: Diffusion in geological materials

What does that mean?

Diffusion is the process by which things (atoms, molecules, kittens) move around randomly within other things (gases, liquids, solids, kitten farms), which generally has the consequence of causing them to move from areas of high concentration to lower concentration. Kittens tend to move around randomly, and atoms tend to do the same thing, albeit in a much less cute way. This random movement is increased when temperatures are high (like in the deep earth and in magma), and effectively stopped at low temperatures (like my share house). The movement of atoms at high temperatures leaves a signal within the rocks which can be analysed using our flashy equipment at the ANU, and this, we hope, will tell us something about the history of the rocks.

How did I get here?

By plane. Plus they told me it would be warmer than England.

Where will I go?

It doesn’t really matter. There’s opportunities for my kind in academia (anywhere there’s a university) in industry (anywhere there’s something like oil, iron or unobtanium to take from the ground) and in beer-drinking (anywhere) around the world. As long as I keep having fun and have somewhere to run I’ll be happy!