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Palaeoclimate in a Medieval city

By Tiah Penny

For three weeks of July I go to say “arrivederci” to the Canberra winter, as I travelled to Italy to attend the 14th Urbino Summer School in Palaeoclimateology (USSP). The summer school was taught by some of the leading scientists in the field of palaeoclimate, and attended by over 70 palaeoclimate nerds – I mean HDR students – from around the world. Continue reading “Palaeoclimate in a Medieval city”

Self worth and the PhD

Not long after I began my PhD I saw a piece of advice that read ‘be cautious of letting your PhD become the sole thing by which you measure your self worth’. Sounds reasonable, I thought. Only recently, however, have I come to realise its true value.

Continue reading “Self worth and the PhD”

Photos From Our RSES Adventures. Vol.1

As part of our annual Student Conference, this year we held our first ever RSES Photography Competition! Over the coming months we are going to be sharing with you some of these photos, and the stories and science behind them.

This week we start on a high with the winning images from our three categories; Where We Go, Who We Are and What We Study, as well as the overall winner. Enjoy!

Where We Go

Milky Way + Tent – Dr. Jonathan Pownall (ARC DECRA Fellow)

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The photo was taken in August 2014 during a trip to Ladakh in the Indian Himalaya with Dr. Marnie Forster.  We were undertaking geological mapping and structural analysis of shear zones related to the exhumation of UHP coesite-bearing eclogites.  One night, camping by Tso Kar lake (4500 m), I opened my tent, and the sky was amazingly clear, and the Milky Way looked pretty special.  The lamp was still on in the kitchen tent… so I balanced my camera on a rock and took a long exposure photo.

Continue reading “Photos From Our RSES Adventures. Vol.1”

Mining history and geology of the West Coast region – Tasmania

By Suzette

Tasmania has a rich history in ore geology and particularly West Tasmania is well-known for its mining industry. The formation of numerous ore bodies in this region were all related to three main geological events: the movement of hot fluids by volcanism in the Cambrian forming the primary minerals, the activity of the Great Lyell Fault exposing and oxidising some of the minerals, and a major orogeny in the Devonian causing the remobilising of the metals into veins and larger crystals. A simplified geological map can be seen below.

Continue reading “Mining history and geology of the West Coast region – Tasmania”

Self-conscious science writing

My writing has gone to bits - like my character. I am simply a self-conscious nerve in pain. - Oscar Wilde

by Tim Jones

A friend and I were discussing our tendency to hedge our bets when writing about science, for example: “The effect is somewhat observed“, “Our results are relatively consistent with”, “We conclude that our writing predominantly sucks”. These vagaries pollute our prose and muddle the mind of our readers. But is it necessary? Let’s start by addressing why scientists feel the need to be so inconclusive. First, science really is uncertain, and nobody wants to give an audience full of braniacs, geeks, and know-it-alls, a reason to think they don’t realise this. Second, writing is an act of psychology, because you don’t know what your readers know or don’t know, so you have to pre-empt the inevitable knowledge gap between you and them. The problem is that it’s impossible to determine the size of this gap and so the default position is to assume a chasm.

Continue reading “Self-conscious science writing”

Exploring the region: when a three-hour trip takes you millions of years back in time

By Jesse Zondervan

Where other people see rocks and cliffs, our geologist student blogger Jesse Zondervan sees another world. Join him as he visits Jervis Bay. This blog was originally posted on the ANU science student blog.

A little kangaroo under a beach umbrella sticks his tongue out at us. A small group of beachgoers surround him, but he seems unperturbed as he lies down to relax.

Continue reading “Exploring the region: when a three-hour trip takes you millions of years back in time”

Deep Carbon Observatory summer school 2016

By Suzette Timmerman

The Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO; https://deepcarbon.net/) is an organization that investigates the carbon cycle. Researchers from all over the world are linked to this organization in four communities: extreme physics and chemistry, reservoirs and fluxes, deep energy, and deep life. We explore the behavior of carbon at extreme pressure and temperature conditions, how much carbon there is in which reservoirs and how it moves, how it changed over time, and the extreme conditions of life.

Continue reading “Deep Carbon Observatory summer school 2016”

Week 38: Wee Jasper

This weeks post is from third year Msci geology exchange student Jesse Zondervan who has been visiting RSES for the last year. This was originally posted on the 10th April on Jesse’s personal blog site.

By Jesse Zondervan

The two week mid-semester break started off with a field trip to Wee Jasper, in the bush of New South Wales. After five days of walking around in a field shirt and hat without phone signal I arrived back in civilization on Wednesday evening. Back in Canberra I spent the rest of my time writing for my assignments and the student newspaper. I also worked on the microscope with Janelle and played some boardgames with the B&G boardgames society.

Continue reading “Week 38: Wee Jasper”

Turtles and tap-dancing birds: welcome to an ANU field trip

A field trip takes student blogger Jesse Zondervan to a classroom in paradise on the Great Barrier Reef. This was originally posted on the ANU Science student blog.

By Jesse Zondervan

In a silent group of people, I stand in the dark on a white beach. I listen to sea turtles digging their nests. Torches are not allowed because they may blind the turtles or scare them away to waste their eggs in the sea.

Heron Island is our one-night stopover to One Tree Island, a research island on the Great Barrier Reef, where we’ll be doing a field course for ten days.

Continue reading “Turtles and tap-dancing birds: welcome to an ANU field trip”

Just Not Cricket

by Patrick Goodarzi

True to academic stereotypes, it seems whenever sport is mentioned in these pages it is often followed by some combination of the words failure, embarrassment, or disgrace. This occasion is to be no different. Our opponents this time were the fully fledged academics and staff of RSES – ostensibly further down the line of sporting ineptitude. The day was mid April and the game was cricket. In hindsight, a poor choice of sport and one that played directly into the staffs’ hands – a predominantly matured group from Commonwealth nations for whom the idea of standing idly in a field for half a day was an exhilarating prospect. In contrast, our ragamuffin bunch was cobbled together with students from diverse backgrounds, to many of whom cricket was a foreign curiosity. All, however, were delightfully keen. Perhaps they sensed the magnitude of the occasion. Or more likely some cultural fulfilment to be had. Continue reading “Just Not Cricket”

A Summer at RSES

By Ben Nistor

ANU Summer Scholarship at RSES

As the mid-year holidays approach I start thinking ahead to summer.  After a hectic start to the year (despite trying to “lighten the workload”) and consecutive summers of full time employment in big cities away I intended to give myself a holiday.  This year I would head home and put my feet up. Haha, well that didn’t happen…

Continue reading “A Summer at RSES”

Exploring the Eastern Anchor of the Himalayas

By F. Fang

When talking about field work in the Himalayas, I always expect to see amazing scenery and try delicious local food,

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However, a more common situation is like this…

Continue reading “Exploring the Eastern Anchor of the Himalayas”

Trends in Science

By Tim Jones

The ability to search through colossal amounts of data with a few key strokes is one of the most powerful gifts of the digital age. While vastly improving the standard of common knowledge the world over (with no foreseeable limit to this trend), we have opened up areas of research that would be too arduous for humans, or simply never imagined before the rise of digital data analysis. An awesome example of this is Google’s Ngram Viewer, a corpus of digitised texts containing around 6% of all books ever printed. Linguists use it to track changes in language through time, e.g. the usage of “burnt” vs “burned” or the emergence of phrases such as “it takes two to tango”. I’ve used it to track the occurrence of four words between 1800 and 2000; physics, chemistry, biology, and geology. There are some interesting correlations that can been drawn between trends in word usage and the timing of developments and discoveries in these fields of science. For example, geology begins its greatest period of growth from the year 1829, one year before Charles Lyell began publishing his seminal work, Principles of Geology.

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Continue reading “Trends in Science”

RSES social soccer, summer 2015 – a season in retrospect

By Patrick Goodarzi

Popular wisdom cautions against the worship of false idols. This year’s RSES soccer team chose to eschew this by elevating one player, Pat Carr, to near demigod status. The hopes and dreams of an entire School were pinned to Carr before the first ball had been kicked. Even the team’s name – Pat Carr and the Cardiac Arrests, and later Pat Carr and the Carr-pettes – blazoned the strategy. The role of remaining team members was simply auxiliary. Pat Carr was to be our champion. Our light. Our salvation. In Carr we believed.

Continue reading “RSES social soccer, summer 2015 – a season in retrospect”

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