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School of GeoScience News - Last 20 Stories

A salamander the size of a car?

Mar 24, 2015 1:00 am

Steve has led a team that discovered a 'mass grave' of massive, toothy amphibians from 200 million years ago. These two-metre animals have been named Metoposaurus algarvensis and the fossils represent the first find of a Metoposaurus in southern Europe.

News of the discovery was published online in Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (DOI:10.1080/02724634.2014.912988)

See the BBC News article for more information 'Monster salamanders' found in fossilised mass grave.

Icelandic canyon formation

Feb 18, 2015 12:00 pm

A recent published paper by Edwin Baynes (published with his PhD supervisors: Mikael Attal, Linda Kirstein, Andrew Dugmore and Mark Naylor) looked at the impact of extreme flood events on the formation of a large canyon in Iceland. The paper has shown (and what has generated interest in the media BBC article, that the 28 km long, 100 m deep canyon has been formed during flood events (which last a matter of days) approximately two, five and nine thousand years ago. Between these periods, the evolution of the canyon has been relatively stable. This shows that natural environments can be shaped very suddenly, rather than gradually through time, and these catastrophic events can have a long lasting impact on the landscape morphology.

Research Excellence Framework

Jan 5, 2015 1:00 am

The School of GeoSciences has been identified by the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 assessment as having the UK's greatest concentration of excellent researchers in its subject areas. Some 78 per cent of the School’s research activity is in the highest categories - 4* and 3*- which are classified as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, with 100% of our research environment in these categories.

More information on the REF results.

IT Skills Courses

Dec 16, 2014 5:00 pm

Information Services have provided a schedule for IT Skills Courses over the period covering 12/01/2015 to 25/06/2015 ( semester 2). Details can be access from here

“Antarctic Science”

Nov 18, 2014 1:00 am

December 2014’s issue of the journal “Antarctic Science” is a Special Issue in Honour of the Long-Standing Contributions of Professor David E. Sugden to Antarctic Geoscience. Commissioned after the announcement in 2012 of David’s award of the International Glaciological Society’s top honour, the Seligman Crystal, the special issue was edited by three of David’s former Edinburgh PhD students, Dr Chris Fogwill (now University of New South Wales), Dr. Andrew Mackintosh (now Victoria University of Wellington), and Professor David Marchant (Boston University), and current School of GeoSciences staff member Dr. Robert Bingham. The issue comprises 14 papers on Antarctic geomorphology, geology and glaciology, reflecting David’s multidisciplinary approach to Antarctic geoscience. In total 53 authors contributed to the issue, and 11 of them, who are now themselves highly active in current Antarctic research, were former Ph.D., M.Sc. and undergraduate students supervised or taught at Edinburgh by David during the last 25 years. The editorial team were also fortunate enough to persuade David to contribute a paper himself, which is devoted to evaluating the seminal contributions the 19th century University of Edinburgh scientist James Croll made to our understanding of ice ages and their causes. The Open-Access special issue can be accessed here: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayIssue?jid=ANS&volumeId=26&issueId=06

Research on Royal Mail stamps

Nov 10, 2014 1:00 am

The NERC iSTAR Ice Sheet Stability Programme, as part of which the School of GeoSciences’ Dr. Robert Bingham and Ph.D. student Damon Davies participated in the UK’s first major-vehicle oversnow traverse in West Antarctica during November 2013 – January 2014, is being marked with a set of commemorative British Antarctic Territory stamps, expected to be issued from mid November 2014. The 75p stamp depicts Damon Davies and a surface radar used to investigate the internal properties of ice in Pine Island Glacier, making him possibly the first Edinburgh Ph.D. student to appear on a UK postage stamp! iSTAR is an ambitious scientific programme funded by NERC involving leading scientists from 11 UK universities and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). The objective is to improve understanding of ice depletion processes in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, where the greatest rates of ice loss over the last decades have been observed. New knowledge about the stability of this ice sheet is critical for making better predictions on the response of the ocean and ice to environmental change, and their future sea levels. The six-year, 7.4 million programme involves four main research projects — each using state-of-the art technologies to make new discoveries about the ocean or the ice. The Edinburgh contribution to this work, led by Dr. Robert Bingham, is the deployment of radio-echo sounding systems to image bedforms and subglacial material beneath 2-km thick West Antarctic ice. As part of a team of 12 scientists and support staff taking part in the 2013/14 iSTAR traverse of Pine Island Glacier, Bingham and Davies towed an ice-penetrating radar >2000 km during the 2013/14 iSTAR traverse, and with iSTAR colleagues are currently working on the acquired data so as to better understand the influence of the basal forms and composition on West Antarctic ice flow. Davies has now returned to Antarctica for the second iSTAR traverse which takes place from November 2014 to January 2015. Link to further details about the stamps: http://www.pobjoystamps.com/contents/en-uk/d91_iStar.html

Niamh Shortt , ESRC Impact grant

Nov 10, 2014 1:00 am

Niamh Shortt, in partnership with Action on Smoking and Health in Scotland and Alcohol Focus Scotland, has been awarded an ESRC Impact Grant. The grant will be used to disseminate the findings of research that Niamh, along with colleagues in the Centre for Research on Environment Society and Health (CRESH), have recently completed on alcohol and tobacco environments in Scotland. This research was covered by the media in October (alcohol) and November (tobacco) 2014 including interviews on the BBC and reporting in both national and international media. More information on the research can be found at the CRESH blog: http://cresh.org.uk/news/

Earth Observation (NCEO)

Nov 10, 2014 1:00 am

Paul Palmer and Mathew William are PIs in the new NERC 23m National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO). A total of 2.5 FTEs will be funded on a rolling basis focused on the carbon cycle, atmospheric composition, and data assimilation. In addition, Mathew is a capability leader in land data assimilation and Paul is Chair of the NCEO Science Strategy Forum.

Schlumberger Award

Sep 29, 2014 1:00 am

Professor Simon Harley has been awarded the 2015 Mineralogical Society – Schlumberger Award, the Society’s highest honour. The Schlumberger Medal recognizes scientific excellence in mineralogy and its applications, in this case Simon’s ground-breaking research on ultra-high temperature metamorphism and its importance in mountain building and crustal evolution.

Royal honour for glaciologist

Sep 29, 2014 1:00 am

The School of GeoSciences’ Professor Geoffrey Boulton has been awarded a royal medal in recognition of his pioneering work in the field of glacial science. Professor Boulton, Regius Professor of Geology Emeritus and former Vice-Principal, received the Royal Geographical Society’s Founder’s Medal for the development and promotion of glaciology. Approved by Her Majesty the Queen, the Society’s Royal Medals are among the highest honours of their kind in the world.

Scotland’s Young Academy

Sep 29, 2014 1:00 am

Kate Saunders has become one of 43 new members of Scotland’s Young Academy when her application of membership to the Young Academy of Scotland was accepted in summer. The RSE Young Academy of Scotland fosters interdisciplinary activities among emerging leaders from the disciplines of science and humanities, the professions, the arts, business and civil society.

The Principal's Medal

Sep 29, 2014 1:00 am

The Principal's Medal for Service to the Community honours a staff member or student who plays a key role in a project or service that has been of benefit to the wider community. Nicholle Bell, a PhD student within the School of Chemistry (50 % School of GeoSciences), received the accolade for her innovation and practitioner skills in the field of public engagement and community outreach. In particular, she was acknowledged for setting up and delivering the Royal Society of Chemistry's Spectroscopy in a Suitcase (SIAS) initiative in Scotland, and for making an impact on teachers and pupils across the country. Both 2014 winners will be presented with their medals during the November graduation ceremonies.

Best Student Award

Sep 29, 2014 1:00 am

Ed Lewis, who just graduated with a BSc in Ecological Science (Forestry) was awarded the Institute of Chartered Foresters Best Student Award. Julia Adamson from ICF attached a photo of Ed receiving his award and also sent me this quote: "ICF would like to sincerely congratulate Ed Lewis on his well-deserved ICF Best Student Award. As part of our commitment to maintaining excellence in the profession, this award recognises the most promising graduates at the very start of their career. Ed has a bright career in forestry ahead and we wish him the very best of luck as he begins his professional journey." Shireen Chambers FICFor, Executive Director, Institute of Chartered Foresters.

Green Gown Awards

Sep 29, 2014 1:00 am

The GeoSciences Outreach: A sustainable course for sustainable learning and enterprise has been selected under the category ‘Courses and Learning Finalists’ “It is fantastic to see more institutions than ever being finalists – the strength and quality of applications is truly inspiring. The breadth of activity within the sector shows that sustainability really does bring positive impacts, both on the institution, their staff and students and the wider community. These finalists are proof that where institutions take sustainability seriously they are reaping the benefits.” says Iain Patton, Chief Executive of the EAUC.

CCS speed dating

Sep 2, 2014 1:00 am

Look at the link below for details of an innovative event organised by Sara Brouwer, a GeoSciences Masters student.

CCS speed dating.

Low Carbon gets to work

Sep 2, 2014 1:00 am

The two-day workshop brought together scientists to look at climate monitoring, and at forests, marking the start of a continuing engagement between the University and the National Physical Laboratory, a collaboration that will involve many GeoSciences staff. See the link below for more information.

Joint NPL-UoE Workshop.

Dinosaurs victims of bad luck

Jul 28, 2014 1:00 am

An international study published in Biological Reviews results in new narrative on the demise of the dinosaurs.

See the University news story for more details. (Link will open a new window.)

Dinosaurs fell victim to perfect storm.

Or the BBC Science site:

'Bad luck' ensured that asteroid impact wiped out dinosaurs

Obituary for Tom Crowley

Jul 3, 2014 1:00 am

The latest edition of Nature Geoscience contains an appreciation of the work of our late colleague Tom Crowley. It is written by a long-time associate of Tom's, Gerald North. Those within the university or who otherwise have online access to Nature Geoscience can view the article from the link below.

Article on Tom will open in a new window

3 Minute Thesis competition

May 14, 2014 1:00 am

Many congratulations to Andi Moring (2nd Year GeoSciences PhD student) who was one of the three winners in the College of Science and Engineering 3 Minute Thesis competition and was the Runner Up in the University final on 20 June. Her presentation was entitled 'The silence of the lambs: How do sheep and climate affect air pollution?'.

Andi is supervised by Ruth Doherty, Massimo Vieno (visiting fellow and at CEH) and Mark Sutton (CEH).

More information about the 3 Minute Thesis Competition can be found on Competition Website

Steve Brusatte in Nature Comms

May 7, 2014 1:00 am

In a paper published today in Nature Communications Steve and his Chinese colleagues report on the discovery of a nine-metre long new type of Tyrannosaur with a long and horny snout.

Read more about it on the BBC science and environment pages. BBC report here.

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