July has been a month of intense outreach activities at the Centre for Research in Earth Sciences (CRES) here in Plymouth.
It started with a two day event called "Girls into Geosciences" designed to introduce female A level students to the Earth sciences and demonstrate the world of careers open to Earth science graduates today. The morning included seminars from women working in geology, and the afternoon had hands on workshops on a range of geological topics, from palaeontology to palaeomagnetism and volcanos. The aim of Girls into Geosciences is to attract more girls towards this discipline, and demonstrate that it is not, only for boys!
During the afternoon I helped in running of the workshop "Microfossils and Climate". Every girl had a microscope and one sample with microfossils (mainly foraminifers) from a core of Quaternary marine succession of Montserrat (Antilles). Girls, by estimating the relative abundance of a guide-fossil typical of warm waters, were able to reconstruct the last glacial-interglacial cycles.
The event has been a success, with 78 girls participating!
Last week instead, we hosted a student from the Plymstock School, for a one week work placement at CRES. Beth actively participated to the ongoing research activity in the various labs, from the preparation of rock samples, to the analysis of samples at the mass spectrometer. Together, we prepared fossil samples for trace element analysis. We weighted the powdered sampled at the high-precision balance, digested them in 20% nitric acid, and diluted them in ultra-pure water inside 10 mils flasks. Thank you Beth for your help!