Supervisor profile #4: Dr Frances Cooper

Frances CooperDr Frances Cooper

BHP Billiton Lecturer

PhD (2008) “Exhumation of the northern Snake Range metamorphic core complex, Nevada”

1) The Twitter challenge: Describe your PhD in 140 characters (if you can remember it)
I tested different models for how the metamorphic rocks of the northern Snake Range were brought to the surface from the middle-lower crust.

2) What was the best part of your PhD?
Escaping the Los Angeles smog to spend weeks camping and hiking in the Nevada wilderness (apart from the poisonous snakes, cactus,impenetrable vegetation, searing heat, burning sun, and car trouble!).

Snake Range
Frances working very hard during a field season in the Snake Range, Nevada, USA. Credit: Frances Cooper

3) If you had to start your PhD again now, what would you do differently?
Read a lot more papers at the beginning so that I had a better understanding of the problem. It all came together in the end, but it would have been easier if I had it all straight in my head from the start.

4) Why did you decide to stay in academia?
There is always another interesting question to be answered, and usually I can find them in far-flung exotic locations! The combination of science, travel, and intellectual freedom make this job unique and exciting.

5) What’s the biggest challenge about supervising PhD students?
I’m new to this game, so you might need to come back to me in a year or two for a better answer, but so far I would say finding enough time to keep track of what each student is doing so that I am able to help when needed.

6) And what’s the most rewarding aspect?
Spending time in the field. I tend to be so busy during term time that it’s great to get out into the field and have the time and space to get to know students properly. It’s also where the best scientific discussions tend to happen.

Fieldwork in Chile – I think this is one of those ‘scientific discussions’ Frances was talking about. Credit: Frances Cooper

7) What’s been your most exciting travel perk in your career to date?
Three trips to the Himalaya to do field work in Bhutan, plus a 2-week holiday in Nepal. Highlight: seeing Chomolungma (Mount Everest) with my own eyes!

That’s one way of saying you’ve been on top of Everest. Fieldwork and holidays in Nepal. Credit: Frances Cooper

Originally posted on the EGU blog network

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About Charly Stamper

I’m an ex-experimental petrologist.
I used to make pretend volcanoes; now I work in renewable energy

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