Professorial Research Fellow in Petrology
PhD (1989) “The Geology of the Southern Adamello Massif”
1) The Twitter challenge: Describe your PhD in 140 characters (if you can remember it)
I studied granites of the Adamello Batholith in the Italian Alps. Rocks that posed the questions that have framed my entire career.
2) What was the best part of your PhD?
Summer 1984. 13 consecutive weeks in a small tent up a mountain. Bliss.
3) If you had to start your PhD again now, what would you do differently?
Finish it more quickly. It took nearly 6 years
4) Why did you decide to stay in academia?
I like the intellectual freedom to tackle difficult puzzles. I’m also not keen on being told what to do.
5) What’s the biggest challenge about supervising PhD students?
Convincing them that they own their project and that I don’t have the answers.
6) And what’s the most rewarding aspect?
Seeing the transition from recent graduate to independent thinker. And occasionally hearing that they enjoyed the experience.
7) What’s been your most exciting travel perk in your career to date?
Zabargad 1998. A remote island in the Red Sea. Uninhabited, reef-fringed and quarried for peridot by the Pharaohs. An exquisite slice of mantle rocks, with a topping of deep crust, folded sediments, evaporites and an uplifted coral reef. Also quite hot.