Our academic staff pursue research as part of the UCL-Birkbeck Research School of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Our team of dedicated staff and technicians also provide excellent support for our students. Our Doctoral Programme is an integral part of our research culture find out more about our PhD Students.

Our PhD Students

James Braithwaite

James Brait

“First principles molecular dynamics simulations of homogeneous silicate liquids.”

PhD project title:

Material Behavior Governing the Evolution of the Magma Ocean.

Project description:

To understand how the Earth has evolved we need to investigate its constituent layers (core, mantle, crust, etc.) and the interactions between them. As part of the MoltenEarth project I am investigating homogeneous silicate liquids in the mantle. My primary line of investigation is calcium (CaO – SiO2). To do this I am carrying out first principles molecular dynamics simulations to constrain the fundamental thermodynamic relation. These simulations will provide a great deal of information on the physical properties of calcium silicates, such as melting curves. As I am modeling the Earth’s mantle the simulations focus on the silicate being subjected to the high pressures and high temperatures found there. As my studies also incorporate melting I have to investigate calcium silicates both in their solid form as well as their liquid state. This requires two different modeling approaches, electron band theory for the solid phase and statistical methods for the liquid. This is a heavily computational project that aims to shed light on properties of calcium silicates within the mantle.

When I’m not in the office working, I can be found either playing the drums, cycling, cooking, sampling craft beer or playing games (both the board and computer variety).

Contact Details: