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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






Fred Wilson

Fred Wilson



“Calculation of thermodynamic properties of magma ocean constituents.”



PhD project title:

Thermodynamics of a MgO-CaO system under magma ocean conditions following giant impact.




Project description:

Giant impacts are likely to be a ubiquitous planetary process, resulting in large scale melting and vaporization of target and impactor. Recent results have emphasized the importance of massive vaporization for understanding the composition of the Earth-Moon system. Earth is the product of an evolutionary process that began with a largely molten initial condition, a magma ocean.

Melting is the engine of chemical evolution in rocky planets, which makes possible the formation of core, mantle, crust, and atmosphere. The magma ocean is central to our understanding of differentiation since much of it happened early: as Earth solidified, chemical evolution slowed to the trickle of partial melt that continues to form crust today. Ab-Initio molecular dynamic simulation of the full compositional spectrum;of the MgO-CaO system under relevant pressures and temperatures will provide the thermodynamic properties of key components in a magma ocean. With this knowledge we may better understand the evolution of planetary interiors prior to giant impacts.


Contact Details:
Email:  alfred.wilson.11@ucl.ac.uk
Supervisors: Prof Lars Stixrude