UCL Earth Sciences


Interact with real scientists

Our Scientists interacting with the public

Soapbox Science:

This is a series of public outreach events happening all over the country promoting visibility of female in science. It’s a great opportunity for scientist to share their research findings with the general public, answer questions, and engage in exciting debate! Soapbox Science in London, usually held at the SouthBank transforms this place into an arena for scientific discussion and learning.

Amy Edgington, presented her research on Mercury "Atoms: A Window into Space"; Related link: Bringing Sciences to the People

Dr Rehemat Bhatia, our alumna (@rehemat) took part in the initiative where they challenged artists and scientists to work together to produce pieces of artwork inspired by science. "Foraminifera, deep time climate change and the HMS Challenger expedition"

I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here!

The UK’s largest online, X Factor-style competition between the scientists, where the students are the judges.

‘I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here!’ is an online event where school students get to meet and interact with real scientists. It’s an X Factor-style competition between the scientists, where the students are the judges. Students submit questions which the scientists will try to answer by the next day. Students then have live online Facebook-style chats with the scientists, where they ask questions, learn more about the scientists, and let scientists know their opinions. It takes place online over a two week period. This event hosted two of our researchers:

Prof Lidunka Vočadlo Profile:

I try to work out what is going on in the Earth’s core and in the cores of the terrestrial planets, e.g. Mercury. The Earth’s core (and those of other terrestrial planets) is made mainly of iron. I use computer simulations to calculate the properties of iron, and iron alloys, in order to find out what happens when you heat them up to 6000 degrees and squash them to 3.5 million times atmospheric pressure. On a computer I set up a box of atoms and calculate the energetics of the atoms, from which many useful properties can be worked out. The only real observations of the Earth’s core come from seismic waves propagating through the Earth after earthquakes. My job is to try to find materials with calculated velocities which match those from seismology. When we get this right, we will know something about the composition and evolution of the Earth and other planets, such as Mercury.

Dr Rehemat Bhatia I'm a GeoScientist Profile:

I study tiny fossil plankton called foraminifera and look at the chemistry of their skeletons to look at how climate has changed through time. I study fossilised planktonic forams from a time period known as the Eocene (56 – 33.9 million years ago). During the Eocene there was lots of carbon dioxide and global temperatures were much higher than they are today. Scientists use the Eocene as a parallel to what our climate could be like by 2100. Foram test chemistry can be used to work out lots of different things including depth habitats (so if the forams lived in surface water or deeper in the ocean), whether they had symbionts (like algae) and past sea surface temperatures (using the ratio of magnesium to calcium and putting this into a mathematical equation). Just like animals in their natural environments, forams respond to different environmental conditions (vital effects) in the ocean. However we can’t actually work out exactly what they did in the ocean and we don’t know exactly how different elements ‘fit’ into the crystal structure of foram calcium carbonate either. So really all past climate chemistry data from foraminifera has to be questioned in terms of this! Part of my work will be looking at this problem and working out exactly how accurate the data we get from forams are.