Andy Biggin is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Liverpool in the UK. He works in the Geomagnetism Lab in the School of Environmental Sciences where he has held an Advanced Fellowship from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) since early 2009. He got his BSc in geophysics from Liverpool in 1997, his PhD in palaeomagnetism from Kingston (Surrey, not Jamaica) in 2001, and since then has worked as a post-doc in UNAM (Mexico), Montpellier (France), and Utrecht (Netherlands). Between contracts, he also worked for the Bradford and Bingley financial services company for a couple of years before the big crash (coincidence?). Andy’s research is based around the study of the ancient geomagnetic field through its record preserved in rocks and archaeological materials. He is particularly interested in understanding if, when, and how long term variations in the field’s behaviour tie in with simultaneous changes in conditions in the Earth’s core and mantle. In his spare time, Andy enjoys reading, gaming, eating/drinking out, watching rugby league (Leeds Rhinos in particular) and spending time with his son and with his wife – an English teacher and arts graduate who has little to no interest in geomagnetism.
Neil Suttie is a postdoctoral researcher also at the Geomagnetism Lab in Liverool. He submitted his PhD thesis on archaeomagnetism and the microwave method in 2010 and is now turning his attention to studies of the more ancient geomagnetic field.
Andy Herries is an Associate Professor and Director of the Australian Archaeomagnetism Laboratory at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. He received a BSc in Archaeological Science in 1997, MSc in Geoarchaeology in 1998 and PhD in Geomagnetism in 2003 from the University of Liverpool (UK). In 2003-2004 he was a Post-doctoral Research Fellow with Mary Kovacheva at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Sofia, Bulgaria; part of the Archaeomagnetic Applications for the Rescue of Cultural Heritage Network (AARCH) directed by Cathy Batt and Don Tarling. In 2005 he moved to Australia as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the University of New South Wales. In 2008 he became an Australian Research Council Fellow at UNSW and began setting up his own laboratory. His main field of research has been dating African early hominin fossils using magnetostratigraphy, particularly in caves. He has also undertaken environmental magnetic and sediment source reconstructions of cave sediments, magnetic characterisation of fire use and magnetic sourcing and thermal history reconstructions of archaeological artefacts. He is currently conducting studies of geomagnetic reversal events and excursions combined with isotopic analysis of uranium-lead dated speleothems from Plio-Pleistocene caves. He also runs and participates in archaeological excavations in China, South Africa, Australia, Bulgaria and Kenya. In Bulgaria he continues his Archaeomagnetic studies of Thracian age burnt structures. Andy is an active caver, climber and canyoner and has participated in a number of caving expeditions around the world and often conducts trips and expeditions to explore new caves, recover speleothems for palaeoclimatic reconstruction and conduct rope access work for the excavation of logistically challenging sites. He loves the Australian sun but misses English pubs and beer and the use of the Laboratory in Melbourne can easily be arranged by the exchange of a case of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord.
Laura Roberts-Artal. I am a 1st Year Phd student at the geomagentism laboratory at Liverpool University. My research project: A Palaeomagnetic Study of 3.2-3.5 Billion Year Old Rocks from South Africa has the overall aim to shed light on early Earth processes, particularly those relating to the early Earth’s magnetic field. My work is both field and laboratory based and concentrates on samples collected by myself and others, from the Barberton Greenstone Belt, in South Africa. So far, I have collected Archaean aged, palaeomagnetic samples in the field from which I intend to produce reliable measurements of palaeomagnetic directions and (if possible) intensities, supplemented by detailed magnetic and microscopic analyses. My field area (The Barberton Greenstone Belts) is located in Northeastern South Africa. The Greenstone Belt is unique because Archaean supercrustal rocks are well preserved here, have suffered low grade metamorphism and relatively small amounts of deformation (see De Wit et al. 2011); which is very encouraging for palaeomagnetic studies, given the age of the rocks. Recent work by Biggin et al. (2011) and Usui et al. (2009) indicate that the rocks from the Barberton Greenstone Belt record a magnetic field dating back to at least 3.5Ga and Biggin et al (2011) further argue that the rocks may also record a polarity reversal. These results are encouraging, but more data is required to further support these claims. I aim to add to the existing data sets and hope to support the claims of the early research. Prior to starting my Phd (in September 2011) I had no experience in palaeomagnetism. I graduate from Liverpool University with a MESci in Geology in 2007. I undertook a 4th year masters research project in near vent processes related to phreatomagmatic volcanic eruptions. After my degree I spent 3 years working for an environmental consultancy as an environmental consultant, working on contaminated land site investigations.
Megan Thomas. I am a third year PhDstudent based in the geomagnetism laboratory at the University of Liverpool. I am studying sharp changes in geomagnetic field intensity and the possible links between field intensity, climate change and the collapse of civilized societies. I am so far mostly focused on using the microwave system based at Liverpool to determine the palaeointensity of archaeological samples from Turkey. I am currently working on samples from the Alalakh archaeological site in the Hatay Province as well as some mud bricks from the Oylum archaeological site in the Kilis Plain. My project partly stems from recent controversial work of Gallet et al (2006) who suggested that sudden sharp rises in geomagnetic field intensity in the past caused climate changes and major upheavals. An archaeomagnetic jerk represents a period of intensity maxima coinciding with a sharp cusp in field direction. Although my PhD is in archaeomagnetism I am interested in many aspects of geology particularly chemical geology, metamorphic assemblages and palaeontology and graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2010 with a Masters of Earth Science. In my spare time I play many sports including Ultimate Frisbee and I enjoy reading and socialising.
Emma Hodgson. I am currently in my 2nd year of PhD at Liverpool. I completed a 4 year integrated masters, MGeol at University of Plymouth in 2010. My project title is ‘Further advances in determination of past geomagnetic field strength using synthetic samples, single crystals and basalt samples from the SW Pacific’ and is part of a larger project aimed at modelling data collected in the Southern hemisphere. My research area is in intensity of the past magnetic field and the methodology used to obtain it, luckily this has not constrained me to the laboratory as due to a dearth of data from the Southern hemisphere the project required some field work in New Zealand and Australia.
Andreas Nilsson is employed as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Liverpool, UK. In 2011 he finished his PhD at Lund University, Sweden, entitled ‘Assessing Holocene and late Pleistocene geomagnetic dipole field variability’. This work was focused on extracting geomagnetic field information stored in lake sediments. His current research concentrates on palaeointensity analyses of both ceramic and volcanic material from the SW pacific and geomagnetic field modelling using a combination of datasets. He is particularly interested understanding the millennial scale evolution of the geomagnetic field focused on the last 10,000 years.