Dr Andrew Walker

My role as programme leader is varied. I’m responsible for the design and development of the course to ensure that it offers a coherent set of modules and a large part of this involves actively seeking feedback from you as students on the course. I’ll meet with you at the beginning and end of the year to talk to you about this. Another part of my role is to provide guidance to you about the programme and the modules you want to take, as well as any other programme related queries you may have. Your personal tutors can also help you with this.

At the University of Leeds I'm excited to work amongst one of the largest groups of geophysicists in any university in the UK. I enjoy working with colleagues to apply geophysics to problems as diverse as why earthquakes happen, how ice-sheets move, and how the Earth maintains its protective magnetic field. This also makes it possible for us to deliver a specialised undergraduate geophysics degree that covers the whole of the subject in depth.

We live on a complex and fascinating planet. Studying this course, you will learn how to use the principles of physics to understand and explore that planet. If we consider the field of seismology, we find that you will be taught by lecturers who are engaged in research on how seismology can be used to monitor volcanic activity, evaluate oil reservoirs, study glacier dynamics and determine the composition and structure of the Earth’s deep interior.

During your studies you will learn the fundamental skills of a wide range of geophysical measurement techniques and the theory needed to analyse and interpret your data. In your final year project, you will have the opportunity to design and carry out original research in the area of geophysics that interests you most.

Your course includes practical work e.g. computer modelling techniques and laboratory work, and there is plenty of fieldwork including day trips.

I'm always amazed by the growth of the confidence and ability of our students during their time at Leeds, during study abroad years, and while they undertake a year in industry. This is perhaps best reflected by their ability to pick up an often challenging research project during the final year of study. However these projects go (almost never in the expected direction - that's the nature of research) I'm impressed by our students' ability to describe new work right at the edge of our knowledge of how the Earth works, and I tremendously enjoy these interactions. It's clear that these projects are not just academic exercises. The analytical, problem solving, and project management skills developed during these projects sets our students up for a wide range of careers in geophysics and beyond.

My own research focusses on the use of computational models to understand how the rocky part of the deep Earth deforms to cool the interior and drive plate tectonics. I was very honoured that this aspect of my research was recognised by the President's Award of the Geological Society in 2005 and the Max Hey Medal of the Mineralogical Society in 2009. More recently I have used these approaches to help understand why the Earth can support life, while similar planets do not.

I look forward to meeting you in person soon.