- Course: BSc Geophysical Sciences
All through my school years, I had a particular fascination with the physical world and the processes it undergoes. Due to this interest and a flair for maths I chose to take Double Maths, Physics and Geography at A-level. After discussion with my Physics teacher, I realised that geophysics was the field I wanted to study at degree level and beyond. This choice was enhanced by having already had an interest in seismology, tectonics and volcanology.
I was first attracted to Leeds because it offered a straight Geophysics course. I had found that most other universities only offered degrees combined with Geology. I visited Leeds and found a large and very friendly Earth Sciences department with a group of Geophysics staff, offering a full and comprehensive course.
I enrolled on the BSc Geophysical Sciences (North America) course and the first year provided a sound foundation of maths courses and an introduction to all fields of Geophysics. It’s a very friendly department with strong student/lecturer relationships and the field trips provided throughout the course were great at bringing the lectures to life, as well as being lots of fun!
One of these field trips involved visiting Santorini in the Aegean to study the paleolandscape prior to the catastrophic eruption that destroyed the large and thriving Minoan town of Akrotiri. This was an opportunity to use all forms of field equipment from gravimeters to ground-penetrating radar.
As part of the exchange scheme, I visited the University of California at Santa Barbara. This was definitely one of my best years at university and I had the opportunity to experience a different style of teaching and alternative views of large geologic processes. While at UCSB I also had the opportunity to gain experience with Professor Archuletta, an earthquake seismologist and to spend 18 days as a volunteer scientist aboard the research vessel Roger Revelle for Dr Speiss of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, where we studied the Juan de Fuca spreading ridge.
My fourth year project involved studying Stromboli Volcano, under the supervision of Dr Jurgen Neuberg, investigating the location of the source and the processes by which it drives periodic eruptions. My interest in Geophysics always lay very much in seismology and I was lucky enough to do some work experience in this area at the end of my second year. Throughout my four years at Leeds, I learned about all aspects of Geophysics, from the methods used in the oil and mineral industry to the properties of the earth’s gravitational and magnetic field, which allowed me to specialise in the final year.
The city of Leeds itself is large and lively with an eclectic mixture of music, culture and activities. I have found that people from all walks of life have found a niche for themselves here in Leeds. I have enjoyed it here so much, that I am staying on to embark on a postgraduate study on the M.Res Earth and Atmosphere course, again specialising in volcano seismology.