Fireside Tales

View of Volcán de Fuego from the terraces of Volcán Acatenango, Feb 2017

This blog post is a condensed version of a research article published on 7th October in VOLCANICA. You can find the full article here. It's fully open-access and free to download. Volcanoes present one of nature’s most spectacular sights and, while most of us would be hugely impressed by the breathtaking spectacle of the flames, … Continue reading Fireside Tales

Featured post: the “ExPhDition”

Coming to the end of a PhD is a strange event. Unlike the closure granted by the final exam and graduation party of an undergraduate degree, finishing a PhD involves a number of milestones along an interminable path: compiling the first thesis draft, receiving all your supervisors' comments, finishing your conclusions, submitting the paperwork, uploading … Continue reading Featured post: the “ExPhDition”

When to weigh anchor

"It came to me in a dream." This sentence has been the explanation given by visionaries throughout history for their inspiration: religious mystics, Frank Ocean, this amazing footnote. But as the rudder that steers the passage of a career in an ordinary life? That seems foolhardy. And yet ... such dreams can clarify subconscious desires. … Continue reading When to weigh anchor

A sense of scale

For my first blog post while in Guatemala this spring, I thought I would write about scales of time and distance. It’s something I think a lot about, especially because my research is split between two distant countries, and because 2.5 years into my PhD, I have rather more time to reflect on than to … Continue reading A sense of scale

Holding back the wave

At some point in the second year of your PhD, there comes a wave of fear. I learned about this phenomenon in my first months here: while preparing coffee in the Common Room, friends would whisper of mysteries like "The Second-Year Blues", or "The Valley of Shit". Now that I'm in their position, I get … Continue reading Holding back the wave

Return to writing

According to my front page, I last published a post six months ago. Yikes! Keeping up a regular blog was one of my resolutions for last year that fizzled out. That isn't to say that writing has completely slipped my mind. Quite the opposite: there have been many moments in 2017 that I really wanted … Continue reading Return to writing

What is the purpose of outreach?

Last month, I had the opportunity to participate in several outreach events around Bristol. With Cotham School Science Club, I made baking soda volcanoes and played risk with party poppers; I gave an interview on the Love & Science BCfm Radio show (May 15th podcast); I  prepared for Bristol Doctoral College's "Research without Borders" Showcase … Continue reading What is the purpose of outreach?

Notes from the field

The Santa Teresa barranca, before a pyroclastic flow.

The fourth eruption of 2017 of Volcán de Fuego, Guatemala, began in the morning of Thursday 4th May. The national monitoring institute, INSIVUMEH, released several special bulletins providing information as the eruption progressed. The early stages included the development of two lava flows, in the Santa Teresa and Las Lajas river valleys; by 21:30 local … Continue reading Notes from the field