Environmental Mineralogy in Bristol

Whilst not quite reaching the magnitude of Ellis’s trip to San Francisco, as part of my fledgling PhD career I took a short trip to Bristol for the Environmental Mineralogy Group Research in Progress meeting (or, rather more succinctly, EMG RiP). Along with five other members of the Manchester Geomicro group, we made the journey down to present some of our work; with myself presenting a poster.


The colossus in all of its blue glory (wheelie bin for scale).

We travelled down the evening before the meeting with our chariot for the journey being a nine seater people carrier that was more akin to a small tour bus. Thankfully, I didn’t have to drive and so relinquished the duties of taming the beast. Luckily, we had two expert drivers, Laura and Hannah, who’s mastery of the wheel proved vital in squeezing into the low ceiling car park once we’d arrived!

Following a good nights rest, we all wandered up to the university for the meeting. As someone who’d never been to Bristol before, I was stunned by how beautiful the place was, but this was nothing compared to our venue for the meeting. The Wills Memorial Building was a magnificent old university building that towered over us as we approached. Endowed with stained glass windows and coats of arms, it was a wonderful setting for a conference.



The Wills Memorial Building (the University of Bristol).

After putting up my poster (and realising I was the only awkward one with a landscape design), we were treated to some excellent talks from PhD students, post docs and invited speakers, all with an orchestral backing track due to the rehearsals next door. Although somewhat distracting, the constant crescendos and diminuendos of  the ensemble certainly added to the overall grandeur of the event. Academically, the talks and posters generally entertained the theme of contaminated land and radioactive waste, however there were many varied branches of environmental mineralogy explored; from earth worms to biomass ash to the geology of Mars.

My fellow Geomicro group members (two of which are associated NGN members; thanks Tom & Ellen for flying the flag with me) all did their talks and represented Manchester excellently. The quality of work at the meeting was extremely high and  unfortunately Manchester Geomicro came home empty handed, with Newcastle and Leeds sweeping the awards for the best talk and poster, respectively.

All was not lost though, after concluding the meeting, we mosied on down to fantastic microbrewery in Bristol city centre and enjoyed a quick pint in the sun to cap off a great day of interesting science (as you can see by our happy faces).

Bristol Crew

The Bristol Crew – Tom Neill, Ellen Winstanley (front), myself; Luke Townsend (back), Hannah Roberts, Laura Newsome, & Josh Weatherill

Many thanks to Oliver Moore for organising such a well run and engaging event. If you’d like to know more about the Environmental Mineralogy Group or Manchester Geomicro, follow these links provided.



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