EGU Blogs


Simon: the man who fell to Earth Sciences? Initially (many moons ago) convinced that I would study engineering at University, I was drawn to materials science before seeing the light and turning to mineralogy. My early research focussed on the thermodynamic forces driving high-temperature transformations in silicates such as feldspars; rather a narrow field, but good training for the application of these concepts to a diverse range of problems in Earth Sciences and beyond. Symmetry and structure at the atomic scale caught my attention, and I have spent more than a quarter century in research investigating how (at the atomic scale) the solid Earth responds to changing temperature, pressure and chemistry. Where atoms go, and how they move, determines so many of the physical and chemical properties of our planet. My research spans the range of mineral environments from the biosphere to the deepest inner core.

Both through teaching undergraduate Earth Sciences and as a father of three, I have become more and more convinced of the importance of communicating the fascination of geosciences to a general audience. I started by posting short articles on The Earth Story , a Facebook community of half a million or so folk interested in the Earth. I also tweet occasionally as @Sim0nRedfern, and as a new venture I am about to learn how science journalism works, acting as a British Science Association media fellow for a short while.

When I’m not doing my own research, helping others with theirs, teaching the next generation of Earth scientists, or running around after the kids, I go running for my own enjoyment … running long and slow, ideally in mountains, and finishing the odd marathon here and there along the way.

Banner image: Lime Pancakes by Laura Kerber; Image source: Imaggeo

The opinions expressed in An Atom’s-Eye View of the Planet are those of the author, whose views may differ from those of the European Geosciences Union.