Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Supervisor profile – Professor Mike Kendall

DSC00481Professor Mike Kendall

Professor in Earth Sciences

School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol

PhD (1992) “Contributions to the theory and modelling of seismic waves in anisotropic inhomogeneous media”

Supervisor: Prof. C.J. Thomson

1) The Twitter challenge: Describe your PhD in 140 characters (if you can remember it)

Developed theory and numerical methods to track seismic waves through subduction zones, testing the signature of different geodynamic models. [Read More]

Science snaps (1): Africa’s Ups and Downs

Each week we’ll be featuring our favourite ‘science snaps’ on the blog. These posts will showcase images, photos, films and figures that we encounter on a day-to-day basis, as well as things which we simply think are cool and should be gawped at. All of the contributors to Between a Rock work in various veins of volcanology and so the upcoming images will be quite diverse…

Without further ado, and trying to keep to the snappy title, I’m starting off with a 3D animation flying through the East Africa Rift zooming into areas of volcano and earthquake deformation observed from satellite imagery.

The animation by the European Space Agency is titled “Africa’s ups and downs” and predominately features the work of Juliet Biggs here in the Bristol School of Earth Sciences.

Watch the video and have a look at the webpage that explains the science of the techniques used. Credits: Planetary Visions/NERC-COMET/JAXA/ESA

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Feeling blue: A lesson in perseverance

Mel Auker is a PhD student in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol and is a regular contributor to Between a rock and hard place. In her own words, she’s an “applied mathematician bumbling my way through a geology PhD”. Here she provides us all with some Monday afternoon inspiration. Read the Original BBC article or watch the BBC interview with Peter Harrison.

I think a lot of PhD time is spent searching, either literally or metaphorically; everything from inspiration on a Monday morning to melt inclusions on the SEM late on a Friday afternoon. In the grand scheme of things though, these searches are short and you get your PhD wrapped up within three to four years.

Can you imagine, then, hunting for something for 68 years?

[Read More]

How to finish a PhD in three years*

Welcome to our blog! Between a Rock blog is a multi-author effort, comprising five (and counting) PhD students from the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol. We’re pretty excited to be welcomed into the EGU network and look forward to sharing our PhD journeys and science stories with you. To get a feel of what we write about, you can check our old material at

You’ll notice by the title of this post that we’ve started bold, particularly as none of us writing for the blog actually have a PhD; however, we reckon we’ve picked up some tips from our efforts so far…

Here is your unofficial guide to getting a PhD from those who don’t have one yet! [Read More]