Southampton represent at the Gordon Research Conference (GRC): Interior of the Earth 2015

Postdoctoral research fellow Caroline Eakin and professor Tim Minshull recently returned from New England where they were attending the latest GRC on the Earth’s Interior. Here Caroline tells us more.

Gordon conferences are known for close-knit (~150 attendees), and high quality research meetings, designed to foster interaction and discussion between scientists. There are hundreds of individual Gordon conferences across the natural sciences every year, each with a specific research focus. The theme of this year’s GRC: Interior of the Earth was “Surface Connections”, highlighting new research on the structure and dynamics of the upper mantle and it’s influence of surface processes such as tectonics, volcanism and climate.

Group photo of this year’s GRC attendees.

The main conference took place over 4-5 days at Mount Holyoke College in central Massachusetts, a liberal arts college at the heart of beautiful New England. Conference attendees not only participate in the science sessions located across the campus, but also eat together in the dining rooms, and live together in the dorms. Due to the unique style of the conference many of the participants like to lovingly refer to it as “summer camp for scientists”.

Tim Minshull was one of the first speakers to kick off the week, presenting his talk on “Tectonics and Mantle Serpentinisation During Continental Breakup at Highly Extended Margins” to the fresh faced and eager audience on Sunday evening. Not the most ideal slot for jetlagged Brits however!

During the weekend leading up to the conference, I also attended an introductory event for PhD students and postdocs called the Gordon Research Seminar (GRS). On Saturday evening, I had the chance to present my work on “Deformation Within the Subducted Slab from Seismic Anisotropy” to my fellow early careerists. I was then honoured to find out that my talk had been handpicked to be given at the full GRC, this time in front of both young and old. Having the earlier practice at the GRS was definitely beneficial before speaking in front of this larger and more imposing crowd.

Overall I learnt many new things at both the GRC and the GRS, and have returned to Southampton inspired to explore my own research in new ways. I very much look forward to the next ‘shallow’ themed GRC, but unfortunately we will have to wait until 2019!