Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, California (age 14-18)
Harvard University (undergraduate degree)
University of Washington, Seattle (Masters and PhD)
We don’t really have qualifications in the United States (I don’t think).
Undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics (maths, fluid mechanics, environmental science), Masters in Applied Maths and in Oceanography, and PhD in Oceanography (more maths, statistics, spectral analysis, and coding for data analysis).
Tutoring, babysitting, rock-crushing (for a geology professor), staffing the entrance hall in my dorm/halls of residence at Uni, and various research internships. After I got my PhD I’ve been in Southampton–either at the National Oceanography Centre or University of Southampton.
My job title is “Principal Research Scientist” but I usually just say I’m an oceanographer and/or climate scientist.
National Oceanography Centre
I’m the oceanographer who talked about eddies in the second lecture.
I live in Southampton with my husband, two kids and two cats. We play Pokemon Go in our local neighbourhood,
I study the oceans to understand how Earth's climate is changing.
I’m a physical oceanographer, which means that I study how the water in the oceans moves – including waves, currents and eddies. I make and use measurements of the ocean to try to understand how the circulation is changing and what this will mean for our climate and weather.
Making measurements can meaning spending many weeks at sea, or sending marine robots out to make measurements for me. I then use computer programming to analyse the measurements and figure out what the ocean is doing.
My Typical Day:
When I’m at sea, I usually get up before sunrise since we start work ‘over the side’ when the sky is light enough to see. This might mean putting sensors into the ocean to measure its temperature or how salty it is, or launching a marine robot to make the measurements for us.
I have two types of typical days–one while doing fieldwork, and one office based back in the UK.
A typical day doing fieldwork will mean getting up for my shift on the ship, checking in with how instrument preparations are going, and sending sensors over the side to make measurements. I might also spend time downloading data from instruments, processing it on a computer, and checking it to verify the data quality.
A typical day on land is more like an office job. I’ll go in to work (when not in lockdown) and have meetings to discuss progress on various projects, or to come up with new questions and ideas to investigate with future projects.
What I do to help Planet Earth:
At home we recycle and compost, and drive a hybrid car.
The CHRISTMAS LECTURE related to my work:
Episode 2 of 3
Dr Helen Czerski explains why the ocean is so vital to life on earth and what we need to know to be good citizens of our ocean planet.
Lecture 2 – Water World, at 17:52 https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000qpkf/royal-institution-christmas-lectures-2020-planet-earth-a-users-guide-2-water-world
My favourite CHRISTMAS LECTURE memory is:
Seeing all the amazing demos!
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
I stumbled upon oceanography when looking for a way to combine my love of the outdoors and exploring with maths and problem solving skills
What was your favourite subject at school?
Maths and environmental science
What did you want to be after you left school?
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Tricky one - I love the variety in my job, the opportunities to contribute to new discoveries, meet and chat to people, and go exploring.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
At the moment? Maybe Imagine Dragons