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Anna Brookfield

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Volcanologist

What A-Levels did you take?

Biology, Geography and Geology…… but a long time ago! I worked for seven years after graduating and then came back to university to do my PhD.

     Tell us about yourself...

Describe yourself in three words

Enthusiastic, forgetful, determined.

What’s the best thing you’ve ever done in your career?

Field trips are always amazing and I’ve been lucky enough to visit Iceland, Oman, Indonesia, Italy and a Greek island, all in the name of geology! Day-to-day, the best feeling is being faced with something I don’t understand or know how to do and then learning how to do it.

Anna Brookfield on fieldwork

What or who inspired you to follow your career?

Rocks! Also my A-level geology teacher. I always loved being outdoors and walking up hills so became naturally interested in geology and the environment. There is also an amazing documentary called “Into the inferno” about volcanoes and the people who live with them which really made me want to learn more.

If you weren’t doing this job, what would you choose instead?                                  

Either a marine biologist or a police officer.

What’s your favourite food?

Tie between beans on toast or chips, mushy peas and gravy.

What is the most fun thing you’ve done?                 

Going on any kind of rollercoaster or sliding down long flights of stairs in a sleeping bag (stairs must be carpeted to avoid injury).                                                                                                               

Best thing about where you grew up?

Sheffield is very hilly so you get great views across the city. Also we do really good chips.            

Best and worst thing about school?

The best thing was making some great friends and learning about geology. The worst thing was that I was really, really shy and this held me back a bit.

Describe your perfect weekend in 5 words?

Hill-walking, pub, horror film.

Which ‘people like me’ personality type did you come out with?

A mixture of explorer, investigator and quality controller.

What do you do when the going gets tough?

Slightly tough: make a cup of tea. Medium tough: work harder and try to overcome any obstacles. Really tough: spend time with my friends, partner or parents who will give me a sense of perspective and a hug.

What makes you laugh?

My friends, stupid cat videos, my own lack of common sense at times.

What do you want to do after your PhD?

I want to keep visiting and researching volcanoes and find out what causes big changes in their eruption style. I would absolutely love to spend some time working in a volcano observatory and really want to see some Japanese volcanoes!

Tuesday 11th Feb 2020, 09.00am

Using your science to understand volcanic eruptions

Volcanoes are present across the Earth, from the barren wastes of Antarctica to densely populated regions in Europe, Asia and the Americas, and are both spectacular and deadly. But what makes a volcano erupt, and how deadly might that eruption be? By creating a mini-...
Using your science to understand volcanic eruptions