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Tamsin Mather


I studied Natural Sciences specialising in Chemistry at the University of Cambridge as an undergraduate. I then had a couple of years out of science but missed it! I decided I wanted to be in an area of science where I could apply my chemistry to wider-scale, or even planetary-scale, environmental questions so I applied for PhDs in Earth Sciences departments. I initially thought that I would work in the area of ocean chemistry given my love of the sea, but for the Cambridge application I had to put a second choice project down and and saw one on the atmospheric chemistry of volcanic plumes that looked really interesting. I got a PhD offer – and the volcano bug – and in the end that’s what I ended up doing. Since then my research interests have broadened out a lot to include working to understand volcanoes as natural hazards and resources, as well as their environmental effects on all sorts of scales of time and space.

In 2018 I was lucky enough to win the Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award and Lecture and I used the award to collaborate with Oxford Sparks to produce the ‘Your Science Out There’ site, presenting videos showcasing some of the amazing research done by Oxford PhD students with accompanying teaching/learning resources for students of all ages. 2024 sees the publications of my debut book ADVENTURES IN VOLCANOLAND in the UK and US – a mix of travelogue, science, history of scientific thinking and places and personal memoir looking into the deep past and far future of our planet’s evolution.

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