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UCL Women
“Who am I – how I got there”
18th October 2013

Lidunka Vočadlo
Earth Sciences
My research focuses on the deep
interior of the Earth, and, in
particular, the inner core.
The Earth has several layers: below the very thin crust is a solid mantle made of
rock, then, about half way down, a liqui...
I apply this research to other terrestrial planetary cores, such as Mars and
Mercury, and also to the interiors of the icy...
On Earth, the processes occurring in the core maintain our magnetic field and
supply heat to the mantle which aids convect...
The only way to directly sample the Earth's deep interior is with seismic waves
generated after earthquakes. These compres...
The Inner Core from Seismology
Sun & Song 2008

•

Inner core may be layered

•

Significant anisotropy

•

Hemispherical ...
The density if the inner core is significantly greater than the average density of the
Earth and this, together with infor...
Computational Mineral Physics
• Calculate properties of iron and
iron alloys at atomistic level
• The bonding is described...
Simulation at 3,600,000 atm and 6000 K

Energy

Volume

Materials are simulated on the computer by putting atoms in a box ...
2003
However esoteric the research,
it would appear that iron in the
Earth's inner core still catches
the attention of som...
Indeed, even Hollywood has jumped on the bandwagon
Recently a major motion picture …

But……
…….sadly the producers conclude……..

They should have studied Geophysics not French Literature!!
Unfortunately a lot of th...
In my everyday life at UCL I divide my time between a number of activities……
How I got this job:
Degree in Physics and Astronomy
PGCE
PhD in Geophysics
Postdoc
Royal Society University Research Fello...
At some point in your career you might have some of these

My first child….
Now I have three - they may look cute but
Fortunately I have childcare once a week - and he causes a stir at the school gate.
In the early days I took my children everywhere - on field trips with undergraduates, and even
to a conference where the f...
It is very important for me to keep active and
have other interests - of which I have many! I
try and do something for mys...
Top Tips
•

You may think you are not good enough - this is perfectly normal

•

Always ask questions – however stupid – (...
1940s advice on how to handle women employees
1. Pick young married women. They have more sense than the unmarried.
2. Whe...
UCL Women—Lidunka Vočadlo  (with annotations)
UCL Women—Lidunka Vočadlo  (with annotations)
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UCL Women—Lidunka Vočadlo (with annotations)

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Talk given by Lidunka Vočadlo to the UCL Women group on 18 October 2013. Now with text annotations!

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UCL Women—Lidunka Vočadlo (with annotations)

  1. 1. UCL Women “Who am I – how I got there” 18th October 2013 Lidunka Vočadlo Earth Sciences
  2. 2. My research focuses on the deep interior of the Earth, and, in particular, the inner core.
  3. 3. The Earth has several layers: below the very thin crust is a solid mantle made of rock, then, about half way down, a liquid outer core made of predominantly iron and finally a solid inner core also made predominantly of iron. I spend most of my time trying to work out the properties of core forming materials (iron alloyed with nickel and some light elements) in order to understand the structure, dynamics and evolution of our planet
  4. 4. I apply this research to other terrestrial planetary cores, such as Mars and Mercury, and also to the interiors of the icy moons of the gas giants.
  5. 5. On Earth, the processes occurring in the core maintain our magnetic field and supply heat to the mantle which aids convection which in turn drives plate tectonics
  6. 6. The only way to directly sample the Earth's deep interior is with seismic waves generated after earthquakes. These compressional (P) and shear (S) waves travel throughout the Earth, including through the core. Their velocities are related to the elastic properties of the material through which they travel.
  7. 7. The Inner Core from Seismology Sun & Song 2008 • Inner core may be layered • Significant anisotropy • Hemispherical variations • What processes? • What composition? • Using these waves, seismologists tell us that the Earth's inner core the planet… Evolution of is much more complex than one might think, being layered and anisotropic. The anisotropy is such that P-waves travel faster N-S than they do across the equator.
  8. 8. The density if the inner core is significantly greater than the average density of the Earth and this, together with information from cosmochemistry and meteorites, tells us that the core is made predominantly of iron with about 10% nickel and a few percent light elements such as silicon and sulphur.
  9. 9. Computational Mineral Physics • Calculate properties of iron and iron alloys at atomistic level • The bonding is described by quantum mechanics; calculate the energetics of the system. • Match calculated properties with the actual observations from seismology • Gives composition, structure and dynamics of the Earth’s core My research is to calculate the properties of iron and I do this using quantum mechanical codes running on national supercomputers.
  10. 10. Simulation at 3,600,000 atm and 6000 K Energy Volume Materials are simulated on the computer by putting atoms in a box and seeing how they respond to changes in pressure and temperature. These calculations are not so straightforward when you consider that the Earth's core reaches 3.6 million atmospheres and around 6000K.
  11. 11. 2003 However esoteric the research, it would appear that iron in the Earth's inner core still catches the attention of some journals. 2013
  12. 12. Indeed, even Hollywood has jumped on the bandwagon Recently a major motion picture … But……
  13. 13. …….sadly the producers conclude…….. They should have studied Geophysics not French Literature!! Unfortunately a lot of that film is scientifically inaccurate!
  14. 14. In my everyday life at UCL I divide my time between a number of activities……
  15. 15. How I got this job: Degree in Physics and Astronomy PGCE PhD in Geophysics Postdoc Royal Society University Research Fellowship (~ 5th Fellowship attempt over 2 years – very important to nurture good referees) Now: Professor of Mineral Physics at UCL First ever female professor in Earth Sciences at UCL Normally run <5 PhD students and postdocs + others The turning point for my career was the Royal Society URF - it secured my job.
  16. 16. At some point in your career you might have some of these My first child….
  17. 17. Now I have three - they may look cute but
  18. 18. Fortunately I have childcare once a week - and he causes a stir at the school gate.
  19. 19. In the early days I took my children everywhere - on field trips with undergraduates, and even to a conference where the father chaired the session holding the baby while I was speaking !
  20. 20. It is very important for me to keep active and have other interests - of which I have many! I try and do something for myself every day, if only for 10 minutes. And, although most of my house is a bit of a tip, I have a place that is mine that I can retreat to.
  21. 21. Top Tips • You may think you are not good enough - this is perfectly normal • Always ask questions – however stupid – (but maybe not in public?) • Find yourself a mentor with whom you feel totally comfortable • Get yourself out there – meet people, play pool, stay up late etc. • Show kindness and respect to students and staff • Take every opportunity – if you are anxious about it, then definitely do it • Get as much childcare and/or domestic help as you can afford • Spend 15 minutes a day tidying/organising one area/thing • Insist on a weekly “date night” with husband/partner • Have other interests, exercise and switch off when you can • There is no such thing as perfect balance – do what you can and don’t worry
  22. 22. 1940s advice on how to handle women employees 1. Pick young married women. They have more sense than the unmarried. 2. When you do have to use older women, get ones who have worked outside the home. 3. Retain a physician and give each girl a special physical examination – this reveals whether they have any female weaknesses that would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job. 4. Give them a definite daylong schedule of duties so that they will keep busy without bothering the management for instructions every few minutes. They lack initiative in finding work themselves. 5. Give them an adequate number of rest periods. You have to make some allowances for feminine psychology. They need to keep their hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash their hands several times a day. 6. They are very sensitive so be tactful when issuing instructions. 7. Get enough size variety in uniforms so that each girl can have a proper fit. This point cannot be stressed too much in keeping women happy.

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