There is so much to discover about our planet
As Director of the Earth and Sustainability Science Research Centre at the University of New South Wales in Sydney (UNSW), I am working from the poles to the tropics on the causes and impacts of environmental change. In this role I believe scientists have a responsibility to provide leadership in communicating the value of science for understanding the Earth; not just the headline discoveries, but how science can help policy and decision makers navigate an increasingly uncertain world.
‘If we teach only the findings and products of science—no matter how useful and inspiring they may be—without communicating its critical method, how can the average person possibly distinguish science from pseudoscience?’
CARL SAGAN (1934-1996)
In a time of 'Fake News', showing the value of science is more critical than ever. Using the latest satellite technology, you can join my Intrepid Science team in the remote field, reporting discoveries when they happen, where they happen. You can follow Intrepid Science using a range of social media, including Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. I also regularly contribute to The Conversation.
I do hope you can join us.
I am privileged to be the Director of the Earth and Sustainability Science Research Centre, and the Chronos 14Carbon-Cycle Facility, both at UNSW. I also lead the Earth's Past Future Project, an international research program dedicated to exploiting Nature's records of the past to reduce the uncertainties surrounding future change. Drilling ice cores, excavating ancient trees, and coring 'fossil' corals, my research spans the poles to the tropics. Working with some extraordinarily talented people, I also co-lead the Antarctic Science and Ancient Kauri projects.
The new David Livingstone
The Saturday Times (UK)
I have published more than 210 research papers in leading journals (including 10 in Nature and Science), generating a h-index of 60 on Google Scholar (53 on Scopus and 60 on ResearchGate). These outputs put me on the 2018 Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher list, representing the 1% most cited scientists in the world. In the last six years I have led Category 1 research projects worth more than $5.5 million (with a career total of $61 million). If you would like to learn more about my work, further details can be found on ResearchGate, Loop and Google Scholar. My ORCID number is 0000-0001-6733-0993.
Working in world-class institutions, I have developed a number of virtual fieldtrips with friends and colleagues at the Universities of New South Wales and Exeter. Feel free to use any of these below for your own teaching (or if you just fancy exploring somewhere new!). If you have any problems with the links, please let me know.
The Antarctic remains one of the last great unexplored regions on Earth. In spite of a century of discovery, the southern continent and vast surrounding ocean remain a unique place to learn about how our planet works. Iced In (Citadel, North America) and Shackled (Penguin Random House, Oceania) tells the story of the 2013-2014 Australasian Antarctic Expedition, a privately-funded expedition that aimed to extend over a hundred years of scientific endeavour in the region and communicate the value of science and exploration of this remote and pristine environment. Here I describe the latest scientific thinking from the frozen continent and our entrapment by a major breakout of decade-old sea ice during the Christmas period. We were extremely fortunate to have an amazing team of people on board. Chronicling our discoveries and experiences, I revisit famed polar explorer Ernest Shackleton's harrowing Antarctic expedition almost a century before when his ship, the Endurance, was trapped and ultimately lost to the ice, forcing his team to fight for survival on a vast and treacherous icescape for two years.
During the height of the Heroic Age of Exploration, the limits of our planet were pushed all the way to the South Pole and the door to Antarctica flung wide open. A frozen continent shaped by climatic extremes and inhabited by wildlife and vegetation unknown to science was being uncovered. Tales of endurance, self-sacrifice and technological innovation during 1912 laid the foundations for modern scientific exploration and inspired future generations. To celebrate the centenary of this groundbreaking work, 1912: The Year the World Discovered Antarctica revisits the exploits of these different expeditions. Looking beyond the personalities and drawing on my own polar experience, I show how their discoveries marked the beginning of the end for traditional exploration. Making use of original and unpublished archival material and weaving in the latest scientific findings, I reveal why 1912 marked the dawn of a new age in understanding of the natural world, and show how we might reawaken the public's passion for discovery and exploration.
1912 was runner-up for 2013 The Bragg Prize Prize. Many thanks to the Skelton family estate and the University of Cambridge (Scott Polar Research Institute), for granting permission to use additional material in 1912.
Imagine a world of wildly escalating temperatures, apocalyptic flooding, devastating storms and catastrophic sea level rise. This might sound like a prediction for the future or the storyline of a new Hollywood blockbuster but it's something quite different: it's our past.
In a day and age when where we re bombarded with worrying forecasts for future climate, it seems hard to believe that such things could come to pass. Yet almost everywhere we turn, the landscape is screaming out that the world is a capricious place. The problem is if we don't tune in, the message is lost. We need to decipher the past and learn from it.
In Ice, Mud and Blood, I explore the changing climate and the risks facing us today as we continue to drive our planet to new extremes.
In May 2009, Ice, Mud and Blood was longlisted for the Royal Society Prize for Science Books.
What is the Turin Shroud? When were the Pyramids built? Where are the branches on the human family tree? Why did the dinosaurs die out? How did the Earth take shape?
With questions like these, I show time is of the essence. Understanding how we pinpoint the past is crucial to putting the present in perspective and planning for the future.
In eleven chapters, each focusing on a well-known dating controversy (from the existence of King Arthur to the last Ice Age), I reveal the leg work behind the headlines. Bones, Rocks and Stars explains how written records, carbon, pollen, tree rings, constellations, and DNA sequencing can help archaeologists, paleontologists and geologists to 'tell the time'.
Crossing the Line Productions and Intrepid Science