2003-present Curator of Minerals, Natural History Museum
2000-2002 Assistant Mineralogical Researcher & Curator, Oxford University Museum
2001 Internship, Denbury Resources Inc (Oil). Plano, Dallas, Texas, USA
1999-2000 Volunteer Mineralogical Researcher & Curator, Oxford University Museum
Ongoing University of Glasgow, Chemistry Dept. & Natural History Museum
Ph.D “Crystal Chemistry of Hydrated Copper Aluminium Arsenates”
2002 Master of Earth Sciences - MEarth Sci, (MA), University of Oxford (1st Class)
2001 BSc (Earth Sciences), University of Oxford (1st Class)
My area of research is the classification of minerals that have never been found before on earth (called new species) – I am particularly interested in the classification of these new species and very rare ones from within the UK to help build and document our knowledge of the UK's 'geodiversity'. I am particularly interested in 'secondary' mineral species with an unusual chemical signature and I go searching for these on specifically organised field trips.
I also have an interest in the development of utilising modern equipment in novel ways to testing their limits with regards to speeding up the identification process.
With various collaborators I am interested in the scale-distribution of mineralogical 'geodiversity', how this is related to technological advancement and the possibility of discovering theoretical minerals yet to be found on earth as natural phases.
In my role as Curator of Minerals my main responsibility is to manage and care for the 180'000 mineral and gemstone specimens within the collections. This involves a variety of duties, including conserving fragile material, documenting and recording new parts of the collection, acquiring new material, planning fieldwork, researching a new mineral or group of minerals, investigating the history of a sample, talking to the media or public about my work, working with other institutions on collaborative projects, organising and undertaking loans, enquiries and donations of material, databasing the collection, advising on exhibitions or unusual mineralogical items and often physically moving mineral specimens around the museum. All these duties help keep me on my toes!
I am currently involved in two large projects; a museum based project to fully document the provenance and validity of all the type specimens held within the mineral collections at the NHM and the UK, and another project with UK-based collaborators to systematically review the mineralogy of a number of very rare and unusual sites of mineralogical interest in Somerset – It is hoped that both projects will culminate in published books.
Epifanio Vaccarro - Short term post and Volunteer
John Crocker – Volunteer & Scientific Associate
Austin Woodbridge – Volunteer & Scientific Associate
Hazel Gibson – Volunteer
A major part of my role as Curator of minerals is to tell the fascinating story of rocks and minerals and explain to many different people from all backgrounds how important they are for our daily lives. It is easy to forget that most of the objects we have in our lifestyles have all been made possible through the study and understanding of rocks, geology, metals, chemistry and ultimately minerals. I have given many talks to amateur geological and mineralogical societies around the UK, International invited talks at conferences and informal talks with colleagues to school and University classes. I have been involved in a number of live TV, Radio and Internet broadcasts both to national and interanational news agencies, particularly regarding the discovery of new mineral phases – notably the 'Kryptonite' discovery during 2007.
I regularly attend and demonstrate and "roadshow events" particularly the family oriented Lyme Regis Fossil Festival event and give a number of different talks, tours and outreach events within the museum
Since starting at the museum, I have been interested in supporting geological fieldwork and actively maintaining the collections through organised field collecting trips. I have undertaken and planned many trips in my own time as well as those on behalf of the museum. I hope to regularly organise summer expeditions to learn about the geology of a region and in some cases collect materials for future safe keeping and study at the museum
Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan 2007