Royal Society Award for Geography Researcher
Story supplied by LU Press Office
Barbara Maher, Professor of Physical Geography and co-Director of the internationally-known Centre for Environmental Magnetism and Palaeomagnetism has been awarded a prestigious five-year Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award, which aims to help universities retain talented researchers.
Professor Maher's research uses the magnetic properties of natural and synthetic materials to answer important questions about climate change and the environment. Magnetic particles, present everywhere in the environment, in rocks, sediments, soils, dusts, water and in humans, act as nanoscale recording mechanisms of changes in climate and environment, and even human health.
This research has resulted in the manufacture of new magnetic materials which can solve serious water contamination problems. It is also finding answers to other environmental questions such as how windblown dust to the oceans changed greenhouse gas levels in the past, and where and to what level vehicle pollution occurs.
The new and exciting development of synthetic magnetic particles for water decontamination was a direct result of Professor Maher's climate-related research. She started working on making nanoscale magnetic materials in the lab in order to try and understand the conditions in which soils make magnetic particles. Professor Maher's work has shown that soils make more magnetite (a strongly magnetic iron oxide) when they are subjected to more wetting and drying cycles, i.e. under higher rainfall conditions. This link between soil magnetism and climate at the present day has been extended to find out how rainfall has varied in the past - by measuring the magnetic properties of fossil soils buried between layers of windblown dust in places like northeastern China, where more than 32 fossil soil layers act as rainfall recorders for the last 2 million years.
Based on the fossil soil magnetic properties, Professor Maher has identified when the monsoon failed and when it was intense, and began to predict how it will behave into the future, a key outcome for the millions of people who live in the Asian monsoon zone.
Wed 15 March 2006
Lancaster Physics graduates have produced an excellent description of the use of scientific method in the search for the Higgs Boson.
Fri 27 February 2015
Congratulations to fourth year Physics student, Jorden Senior, for winning first prize for his blog entry into The Ogden Trust’s annual ‘Blogden’ competition.
Fri 20 February 2015
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mark E Smith, recently visited CERN, to see the important research being conducted by Lancaster staff. Joined by Professor Peter Ratoff, Professor Roger Jones and Dr Graeme Burt who are leading CERN based projects, Professor Smith was given a VIP tour of CERN including the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) and the ATLAS Collaboration visitor centre.
Fri 20 February 2015
Lancaster University is enhancing its position as a global leader in cyber security research by agreeing links with Japan’s national ICT institute.
Wed 11 February 2015