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Job Title: Seismologist

What are your qualifications?

BSc (Hons) Geophysics
PhD: Modelling shallow earthquakes using teleseismic data

What does a seismologist do?

All sorts! My scientific duties include carrying out research on UK earthquakes (on source characteristics and seismic wave propagation) and seismic hazard assessment work (primarily for engineers). I am also developing mechanisms to enhance knowledge exchange between seismologists and people working in disaster risk reduction via a NERC-funded knowledge exchange fellowship.

Apart from formal qualifications, what other skills or characteristics do you need?

Creativity and the ability to think across discipline boundaries.

What sort of organisation do you work for?

Public sector/government.

Do you travel within the UK or overseas very much?

A large part of my role is about understanding how scientific information is applied in disaster risk reduction activities in earthquake prone regions, so I travel overseas a fair amount. I also do a lot of travelling in the UK to visit people with whom I'm collaborating. I'm also a member of the Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation Team, so I sometimes go out to regions after a damaging earthquake.

Do you work a regular length day/week or are shifts involved?

It's a regular day/week unless there's a major earthquake, either in the UK or overseas.

What do you enjoy about your job?

No two days are the same and I get to work with some great people in a wide range of fields.

What advice or extra information do you wish you'd had before starting this career?

That there are many different types of scientist. When I first started, I had a very traditional idea of what a scientist was, and I didn't think it was possible to combine my interests in people with my scientific skills. As it turns out, it absolutely is!

What position would you like to hold in 5 years time?

I'd like to be developing and building on the knowledge exchange work I'm doing now. Supervising students is part of my role that I particularly enjoy, so I'd like to be doing more of that too.

Background image: Seismogram of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake & Tsunami, Credit: Z22, Wikimedia