Research seminars

Both external and internal speakers are invited to the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment to present the latest results of their research. Everyone is invited, so please come along!

Surveillance Anxiety in the Smart City: Learning from Music Festivals - Dr Jeremy Crampton, Associate Editor, Dialogues in Human Geography and Professor of Urban Data Analysis, Newcastle University, UK

  • 20 February 2019, 1.00pm-2.00pm, F75a Bennett Building (Geography)

Music festivals have often been places of freedom where attendees have been able to escape the governance of everyday social norms and assert a desired self. However, festivals have recently had to grapple with a number of high-profile incidents including deaths, drug confiscations, pick-pockets and a mass shooting. As a result, they have rapidly introduced new smart security measures into formerly less-policed spaces. Given the rapidity of these measures, I ask if festivals can provide important lessons about surveillance in the smart city. I will present the results of a preliminary survey of festival-goers which examines attitudes around surveillance anxiety. Although a significant proportion of respondents reported they experience surveillance anxiety, men, women and non-binary people differed markedly in their attitudes to surveillance. These findings indicate we need to think more carefully about the effects of surveillance in the smart city.

From planting soft Pakistan to how articulated experience of non-human life animate development - Dr Daanish Mustafa, Reader in Politics and Environment, Department of Geography, King’s College London

  • 27 February 2019, 1.00pm-2.00pm, F75a Bennett Building (Geography)

Do plants have anything to tell us about the cultural politics of nation building and aspirational urbanism in the global South? In Pakistan plants are mobilised in very politically charged ways to enact elite fantasies of modern urbanism. That aspirational urbanism is not only complicit in the production of national and global scales, but also makes for, at times a fatally dystopian urban experience for the urban poor. A set of running themes of militarism, soft image of Pakistan to neo-liberal development converge upon exotic plants and especially the date palm. We have leveraged the insights of this completed research project to develop a proposal to investigate how cultural memory and articulated experience of the non-human life animates development practice in the violence prone context of Pakistan. The project will seek out pathways for a foundational reengagement of cultural memory and experience with peacemaking and sustainable development practice. I hope to get some critical feedback on the research conducted, and the proposal ideas in my presentation.

Fly-ash particles as indicators of environmental change - Professor Neil Rose, University College London

  • 28 February 2019, 1.00pm-2.00pm, TA2 (G72) Bennett Building (Geology)

Fly-ash is the particulate by-product of fossil-fuel combustion and is emitted with flue-gases into the atmosphere. The scale of emissions is vast and the distinctive morphology of these particles means that they are unambiguous indicators of contamination from these sources. This talk will describe the use of these particles as indicators of fossil-fuel derived contamination, both spatially and temporally and how they have been employed in the acid rain debate, as proxies for other pollutants and more recently as a potential marker for the Anthropocene.

Earth Observation for Good (#EO4Good)? - Dr Doreen Boyd, University of Nottingham

  • 6 March 2019, 1.00pm-2.00pm, F75a Bennett Building (Geography)

In 2015, member countries of the United Nations adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the Sustainable Development Summit in New York. These global goals have 169 targets and 232 indicators that are based on the three pillars of sustainable development: economic, social, and environmental. Substantial challenges remain in obtaining data of the required quality to address these goals, especially in developing countries, given the often limited resources available. This seminar will showcase a number of on-going projects that demonstrate the important contribution that EO makes towards populating a wide diversity of the SDG indicators. A plethora of EO data types (from satellite to “drones”), methodologies (e.g., citizen science to Artificial Intelligence) and engagement will be discussed. Come along and find out how the wetlands of Mexico, forests of Borneo, modern slaves of south Asia have benefited from EO and the unexpected discoveries made along the way. As EO technology evolves and the data become more open, #EO4Good is a term I will advocate.

Pyrite as ore and gangue in hydrothermal systems: potential and pitfalls - Dr Sarah Gleeson, (GFZ Helmholtz Centre Potsdam and Freie Universität, Berlin) MIN SOC

  • 7 March 2019, 1.00pm-2.00pm, TA2 (G72) Bennett Building (Geology)

Pyrite is the most common sulphide mineral in the Earth’s crust, and is found in igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. Pyrite is also a common gangue mineral in hydrothermal ore deposits formed in sedimentary basins, and in one type of Au deposit, the Carlin type deposits (Nevada), arsenian pyrite is the primary ore mineral. In order to assess how Au is sequestered from hydrothermal fluids into As-rich pyrite, experiments have been conducted at conditions similar to those in which Carlin type Au deposits form. The sequestration of gold into pyrite appears to be dependent on the concentration of As in the fluid; at high As concentrations, Au is strongly partitioned into pyrite. This suggests that simple partitioning (and the underlying process of adsorption) is the major depositional process in forming these giant deposits.

In sediment-hosted Zn deposits, pyrite is a major pre-, syn- and post-ore phase, and may often be the most abundant sulphide mineral present. As such, differentiating between background and ore-stage pyrite is critical for understanding the footprint of the deposit. For example, pyrite enrichment has previously been considered to be a distal expression of exhalative hydrothermal systems, and used as an exploration vector to mineralization. More recently, however, the coupling careful petrography with in situ techniques (LA-ICP-MS and SIMS) has revealed a more nuanced story. In some of the better-preserved deposits, it is clear that hydrothermal mineralization post-dates early diagenesis and pre-ore pyrite formation. As such, the distribution of hydrothermal pyrite around deposits (‘pyrite halo’) formed in the sub-surface is more restricted than previously thought. Moreover, trace element maps of hydrothermal pyrite in large ore deposit are complex and highlight the challenge we face in scaling up micro-analytical data to 3d volumes of crustal rocks as represented by economic ore deposits.

Title TBC - Dr Karen Salt, University of Nottingham

  • 13 March 2019, 1.00pm-2.00pm, F75a Bennett Building (Geography)

Is the diversification of life constrained or expansionist over geological timescales? - Professor Richard Butler, University of Birmingham

  • 14 March 2019, 1.00pm-2.00pm, TA2 (G72) Bennett Building (Geology)

Title TBC - Dr Emma Jackson, Goldsmiths, University of London

  • 20 March 2019, 1.00pm-2.00pm, F75a Bennett Building (Geography)

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