• Photo by Nicolas J Leclercq on Unsplash
  • Photo by Nicolas Tissot on Unsplash
  • Photo by NASA on Unsplash
  • Photo by USGS on Unsplash

The train from PhD to PostDoc #2

In this new series, we are asking postdocs who have recently received their PhDs on the whens and hows
of the process.

Our interviewee for today's blog is Dr. Hannah Rogers, a postdoc at ISTerre, Universite Grenoble Alpes. She did her PhD at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She works on applying mathematical methods to the inversion process that produces core surface flow models from satellite magnetic field change (secular variation) data. Currently she is a member of the GRACEFUL ERC grant, looking at incorporating weighted averages of satellite data to improve stochastic flow models. One day she hopes to use the secular variation to constrain the regional dynamics happening under the seismic anomalies observed at the base of the mantle.

When is the right time to start looking for a postdoc?

This is a very difficult question as I don’t think that there is a ‘right’ time. Unfortunately, there is an element of luck and good timing depending on who gets funding when. Personally, I started thinking about postdocs and future jobs about 7 months before my thesis submission because I wanted to contact people who I had never met (Covid-19 limited conference interactions) and I would have struggled to fund a prolonged career gap. I had multiple rejections and was applying to jobs outside of academia as well. Be flexible and consider what your priorities are: is it staying in the country you live or staying in academia or staying within your direct discipline? It is okay to apply for multiple positions and decide which way you rank them later.

Assuming you want to start right after, how to obtain a postdoc position?

Depending on your situation, it is very difficult to start ‘straight after’ the PhD. When I moved country to start my postdoc, visa applications and paperwork coincided with the French holiday period, meaning that I had to delay my ideal start date. Some friends (particularly those staying at the same institution) were able to start immediately with zero problems! However, I’d recommend that you schedule some time to rest for yourself as well. You will have just submitted (probably) the biggest piece of writing from (probably) one of the most stressful periods of your life! You deserve to give your brain some rest before diving into the next chapter! 

What changes come between PhD and postdoc?

Quite a lot changed for me between my PhD and postdoc – new country, new day-to-day language, new department, new coding language, new satellite dataset, new mathematical process…. However, my colleagues are amazing and I feel excited by tackling new problems that I hadn’t seen during my PhD. I feel like I’m juggling a lot more projects as I try to finish papers from my PhD alongside working on my current job and also having to consider what comes next as well. At the end of the day though, I’m still using satellite data to study an interesting inversion process to try and find out more about the Earth’s outer core motion. Personally, the jump to a postdoc has been really positive and I’ve loved it. This is despite the beginning being overwhelming and at moments you question why you do a job that seems more difficult than working outside of academia.

Let us know your questions in the comments you want answers to in the next blog of the series!

A magnetic journey: from core to space

IAGA has recently decided to fund an outreach project "A magnetic journey: from core to space" which would be led by IAGA scientist Dr. Katia Pinheiro. This project would be in the form of a documentary that connects all the different divisions of the association along with short movies focussing on early career researchers (ECR).

The objective is to transmit scientific knowledge to the general public about the Earth's magnetic field. The story will unfold the various sources of the geomagnetic field, how they change over time and how these affect us all. In addition, the academic life in this field will also be showcased. The ECR short movies will feature them talking about their career and their professional life routine.  

The project would prove to be helpful in building scientific connections across the divisions and attract more students to take up a career in magnetism of the earth and other planetary bodies. The shooting starts during the 6th IAGA Summer School in Niemegk from 7th to 11th July 2023 which would be followed by the IUGG General Assembly

The movies would be free for viewing and distributing (CC-BY license) on our social media channels by the end of the year, so keep a look out! For more such outreach projects, check out our YouTube channel or the 'Outreach Projects' blog series.

If you are interested in joining or volunteering for the cast or the crew, contact us!

The train from PhD to PostDoc #1

In this new series, we are asking postdocs who have recently received their PhDs on the whens and hows of the process.

Our interviewee for today's blog is Dr. Shivangi Sharan, a postdoc at Imperial College London, UK. She did her PhD from the Laboratory of Planetology and Geosciences in Nantes, France. She works on the magnetic fields of planetary bodies. In her current position, she is working with the JUICE mission J-MAG instrument team.

When is the right time to start looking for a postdoc?

I don't think there's a right time. It all depends on when you want to do it. Many people prefer to take a break between their PhD and postdoc while some want to start it right after. You also need to see if you want to continue in academics or if you would like to shift to industry. This usually you understand by the last year of your PhD.

Assuming you want to start right after, how to obtain a postdoc position?

You can start networking from whenever but mostly, a few months before your PhD ends would be a good time to start looking and applying for positions and fellowships. Same goes if you want to switch to industry. On the other hand, keep a look out for potential positions even if their advertised start date is earlier. Most positions depend on the candidate and are flexible with the joining date. What is important is for you to be interested in the topic. Your interview will mostly be about the challenges you have tackled in your PhD and if you seem keen enough for these next challenges in your postdoc.

What changes come between PhD and postdoc?

PhD is all about learning the skill you will use later on. And postdoc is all about applying the skill you learnt. It also depends a lot on your supervisor and institute. Some supervisors take a lot of involvement in your work while others let you work independently. In both cases, regular meetings about your objectives and goals are important so you know you are headed in the direction of the planned course of action. Discussing your non-academic life is equally important in order to ensure there is no stress. Communication is key in almost all aspects of life!

Let us know your questions in the comments you want answers to in the next blog of the series!

IUGG 2023 Excursions

The 28th General Assembly of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) is taking place from 11th to 20th July in Berlin, Germany. All 8 associations under the union have individual and joint scientific and outreach sessions. However, apart from science discussions, you can also enjoy informal discussions. There are 11 field trip options that will be organised by IUGG. You can register for them along with your conference registration or add it later.

There are 5 full day trips to Freiberg (12th July), Goslar (12th July), Potsdam (13th July), Bad Muskau (18th July) and Morsleben (19th July).

There are half day tours available as well. This includes 2 Berlin city tours on 13th and 14th July and 2 Berlin historical centre tours on 17th and 18th July. There are two additional tours to Friedrichshagen (12th July) and Ökowerk Teufelssee (13th July).

All information about the places and the tours can be found here.

If you want to promote any upcoming sessions or events at IUGG 2023 on our channels, please get in touch with the IAGA social media team.

Spring MIST 2023

The highly anticipated Spring MIST 2023 meeting took place at the University of Birmingham from 3-5 April 2023.

The Magnetosphere, Ionosphere, and Solar-Terrestrial (MIST) community’s biennial “Spring MIST” had been eagerly anticipated this year since, due to the pandemic, the last fully in-person conference was in 2018. This year's event, as ever, brought together students, early career scientists and experts across the MIST fields of science, a truly enriching experience for all attendees.

Over the course of the three-day conference, a total of 46 oral presentations were given, shedding light on all aspects of MIST science. The event saw a diverse mix of presentations from both established leaders in the field and those giving the first talks of their careers, creating an environment of knowledge exchange and growth. Additionally, 40 posters were presented, allowing for in-depth discussions and networking opportunities among the participants. The conference banquet was held at the stunning Birmingham Botanical Gardens, providing a perfect setting for attendees to unwind and connect with their peers. Surrounded by lush greenery and beautiful glasshouses, the banquet was a memorable highlight of the event.

The conference was an incredible success, with participants lauding the extremely high quality of presentations. The event not only facilitated the sharing of cutting-edge research but also fostered a sense of community and collaboration. After the long hiatus due to the pandemic, this year's Spring MIST gathering left everyone feeling reinvigorated and inspired.

With the success of Spring MIST 2023, the MIST community is already looking forward to the next meeting with great anticipation, at the University of Leicester in 2025.

by Sean Elvidge (associate professor in the University of Birmingham).

IAGA Workshop

The 19th IAGA Workshop on Geomagnetic Observatory Instruments, Data Acquisition and Processing will take place between 22nd and 26th May in Hungary. It will take place in two parts-

May 22nd - May 23rd 2023: Instrumentation and Observation

This will include measurement and calibration sessions and will be held at the Tihany Geophysical Observatory.

May 24th - May 26th 2023: New measurement techniques and results

This includes new techniques for measurements, improved instrumentation and results as well as data processing. The conference will take place at the Institute of Earth Physics and Space Science, Sopron.

All transportation between the two events will be covered. Before the workshop at Tihany, a short summer school for young technicians and scientists will take place between May 21st and 23rd. For more information on any of the events, please visit the official website here.

Magnetics Information Consortium (MagIC) Workshop

The Magnetic Information Consortium (MagIC) is a data repository designed to promote information technology infrastructures for the international paleomagnetic, geomagnetic and rock magnetic community. This database is a powerful tool which facilitates magnetic data analysis and sharing. The MagIC Workshop happened from February 28th to March 2nd in La Jolla, CA, and brought together around 60 participants from all over the world to discuss the magnetic field evolution, environmental changes, and paleogeography. The workshop included two days of talks, poster presentations and discussions, and a third day of group working sessions to introduce the uploading and downloading data from the MagIC database and learning how to make contributions from paleomagnetic measurements.

The workshop started with invited speakers who covered a wide range of topics from planetary processes to surface environments, such as the discoveries on the lunar paleomagnetic records, the influence of mantle dynamics on the generation of Earth’s magnetic field, and magnetic records that archive climate and environmental changes. On the second day, there was an introduction on the use of MagIC as a resource for the community, followed by talks focused on paleogeography, in which topics such as constructing Apparent Polar Wonder Paths from Virtual Geographic Poles were presented. The first two days were wrapped up with posters presentations, of which I particularly enjoyed the most. As the workshop was small, it was possible to interact with many different researchers and to gain feedback on my work from renowned people in the field. I was also very impressed on the high-level of the discussions that followed each talk.

The last day of workshop offered a great opportunity to get immersed in the MagIC repository, learn how to upload your own data and how to perform data analysis using PmagGui and PmagPy. Besides all the learning and science exchange, there was a lot of space for networking and interacting with other young and senior scientists during the early-career lunches, coffee break hours and group working sessions. The workshop exceeded my expectations and I’m looking forward to participating on the next edition!

Natália Gauer Pasqualon is a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, working with many different aspects of hotspot volcanoes. One of her projects involves the acquisition of paleomagnetic data and 40Ar/39Ar ages for Trindade Island, in the South Atlantic Ocean. The findings of her work may contribute to the understanding of the geomagnetic field during the past 3 million years and reveal important aspects of the South Atlantic Magnetic Anomaly.