|Stephanie likes to be patriotic!|
In order to do this Stephanie has to design an experiment from scratch and follow it all the way through to its conclusion. She does everything from designing and helping to construct the massive experiment equipment called constant volume cells, to collecting and interpreting the data. This is no easy task; Stephanie’s last experiment ran for 200 days. The longest experiment of this kind has been going for 15 YEARS! But Stephanie really likes the control that it gives her over her experiments “It means that if anything leaks, it’s down to me, but also I think of the question – what do I want to find out, and design accordingly to find the answer” she told me. This means Stephanie is always testing her ideas – recently she had to stop using the traditional stainless steel canisters, because using heat was causing them to expand and affect her experiments. She also really likes the transparent nature of working at the British Geological Survey, in that whatever she finds out, she has a responsibility to tell people about it – her work is unbiased.
|What working in the lab is like..|
Stephanie takes communicating her work very seriously. She goes to communication conferences and is interested in running tours around her lab, but also she told me about a brilliant science demo that she uses to talk about Carbon Capture and Storage – Angel Cake Storage! By ‘drilling’ a straw down through the layers of angel cake, Stephanie ‘injects’ coloured fluids into the cake, which then spread through that layer until they reach the icing. The cake is porous – like the soft rocks that the CO2 would be stored in, but the icing is impermeable – like the cap-rocks. As such, you can demonstrate how the carbon would not go into other layers. Stephanie understands the importance of talking with young people as she remembers her aunt giving her a rock and mineral collection when she was 6 that sparked her interest in Earth Sciences and the environment.
To see Stephanie in action discussing her favourite science, don’t miss her speaking at PubHD on Wed 16th July.