Fieldwork Diaries: people, places and Eleni Wood and Stacy Phillips

What happens when two BUFI students who are passionate about science communication, join forces to come up with a way of sharing their stories? Well, they create a podcast of course!

Eleni Wood & Stacy Phillips are geology PhD Researchers at The Open University who are investigating orogenic processes in Bhutan, Eastern Himalaya. As BUFI students funded by CASE partnerships with the BGS, they work with Dr Nick Roberts at NIGL and use isotopic tracers and geochronological techniques to understand what happens in the core of mountain belts.
Having collected some amazing stories of their own from their fieldwork adventures, they decided there needed to be a platform for people to be able to share their incredible tales and experiences from fieldwork. Thus, they created the Fieldwork Diaries podcast

What is Fieldwork Diaries?

Fieldwork is an integral part to answering our big questions about how our little blue planet works.Researchers travel far and wide, gathering data that helps us better understand the Earth’s processes. But, fieldwork is also all about the places you go, the people you meet and the unexpected things you learn along the way. In this podcast you’ll get to hear all the weird and wonderful stories of fieldwork from the people who have been there and done it. You’ll find out about the highs, the lows, and the science that has come out of their adventures.

In our first 8 episodes we have travelled far and wide, just check out our map! We’ve travelled from Nicaragua to the Himalaya, from Indonesia to Uganda, even from Antarctica to Mars! We’ve heard about everything from camping next to active volcanoes and how to fix your field equipment in ingenious ways, to getting up close and personal with animals such as elephants, penguins, and blue sheep. We’ve interviewed a range of brilliant researchers investigating a variety of questions, including how the Himalayan mountains were built, how can we better understand volcanic hazards, and how can we use the information we know about the Earth to understand how glaciers on Mars work.
As well as keeping you entertained, we hope that these stories inspire you to carry out some fieldwork of your own! And we are here to help you along the way, by providing you with the resources you need to plan your next expedition. Check out our Links page for more information.

Who are Fieldwork Diaries?

Fieldwork Diaries is the brainchild of Eleni Wood, a geologist and PhD researcher at The Open University. She’s interested in all things mountainous, and is currently working on rocks from the Himalayas, trying to figure out how deep they got buried, what happened to them down there, and how they’ve made their way back to the surface. Eleni has a passion for fieldwork that has taken her all over the world. Her first taste of fieldwork was helping organise an expedition to Greenland in 2013 for an undergraduate project. She’s been there, done that, and made the video, and it’s her enthusiasm to pass on this knowledge and learn about other people’s travels that led to the creation of this podcast, which she hosts, produces and edits.
Eleni’s creative assistant in this venture is Stacy Phillips, also a rock-loving PhD student at The Open University. If it’s a rock that used to be molten, Stacy wants to know about it. Her research involves looking at granite (formerly molten rocks) and investigating how they melted in the first place, and what effect this had on how the Himalayan mountains were built. Her geological career has taken her from Scotland, to California, to Canada and her love of an epic vista has turned her into a bit of an amateur photographer. She’s the lady behind the lens for all the in-house podcast photos, and is the website and social media guru.
Our podcast home is at, where you’ll find all of our episodes, biographies of the people we’ve interviewed, and a stunning gallery of fieldwork photos from our researchers. You can also find our episodes on iTunes, Stitcher, and many other podcast sites.  Subscribe to us on the website, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with our latest episodes and news.
And if you’ve got a story you’d like to tell then please do get in touch via our website contact page or through Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!
The BGS University Funding Initiative (BUFI) directly funds university collaboration. The aim is to encourage and fund science primarily at the PhD level and at present there are around 80 PhD students on our books who are based at about 35 UK universities and research institutes.