PhD students goes from Madagascar to FameLab

PhD student Catherine Wheller, from the School of Earth Sciences, presented her research in a fun and fast format during the 2016 FameLab semi-finals in Melbourne.

Presented by the British Council and the Times Cheltenham Science Festival, FameLab is an international science communication competition that aims to find the most charismatic up-and-coming scientists from around the world. The Melbourne leg of the semi-finals was held at the Melbourne Museum on Wednesday 23 March.

Catherine's research has seen her travel to Madagascar to conduct field research and explore how minerals grow beneath the earth's surface. She developed a new model to assess how minerals behave under changing pressure and temperature, and was able to study rocks that had formed deep in the ground in Southern Madagascar during the final formation of super continent Gondwana.

During FameLab, Catherine used a Masterchef analogy to make this research accessible and entertaining for the audience and her competitors, helped along by coaching from science communicators and comedians. Catherine had high praise for the eventual winner of the evening and for the event generally, and is keen to continue to develop her science communication skills.