Oxford Earth Sciences welcomes new faculty!

Oxford Earth Sciences welcomes new faculty!

The Department of Earth Sciences are delighted to welcome four new faculty members (one new Professor and three new Associate Professors)! All have joined us from 1st July 2020 and bring expertise from a wide range of research areas. We are extremely excited to welcome all four to Oxford Earth Sciences!


Jon Blundy, FRS, Royal Society Research Professor

Jon Blundy is an igneous petrologist. He studied for a Bachelor’s degree in Geology at the University of Oxford and for a PhD at the University of Cambridge. Since 1989 Jon has been in the School of Earth Sciences at University of Bristol, initially as a research fellow and since 2004 as Professor of Petrology. He has spent time as a visting scientist at University of Oregon, Nagoya University, California Institute of Technology, and University of Western Australia. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2008.

Jon is interested in all things magmatic, from magma generation in the crust and mantle to active volcanoes and hydrothermal mineralisation. He approaches his research using a combination of field observations, thermodynamics, microbeam analysis, and high pressure-temperature experiments. In the mid-1990s, together with Bernie Wood, he developed the lattice strain model for trace element partitioning between minerals and melts. He subsequently worked on the iconic 1980-86 eruptions of Mount St. Helens volcano, USA, with Kathy Cashman. Latterly he has focussed his volcanic interests on the Lesser Antilles, Vanuatu and Kamchatka island arcs. Since 2010 Jon has become engaged in industry-funded applied research into the origin of porphyry copper deposits from a volcano petrology perspective. His Royal Society Research Professorship explores further the link between magmatic processes and ore formation.


Laura Stevens, Associate Professor of Climate and Earth Surface Processes

Laura joins Oxford Earth Sciences from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, where she was a Postdoctoral Fellow. Prior to that, Laura spent a decade in Massachusetts while earning a PhD in Geophysics from the MIT/WHOI Joint Program and a BA in Geosciences from Wellesley College. Their research is focused on determining the physical processes driving ice and water flow in, around, and beneath Earth’s ice sheets and glaciers, using a combination of field observations, computational modeling, and inverse methods. She is looking forward to joining everyone in person this fall, but until then will be working from her Manhattan apartment!


Claire Nichols, Associate Professor of the Geology of Planetary Processes

Claire joins us from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States, where she has been a Postdoctoral Fellow on the Simons Collaboration on the Origins of Life, and based out of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. She completed her PhD with the NanoPaleoMagnetism Group in the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge. Claire’s research interests focus on magnetic minerals, from their nanoscale properties, to what they can tell us about planetary surface processes, and the ancient magnetic fields they record on the Earth, the Moon and elsewhere in the solar system.


Julie Cosmidis, Associate Professor of Geobiology

Julie Cosmidis obtained her PhD from the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris. After working as a research associate at the University of Colorado in Boulder, she became an Assistant Professor at Penn State University in 2017. Her research focuses on microbe-mineral and organic-mineral interactions. She is particularly interested in deciphering the molecular mechanisms involved in microbial biomineralization, understanding its impact on past and present environments, and using it as a tracer of microbial activity in the geological record. She also works on developing industrial applications for biomaterials and microbial processes.