I am Professor of Geology at the University of St Andrews, specialising in the mineralogy, petrology and geochemistry of rift-related magmas. My research focusses on describing the mineral deposits which form in rift environments, which include rare earths, niobium and tantalum. I work by explaining the shape and grade of the deposit and by developing models of how they formed. I have worked on alkaline rocks from all over the world (Mongolia to Malawi to Greenland) with a particular reputation for fieldwork in the Arctic.
I am advisor to the Government Office in Science at Westminster (GOScience) on resource issues and member of the University advisory panel on Sustainability. I am a member of the St Andrews Centre for Energy Ethics. I consult to exploration companies and my geochemical work is underpinned by access to some of the best analytical facilities available worldwide.
I have a BSc degree from University of Durham and a PhD in mineralogy and petrology from the University of Edinburgh. I was awarded a personal fellowship from the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2000. I am a Fellow of the Geological Society, the Society of Economic Geologists and a Fellow of the Mineralogical Society.
I talked about my research and my motivation to become a geologist to the GeoBUS outreach team in 2015.
BSc (Hons) Geology, University of Durham (1987)
PhD Edinburgh, Mineralogy and Petrology of Alkaline Rocks (1990)
PGCE in Higher Education, University of Hertfordshire (1997)
Fellow of Mineralogical Society (FMinSoc)
Fellow of the Geological Society (FGS)
Fellow of the Society for Economic Geologists (FSEG)
Honours and service to learned societies
Professor of Geology, University of St Andrews (2017-date)
Advisor, Government Office for Science at Westminster on Natural Resource Matters (2022)
Royal Society of Edinburgh/BP Personal Research Fellowship (2000-2003)
Former Head of School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of St Andrews (2014-2016)
Former Vice President and Publications Officer of the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland (1995-2000)
Former Associate Dean, Faculty of Sciences, University of St Andrews (2008-2010)
Former President of the Society for Luminescence Microscopy and Spectroscopy (2000)