Introducing the Bloggers of Goldschmidt 2013

It isn’t long until the start of the annual V.M. Goldschmidt conference, the main international meeting for geochemists to share and discuss ideas. This year’s meeting in Florence, Italy, is set to be one of the largest yet with over 4000 abstracts submitted. The European Association of Geochemistry and the organisers of this 23rd Goldschmidt meeting have assembled a team of writers from the geoblogosphere to cover the science and social activities of the conference. Here is that team, meet Andy, Betsy, Emma, Matt and Simon. Follow our coverage of Goldschmidt 2013 here on the EAG blog and on twitter, using the #Goldschmidt2013 hashtag.

Andy Bray


University of Leeds, UK


I’m a Ph.D. candidate working in Cohen Geochemistry, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, investigating the processes and rates of mineral weathering by soil dwelling micro-organisms. Generally, I’m interested in anything that involves life interacting with rock. That covers things from micron scale biogeo interactions, contaminant geochemistry, Critical Zone processes, global (bio)geochemical cycling and even a bit of astrobiology. In addition to my oral presentation (Thursday 16:45, 10j), I’ll be attending sessions with bio-geo themes and writing on some of the interesting presentations I see. I’m relatively new to blogging and alongside helping to set up the Cohen Geochemistry Users’ Blog, I (sporadically) post articles on the EAG Blog and Tumblr. I will be tweeting throughout Goldschmidt and you can follow me @Brayaw. Come and find me in Florence and talk to me about science or tell me a bad joke, either way I’ll enjoy it. See you at the icebreaker!

Betsy Swanner

University of Tübingen, Germany


Greetings from Tuebingen where I am busy preparing for this year’s Goldschmidt meeting. It will be my fifth trip to Goldschmidt, and is always one of the highlights of my professional year. It is however, my first experience as an official blogger, but I have gained some experience writing for the EAG Blog already this year. One of the aspects I am looking forward to most is convening a session for the first time – Session 9e: “Life in ferruginous settings: building the bridge between sedimentology and geomicrobiology”. You can find me at our posters on Wednesday afternoon (164 to 169) and the orals on Thursday afternoon (L05), along with co-conveners Nicole Posth of NordCEE-University of Southern Denmark and Bertus Smith of the University of Johannesburg. I will also be presenting my current postdoctoral research, which investigates the impact of Archean levels of dissolved iron on the growth of a marine cyanobacterium (Session 19e: Phototrophic Life and Earth’s Redox Evolution). See you in Florence! 

Emma Versteegh

University of Reading, UK


I’m a post-doc working at the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, University of Reading. My current research focuses on carbonates produced by earthworms, and if they can be used as a proxy for past climate and environments. My broader interests range from stable isotope chemistry to marine ecology, palaeoclimatology and archaeology. Although I have written some short entries on my own blog Silent Witnesses and occasionally tweet as @emmaversteegh, this is the first time I’m having a go at blogging for a conference. Quite exciting! It is also the first time I’m convening a session, with my PI Mark Hodson: 19j The Role of Biominerals in Biogeochmical Cycling, in which Mark will present some of our recent findings on the role of earthworm-produced calcium carbonate in the terrestrial carbon cycle. I will present a poster on Wednesday on Pleistocene and Holocene Temperature Reconstructions Using Earthworm-Produced Calcite. I’m very much looking forward to Goldschmidt 2013 and hope to meet many of you there. 

Matt Herod

University of Ottawa, Canada


I am Ph.D. Candidate working with Dr. Ian Clark in the Department of Earth Science at the University of Ottawa. My research focuses on the environmental geochemistry of iodine and the radioactive isotope iodine-129. This work involves characterizing a 129I baseline in the Canadian Arctic and applying this to the transport and sources of 129I to remote regions as well as to long term radioactive waste disposal. I also work on the transport and fate of 129I from the Fukushima Daichii Nuclear Accident. At this Goldschmidt I’ll be found in aqueous and isotope geochemistry sessions listening to all of the great work that has been going on, and blogging about what I learn at my EGU network blog, GeoSphere. I’ll also be tweeting as @GeoHerod. My own talk is in session 18j: Geochemical and Biological Fate of Anthropogenic Radionuclides. I’ll be speaking on Thursday afternoon about my work on the rainout of 129I from Fukushima and its transfer into groundwater on the west coast of Canada. Hope to see you in Florence!! 

Simon Redfern

University of Cambridge, UK


I’m a Mineral Physicist, which means I enjoy applying an understanding of the properties of Earth materials at the atomic scale to a wide range of problems across Earth’s history, on global scale. By studying interactions across varying length scales and time scales I aim to understand how our planet works. I will be talking at Goldschmidt on Monday afternoon, about how synchrotron X-rays can be used to image the geochemistry of plankton calcite shells at the nanoscale. This year I have enjoyed a stint as a British Science Association media fellow, which has involved working at the BBC Science & Environment desk learning about science communication, and I also blog on the EGU network. All this activity started as blog at Geopoem for my students, and I post things there still. I’ll be tweeting, when I have a moment, as @Sim0nRedfern.


We’re aiming to provide a wide coverage of Goldschmidt 2013 via our blogging and tweeting, but make sure you also keep an eye out for the official press releases coming throughout the week.