Mr Nicholas Barber (2018)
I spent my childhood outdoors, digging up every rock I could find and exploring the mountains of south-eastern Pennsylvania. These experiences grew into a lifelong desire to understand the most basic processes that shape the earth. As an undergraduate, I have conducted research on a variety of related topics, from sea level rise to a more recent gas monitoring study of geothermal features at Yellowstone National Park. As a 2016-18 Hollings Scholar, I interned with a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research team to model seafloor deformation leading up the 2015 eruption of Axial Seamount in the Northeast Pacific. From 2015 through 2018, I have worked to reassess the structure, scale, and environmental impact of the Deccan Traps, an extinct volcanic province in western India. During my PhD I will seek to explain the systematic behaviour of trace metals in active volcanic systems. This model will synthesize existing trace metal emissions data with novel field and laboratory techniques. The aim of this project is to further our understanding of ore body development and the impact of volcanic emissions on human health. This work also has the potential to provide new tools monitoring agencies can use to forecast eruptions. I am incredibly honoured to receive the prestigious Gates Cambridge scholarship, and I look forward to drawing on the diverse perspectives of my fellow scholars as I work to safeguard volcanically-threatened populations.