This is the project website for TEROPPLATE (Testing the role of thermo-chemical piles in the generation and continuation of plate tectonics)a Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships (Proposal number: 749664).

H2020-Web-750x375

The fellowship lasted from Feb 2018 until Jan 2020.

Quick links: Project reivewDeliverablesPublicationsDisseminationTimeline


Review of the project

The mechanics of plate tectonics (the movement of the Earth’s surface) is a fundamental scientific question in understanding the recycling of mantle volatiles in processes that affect habitability. The emergence of plate tectonics on Earth set the planet apart from others in our solar system allowing for the propagation of life, yet the fundamentals of how it all began remain unresolved. Present-day geophysical imaging of the deep mantle show anomalous chemical piles thought to originate from the beginnings of Earth. Recently, consensus has been reached that the chemical piles can impact, and be impacted by, plate tectonic processes. 

Based largely on geophysical data, two opposing hypotheses dominate the discussion on dynamics at the base of mantle: the large hot anomalies are thermo-chemical in nature; or, alternatively, they are purely thermal plume clusters. The fellowship set out to understand the impact of these chemical piles with mantle convection, and to explore their potential interaction with plate tectonic processes.

A summary of the 2-year fellowship can be described as follows:

  • three published papers of new work (Tectonics, Geology, and EPSL) and two published review papers;
  • three papers in revision and three in preparation;
  • eight invited scientific talks;
  • 23 conference presentations;
  • 24 new collaborators;
  • nine students co-supervised;
  • setup of host institution as a hub for ASPECT modelling;
  • five public talks;
  • five magazine articles;
  • the development of an award winning education course taught in prison;
  • media coverage of science education course;
  • organization of ‘Prison Education and STEM Symposium‘ attended by 70 people.

At the beginning of the project, an understanding of the influence of the early Earth mantle was analysed, with new collaborations started (Prof Craig O’Neill). However, it was important to better understand the present-day deep mantle, and take our findings back in time. Here, I built a collaboration network to better understand the deep mantle (e.g., Dr Juliane Dannberg, Dr Rene Gassmöller, and Dr Grace Shephard).

In previous modelling studies, deep chemical heterogenities have been argued to be essential in developing appropriate present-day plume positions. Here, we quantified how the chemical composition of large, hot regions in the deep mantle influences the location of rising mantle plumes using numerical 3-D global mantle convection models constrained by 410 million years of palaeo-ocean evolution. We showed that purely thermal convection can reproduce the observed positions of present-day hotspots. By demonstrating that a lower mantle without large-scale chemical heterogeneities can generate appropriate global dynamics, we illustrated the power of sinking ocean plates to stir mantle flow and control the thermal evolution of the mantle. Because our models with a thermo-chemical anomaly reproduces observed hotspot positions equally well, we highlighted that the deep hot anomalies in the mantle are purely passive in global dynamics – regardless of their (thermal or chemical) origin.

A series of invited talks and presentations at other institutions and conferences allowed for more expertise in understanding chemical piles and mantle dynamics through discussion. A particular highlight was being invited to present our findings on the influence of chemical piles on plate tectonic processes as a keynote speaker at SEDI 2018.

The culmination of this work was a Nature Communications submission (that was rejected but currently being reworked) and a paper on supercontinent formation and dispersal that is linked to thermo-chemical piles. Although this work has fundamentally looked at more present-day dynamics, this understanding has built into the early Earth work that is in preparation.

In order to engage the scientific work conducted during the fellowship with the public and other scientists, I embarked on a series of public lectures and magazine articles (as well as a review publication). Namely, a Geoscientist article and Geological Society publication on chemical piles brought deep mantle dynamics to a mainly ‘shallow’ geology crowd, and allowed for a broad discussion amongst different fields of geoscience. 

The fundamental mechanics of plate tectonic processes are still at the heart of Earth Science thinking. During this fellowship, I developed 3D numerical models using the open source code ASPECT to further tackle this problem. While developing the models, I wrote a review paper on the mantle lithosphere for the Geological Society. However, three local analyses of the mechanics of plate tectonic processes were published during the fellowship (Tectonics, Geology and EPSL, with the latter work lead by a student I co-supervised). It was important to help build the knowledge framework by supervising a student during this project. 

A goal of the fellowship was to setup Durham University as a hub for the ASPECT code. All of the projects related to this fellowship have used ASPECT, as well as 9 students that I have co-supervised (and three visiting academics). It has been a highly successful part of the fellowship and one that will have a lasting impact on the host institution. 

In the MSCA application I outlined that I would like to conduct science outreach in the local prison. In doing so I developed England’s first formal science course behind bars that won numerous awards (and shortlisted for others). Publicity from the project made local and national news. To galvanize the scientific community, I wrote a number of articles on the importance of outreach in prison, as well as co-organised a very successful symposium on STEM in prison

Returning to the EU, I wanted to expand his ability to design, program, and develop large-scale numerical models using high performance computing gained from doctoral and post-doctoral experiences in Canada. This project successfully allowed me to reintegrate into EU academia, and contribute my acquired research skills in both my host department and at numerous other institutions (through invited talks). The expertise of the contributors and the design of the research have provided me with new knowledge and experience in early Earth geophysics and geochemistry, as well as deep mantle dynamics. A particular highlight of this project is the large number of collaborators with European ties that have been cultivated. The strength and legacy of the fellowship lies in these scientific collaborations. 

 

Publications

During the fellowship I published five papers as well as having three in review, one paper rejected and two in preparation:

[1] Heron, P. J., A. L. Peace, K. J. W. McCaffrey, J. K. Welford, R. Wilson, J. van Hunen, & R. N. Pysklywec, (2019). Segmentation of Rifts Through Structural Inheritance: Creation of the Davis Strait. Tectonics, 38. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019TC005578.

[2] Heron, P. J., Pysklywec R. N., Stephenson  R., and van Hunen J. (2019), Deformation driven by deep and distant structures: Influence of a mantle lithosphere suture in the Ouachita orogeny, Geology, https://doi.org/10.1130/G45690.1.

[3] Heron, P. J. (2018), Mantle plumes and mantle dynamics in the Wilson Cycle, Geological Society Special Publication, Fifty Years of the Wilson Cycle Concept in Plate Tectonics, https://doi.org/10.1144/SP470.18

[4] Heron, P. J., Pysklywec R. N., and Stephenson  R., (2018), Exploring the theory of plate tectonics: the role of mantle lithosphere structure, Geological Society Special Publication: Fifty Years of the Wilson Cycle Concept in Plate Tectonics, https://doi.org/10.1144/SP470.7

[5] G-P Farangitakis*, P. J. Heron, K. J. McCaffrey, J. van Hunen, L. M. Kalnins, (2020), The impact of oblique inheritance and changes in relative plate motion on the development of rift-transform systems, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 541, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2020.116277

[R2] Crameri, F, G. E. Shephard, P. J. Heron, (in review), Advantage, availability and application of scientific colour maps, Nature Communications

[R3] Heron, P. J., B. Murphy, D. Nance, and R. N. Pysklywec, (in review) Pannotia’s mantle signature: the quest for supercontinent identification, Geological Society Special Publication: Celebrating the career of Damian Nance

[R4] Murphy, J.B., Nance, R.D., Cawood, P., Collins, W.J., Dan, W., Doucet, L., Heron, P.J., Li, Z.-X., Mitchell, R., Pisarevsky, S., Quesada, C., Spencer, C.J., Strachan, R.A., Wu, L. (in review), The thermal legacy of Pannotia and its geodynamic significance: the case for the prosecution, Geological Society Special Publication: Celebrating the career of Damian Nance

[X1] Heron, P. J., Dannberg, J., Gassmöller, R., Shephard, G. E., van Hunen, J., & Pysklywec, R. N. (2019). Ancient subducted oceans controlling the positioning of deep mantle plumes. rejected from Nature Communications – to be resubmitted, https://doi.org/10.31223/osf.io/vdmys

[P1] Heron, P. J., C.O’Neill, S. Zhang, J. van Hunen, A. Rozel, and R. N. Pysklywec, (in preparation) LLSVP survival in the early Earth: efficient or inefficient mixing under a stagnant lid?, Geophysical Research Letters

[P2] Heron, P. J., (in preparation), Accessible, inclusive, and relatable: analysis of a year teaching geoscience in prison, Geoscience Communication

Data for all publications can be found at Dr Phil Heron’s GitHub page.

Quick links: Publishable summaryDeliverablesPublicationsDisseminationTimeline


Deliverables

In summary, the project was to look at large-scale geodynamic models of plate tectonic processes, linking into lower mantle dynamics in the present-day and early Earth. The project has exceeded expectations by managing to produce output for each work package, and producing double the amount of publications described (however, not all have been accepted in the two year time frame of the fellowship).

A breakdown of the work packages were as follows:

WP1 (Thermal evolution of stagnant lid dynamics): This work package relied heavily on a new collaboration with Prof Craig O’Neill at Macquarie University in Australia. Through using previously published ASPECT code that analysed early planet evolution, I developed models that looked at the impact of the thermal evolution of the mantle during a stagnant-lid early Earth.

Output for WP1: This work was presented at a conference and a publication is currently in preparation. 

[P1] Heron, P. J., C.O’Neill, S. Zhang, J. van Hunen, A. Rozel, and R. N. Pysklywec, (in preparation) LLSVP survival in the early Earth: efficient or inefficient mixing under a stagnant lid?, Geophysical Research Letters

Early Earth Modelling With ASPECT
Early Earth Modelling with ASPECT
Heron_Early_EGU2018_final
Early Earth modelling poster presented at EGU 2018

WP2 (Response of LLSVPs to thermal evolution): The bulk of the fellowship has been in WP2, where global scale numerical models have been developed to look at the response of LLSVPs to the thermal evolution of the mantle. During the two years, this part of the project has generated a number of new collaborations as well as invitations to speak. In order to lay the ground work for the project, and to inform the public on the new scientific research, I worked on a review paper, a magazine article and a public lecture. Two new research papers were produced, one which is in review and another that has just been rejected from Nature Communications (and is being amended for resubmission).

Output for WP2: 5 invited talks, 4 public talks, 7 presentations at conferences, one published review paper, a magazine article, one paper in review and one paper that has been rejected:

[3] Heron, P. J. (2018), Mantle plumes and mantle dynamics in the Wilson Cycle, Geological Society Special Publication, Fifty Years of the Wilson Cycle Concept in Plate Tectonics, https://doi.org/10.1144/SP470.18

[R3] Heron, P. J., B. Murphy, D. Nance, and R. N. Pysklywec, (in review) Pannotia’s mantle signature: the quest for supercontinent identification, Geological Society Special Publication: Celebrating the career of Damian Nance

[X1] Heron, P. J., Dannberg, J., Gassmöller, R., Shephard, G. E., van Hunen, J., & Pysklywec, R. N. (2019). Ancient subducted oceans controlling the positioning of deep mantle plumes. rejected from Nature Communications, https://doi.org/10.31223/osf.io/vdmys

Heron, P. & Garnero, E., (2019) What lies beneath: Thoughts on the lower mantle. Geoscientist 29 (3), 10-15, 2019 https://doi.org/10.1144/geosci2019-015; Download the pdf here

Invited talks: Durham University (2020), University of Glasgow (2018), Liverpool University (2018), SEDI (2018), ETH Zurich (2018).

Global mantle convection models
Global mantle convection models in ASPECT
Gif
Animation of mantle convection modelling beneath the equatorial Atlantic and Africa. Blues are cold downwellings, reds upwellings.

WP3 (Secondment to ETH Zurich)As a result of paternity leave, I was unable to fulfil the secondment linked to the project. However, I did visit ETH Zurich to start collaboration, and hosted Dr Anotine Rozel at Durham University to advance project work (e.g., WP1 and WP5).

Output for WP3: The following manuscript is currently in preparation but could not be completed during the fellowship:

[P1] Heron, P. J., C.O’Neill, S. Zhang, J. van Hunen, A. Rozel, and R. N. Pysklywec, LLSVP survival in the early Earth: efficient or inefficient mixing under a stagnant lid?, Geophysical Research Letters

WP4 (Global plate tectonics study): This work package looked at producing state-of-the-art 3D numerical simulations of plate tectonic processes.  The work started with a review publication then focused on local environments to test plate tectonic theories. The work here started collaborations with a number of new scientists, and has spread the work of ASPECT. This WP also allowed me to co-supervise a PhD student who has published a manuscript based on this work.

Output for WP4: A review paper on plate tectonic processes, three published papers using 3D ASPECT models, and an invited talk (alongside a number of talks and posters at conference).

[1] Heron, P. J., A. L. Peace, K. J. W. McCaffrey, J. K. Welford, R. Wilson, J. van Hunen, & R. N. Pysklywec, (2019). Segmentation of Rifts Through Structural Inheritance: Creation of the Davis Strait. Tectonics, 38. https://doi.org/10. 1029/2019TC005578.

[2] Heron, P. J., Pysklywec R. N., Stephenson  R., and van Hunen J. (2019), Deformation driven by deep and distant structures: Influence of a mantle lithosphere suture in the Ouachita orogeny, Geology, https://doi.org/10.1130/G45690.1.

[4] Heron, P. J., Pysklywec R. N., and Stephenson  R., (2018), Exploring the theory of plate tectonics: the role of mantle lithosphere structure, Geological Society Special Publication: Fifty Years of the Wilson Cycle Concept in Plate Tectonics, https://doi.org/10.1144/SP470.7

[5] G-P Farangitakis*, P. J. Heron, K. J. McCaffrey, J. van Hunen, L. M. Kalnins, (2020), The impact of oblique inheritance and changes in relative plate motion on the development of rift-transform systems, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 541, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2020.116277

Invited talk: Imperial College, 2018.

3D modelling (Tectonics)
Example of 3D plate tectonic modelling with ASPECT (Tectonics 2019 paper)

WP5 (LLSVP response to subduction in Early Earth): The work here is building on the continued collaboration between ETH Zurich and Durham from WP1/WP3, as well as bringing in new colleagues looking at subduction and the supercontinent cycle in the Neoproterozoic. The paper X1 desired in WP2 also falls within WP5. During this WP, Jeroen van Hunen and I have been collaborating on ASPECT subduction modelling, which has been the subject of a number of conference presentations.

Output for WP5: 9 conference presentations, continued work with WP1 and WP3, as well as a publication in review on subduction. 

[R4] Murphy, J.B., Nance, R.D., Cawood, P., Collins, W.J., Dan, W., Doucet, L., Heron, P.J., Li, Z.-X., Mitchell, R., Pisarevsky, S., Quesada, C., Spencer, C.J., Strachan, R.A., Wu, L. (in review), The thermal legacy of Pannotia and its geodynamic significance: the case for the prosecution, Geological Society Special Publication: Celebrating the career of Damian Nance

Public Engagements: A lot of effort was made to engage with the public during the fellowship. I have 5 public lectures that were well attended, as well as wrote articles for magazines. Furthermore, I started a prison education course that has taught science to a under represented population, as well as worked on a project that allows scientists to be more ‘scientific’ in their visual presentations of data:

[R2] Crameri, F, G. E. Shephard, P. J. Heron, (in review), Advantage, availability and application of scientific colour maps, Nature Communications

Prison Education course: I stated that I would work on a prison education geoscience course in Durham during my fellowship. In starting this endeavour I realized that there was a need for formal science education taught in prison, and developed a module broader in scope than just geoscience as originally anticipated. The course started in 2019 and ran in three different prisons, and made national headlines as being England’s first science course taught in prison. A list of awards and publications are given below: 

2020: STEM for Britain Awards shortlisted 2019: Impact and Engagement Award, Durham University shortlisted; Celebrate Excellence, Durham University shortlisted; European Geosciences Union outreach award €1,000; British Geophysical Association outreach award £250

[P2] Heron, P. J., (in preparation), Accessible, inclusive, and relatable: analysis of a year teaching geoscience in prison, Geoscience Communication. 

Heron, P. J. (2020), Teaching geoscience in prison, Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, https://doi.org/10.1038/s43017-020-0020-7

Heron, P. J., (2019) Unlocking the doors to education for prisoners, Astronomy & Geophysics, Volume 60, Issue 5, October 2019, Page 5.13, https://doi.org/10.1093/astrogeo/atz173

Heron, P. J. (2019), What I’ve learned from teaching prisoners to think like scientists, The Conversation5,000 reads

Heron, P.,(2019) The ‘impact’ factor: Can we be more useful? Geoscientist 29 (4), 9, https://doi.org/10.1144/geosci2019-020

Heron6657poster
Poster describing the award winning course presented at STEM for Britain Awards

Numerical modelling: As outlined in the proposal, the numerical modelling code ASPECT was to be used for the numerical calculations and the host institution would be setup as a hub for the program in the UK.

The introduction of ASPECT to Durham University’s Department of Earth Science has been successful, with the Geodynamics and Structural Geology groups now working with the code. Furthermore, Dr Tom Phillips wrote and won a Leverhulme Award that featured usage of ASPECT and the expertise (now established) at Durham.

During my fellowship, I co-supervised PhD student Pavlos Farangitakis in ASPECT modelling. As a marker of the success of the project, a paper of his currently in press at EPSL. In addition to Mr Farangitakis, I co-supervised 8 undergraduate students through their final year thesis during my two years at  Durham, all using ASPECT (e.g., O. Smith, 2020; Hastie, 2020; Knight, 2019; Bradshaw-Down, 2019; Peel, 2019; Ives, 2019,; Barrett, 2019; Warren, 2018).

In relation to the project, I hosted numerical modelling experts Dr Juliane Dannberg and Dr Antoine Rozel who helped strengthen the work in the Department. Furthermore, I co-hosted Prof Fred Gueydan and PhD student Agathe Faucher in January 2020, providing a workshop on numerical modelling with ASPECT.

Screen Shot 2020-04-11 at 6.42.01 AM
I was able to supervise students with Jeroen van Hunen on projects that used ASPECT

Reintegration into European society: A focus of the project was that I was allowed to reintegrate back into the European scientific community after a decade living and working in Canada. Below shows a list of (mostly) new collaborators since the project began, with European academics shown in bold. The independence allowed me build a strong community of experts to collaborate with, as science works better with a broad community of voices.

Collaborators
Collaborators during TEROPPLATE (bold indicates EU related). top (l-r): Juliane Dannberg, Rene Gassmöller, Phil Stephens, Hannah King, Pavlos Farangitakis, Alex Peace, Tom Phillips, Russell King, Obeid Lemmna; Middle (l-r): Keven Roy, Shree Khare; Randell Stephenson, Russell Psylywec, Grace Shephard, Fabio Crameri, Antoine Rozel, Christian Schiffer, Damian Nance; Bottom (l-r): Kim Welford; Jeroen van Hunen, Craig O’Neill; Ken McCaffrey, Lara Kalnis, Paul Tackley, Danielle George, Brendan Murphy.

Quick links: Publishable summaryDeliverablesPublicationsDisseminationTimeline



Dissemination/communication

The project has had a successful media campaign, focussing on presenting the new scientific discoveries through invited seminars (6), conferences presentations (22), public lectures (4), and magazine articles (1).

Geoscientist Cover
Magazine article describing deep mantle dynamics

The designated outreach program described in TEROPPLATE achieved national success, with the ‘Think Like A Scientist‘ prison education program making national news (see media appearances). Think Like A Scientist won two outreach awards (EGU and BGA) as well as being shortlisted for two Durham University impact awards. A highlight was also being invited to UK Parliament to talk to MPs regarding the prison education program for the STEM for Britain awards. A number of magazine articles about the course were disseminated (4) as well as a public talk in Durham. Furthermore, the fellowship was used to setup a successful conference on Prison Education and STEM which was hosted alongside the Prisoners’ Education Trust (the event is described in detail below).

Articles (n=5)

Heron, P. J. (2020), Teaching geoscience in prison, Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, https://doi.org/10.1038/s43017-020-0020-7

Heron, P. J., (2019) Unlocking the doors to education for prisoners, Astronomy & Geophysics, Volume 60, Issue 5, October 2019, Page 5.13, https://doi.org/10.1093/astrogeo/atz173

Heron, P. & Garnero, E., (2019) What lies beneath: Thoughts on the lower mantle. Geoscientist 29 (3), 10-15, 2019 https://doi.org/10.1144/geosci2019-015; Download the pdf here

Heron, P. J. (2019), What I’ve learned from teaching prisoners to think like scientists, The Conversation5,000 reads

Heron, P.,(2019) The ‘impact’ factor: Can we be more useful? Geoscientist 29 (4), 9, https://doi.org/10.1144/geosci2019-020

Public Talks (n=5)                                                                                       

  1. A Journey to the Centre of the Earth Grey College, Durham University, October 2019
  2. A (Geophysical) Journey to the Centre of the Earth Lifelong Learning, Newcastle, May 2019
  3. What I’ve learned from teaching science in prison Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, April 2019
  4. A (Geophysical) Journey to the Centre of the Earth Saturday Morning Science, Durham University, Feb 2019
  5. The Future of Plate Tectonics Geological Society of London Public Lecture Series, London, Oct 2018

Invited Academic Research Presentations (n=8)                                          

2020: Durham University, Durham

2019: Royal Society Outreach conference, Newcastle

2019: Celebrating Excellence, Awards Gala, Durham University

2018: University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland

2018: ETH Zurich, Department of Geosciences, Zurich, Switzerland

2018: Study of the Earth’s Deep Interior, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

2018: Imperial College, Department of Earth Sciences, London, England

2018: Liverpool University, Department of Earth Sciences, Liverpool, England

Awards

2020: STEM for Britain Awards shortlisted

2019: Impact and Engagement Award, Durham University shortlisted

2019: Celebrate Excellence, Durham University shortlisted

2019: European Geosciences Union outreach award €1,000

2019: British Geophysical Association outreach award £250

Media Appearances                                                                                      

2019: BBC Radio Newcastle, Metro Newspaper, The I Paper, The Sun, BBC Radio Tees, EGU GeoBlog, Conseris Blog (USA), Northern Echo, Contributor to New South Wales Education Standards Authority

HERON_I-news
The I paper

Conference presentations (n=23; n=15 as first author) Add in posters. 

* denotes supervised student author; WP#: work related to work package; #: work related to publication; R#: work related to publication in review; X#: work related to rejected publication; P#: work related to publication in preparation; TLAS: work related to ‘Think Like A Scientist’ prison education course; ASPECT: presentation on the code.

  1. 2019, American Geophysical Union (San Francisco, USA), invited talk, co-author, WP5
  2. 2019, American Geophysical Union (San Francisco, USA), invited talk, co-author, WP2, WP5, X1
  3. 2019, UK Study of the Earth’s Deep Interior (London, UK), talk, author, WP2, WP5, X1
  4. 2019, Mantle Convection and Lithospheric Dynamics Workshop (Siena, Italy), talk, co-author, WP2, WP5, X1 
  5. 2019*, Mantle Convection and Lithospheric Dynamics Workshop (Siena, Italy), poster, co-author, WP4, 5 
  6. 2019*, GeoMod (Barcelona, Spain), poster, co-author, WP4, 5
  7. 2019, European Geosciences Union (Vienna, Austria), talk, author, WP4, 1
  8. 2019, European Geosciences Union (Vienna, Austria), poster, author, WP2, WP5, X1
  9. 2019, European Geosciences Union (Vienna, Austria), poster, author, TLAS
  10. 2019, European Geosciences Union (Vienna, Austria), poster, co-author, WP5
  11. 2019*, European Geosciences Union (Vienna, Austria), poster, co-author, WP4, 5
  12. 2019, Durham University Earth Science conference (Durham, UK), talk, author, TLAS, P2
  13. 2019, Durham University Earth Science conference (Durham, UK), poster, author, WP2, WP5, X1
  14. 2019, Durham University Earth Science conference (Durham, UK), poster, co-author, WP5
  15. 2019*, Durham University Earth Science conference (Durham, UK), poster, co-author, WP4, 5
  16. 2018, Structural Group talk Earth Science Department (Durham, UK), talk, author, ASPECT
  17. 2018, Durham University Earth Science conference (Durham, UK), poster, author,   WP4, 1
  18. 2018, Durham University Earth Science conference (Durham, UK), poster, author,   WP2, WP5
  19. 2018, Plate Tectonics: Then, now, and the future (College de France, Paris, France) poster, author, WP2, WP5, X1
  20. 2018, European Geosciences Union (Vienna, Austria), poster, author, WP2, WP5, X1
  21. 2018, European Geosciences Union (Vienna, Austria), poster, author, WP4, 2
  22. 2018, European Geosciences Union (Vienna, Austria), poster, author, WP4, 1
  23. 2018, European Geosciences Union (Vienna, Austria), poster, author, WP1, WP3, WP5, P1

Conference: Prison Education and STEM Symposium 

PEASS
Prison Education and STEM Symposium: Durham University, 29th July 2019

Rosie Reynolds of Prisoners’ Education Trust and myself decided to bring everyone working in STEM prison education together under one roof for a day. The ‘Prison Education and STEM Symposium’ explored the innovation, challenges, and opportunities in science teaching in prison, and allowed outreach professionals, prison staff, and STEM academics to bring their expertise together with a broad aim of widening participation in STEM learning across the prison estate.

PEASS_Pod
Rosie Reynolds (PET) and Phil Heron at the Prison Education and STEM Symposium (standing in front of the BGA logo) (From Prisoners’ Education Trust)

The event was a success, with 50 attendees listening and engaging with each other and a number of partnerships established. The speakers included:

  • Jim Taylor, Programmes Director at Code 4000, an initiative teaching prisoners coding skills;
  • Dr. Mhairi Stewart, Head of Public Engagement with Research at University of St Andrews and project lead for Cell Block Science, pioneering science education programme for prisons;
  • Dr. Karen New from the Open University’s Journal Club project, who are currently pilotting their work in HMP Bure;
  • Francesca Findlater, CEO of Bounce Back, talking about their joint project with the Royal Astronomical Society to bring astronomy into prisons;
  • Dorigen Hammond, writer and producer who co-led Space is the Place at HMP Leicester;
  • Louise Dowell, Senior Librarian and HMP Leicester, who shared her experience of facilitating science projects inside;
  • Mim Skinner (keynote), author of the book Jailbirds which accounts her interaction with teaching in prison;
  • Dalton, recent graduate of the Think Like a Scientist programme.

Dalton very kindly spoke about the role of education in prison – “Education is the only thing in prison that gives you any form of self-worth or purpose” – and highlighted the importance of science education in particular:

“Science is important as it shows a world we haven’t seen before, gives us knowledge of the life around us. Science educators are showing us failure is just as important as succeeding, and that science is a lot of ‘no’s to a lot of questions – but that is OK!”

PEASS_Dalton2
Dalton talking about the power of science education in prison at Prison Education and STEM Symposium. (From Prisoners’ Education Trust)

The Symposium also allowed for a Think Like A Scientist workshop that showcased the work I have been doing to the audience of prison educators, academics, policy makers, and others.

Quick links: Publishable summaryDeliverablesPublicationsDisseminationTimeline


Timeline by Month

Month 1 Feb 2018: Invited talk at Imperial College

Month 3 April 2018: Four first author presentations on early results of the fellowship.

Month 4 May 2018: Paris Future of Plate Tectonics Conference.

Month 5 June 2018: SEDI conference, invited talk; Durham Earth Science conference.

Month 7 August 2018: Invited talk at University of Liverpool.

Month 8 September 2018: Hosted Dr Juliane Dannberg; Invited talk University of Glasgow; Heron, P. J., Pysklywec R. N., and Stephenson  R., (2018), Exploring the theory of plate tectonics: the role of mantle lithosphere structure, Geological Society Special Publication: Fifty Years of the Wilson Cycle Concept in Plate Tectonics, https://doi.org/10.1144/SP470.7

Month 9 October 2018: Public talk at Geological Society; Talk in Structural group at Durham.

Month 10 November 2018: ETH Zurich invited talk.

Month 12 January 2019: Think Like A Scientist #1; Heron, P. J., Pysklywec R. N., Stephenson  R., and van Hunen J. (2019), Deformation driven by deep and distant structures: Influence of a mantle lithosphere suture in the Ouachita orogeny, Geology, https://doi.org/10.1130/G45690.1.

Month 13 Feb 2019: Think Like A Scientist #1; Public talk for Saturday Morning Science.

Month 15 April 2019: EGU 2019, five presentations; Public talk at Durham; Heron, P. & Garnero, E., What lies beneath: Thoughts on the lower mantle. Geoscientist 29 (3), 10-15, 2019 https://doi.org/10.1144/geosci2019-015; Download the pdf here

Month 16 May 2019: Numerous media appearances, including a live BBC Radio Newcastle interview on Think Like A Scientist; UK SEDI conference; Public talk at Lifelong learning; Heron, P. J. (2019), Mantle plumes and mantle dynamics in the Wilson Cycle, Geological Society Special Publication, Fifty Years of the Wilson Cycle Concept in Plate Tectonics, https://doi.org/10.1144/SP470.18

Month 17 June 2019: Think Like A Scientist #2; Durham Earth Science conference; Hosted Dr Juliane Dannberg.

Month 18 July 2019: Think Like A Scientist #2; Celebrating Excellence event; Prison Education and STEM symposium; Hosted Dr Anotine Rozel. Heron, P. J., A. L. Peace, K. J. W. McCaffrey, J. K. Welford, R. Wilson, J. van Hunen, & R. N. Pysklywec, (2019). Segmentation of Rifts Through Structural Inheritance: Creation of the Davis Strait. Tectonics, 38. https://doi.org/10. 1029/2019TC005578

Month 19 August 2019: New child, paternity leave. Ada Lovelace conference.

Month 20 September 2019: Paternity leave. Geomod conference.

Month 21: October 2019: Think Like A Scientist #3; Public talk at Grey College; Heron, P. J., Unlocking the doors to education for prisoners, Astronomy & Geophysics, Volume 60, Issue 5, October 2019, Page 5.13, https://doi.org/10.1093/astrogeo/atz173

Month 22 November 2019: Think Like A Scientist #3; Impact and Engagement Awards.

Month 23 December 2019: AGU conference; submitted paper X1; Royal Society Outreach conference.

Month 24: Hosted Agathe Faucher for ASPECT modelling tutorial; submitted paper 5, R2, R3. Heron, P. J. (2020), Teaching geoscience in prison, Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, https://doi.org/10.1038/s43017-020-0020-7


A series of tweets outlining the project can be found here:

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