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# Festival of Ideas 2014

Festival of Ideas 2014

The Cambridge Festival of Ideas 2014 is taking place between Monday 20th October and Sunday 2th November. Members of the Department of Geography will be taking part in a number of talks.

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# Anthropocene: is this the new epoch of humans?

Anthropocene: is this the new epoch of humans?

Ian Sample, the Guardian science editor discusses the possible definition of a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, as geologists, climate scientists, ecologists – and a lawyer – gather in Berlin for talks on whether to rename age of human life. While acknowledging humanity's terrifying impact on the Earth's natural systems, Professor Phil Gibbard of the Department of Geography questions the necessity of this definition.

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# Scott Polar Research Institute awarded £500,000 by Heritage Lottery Fund

Scott Polar Research Institute awarded £500,000 by Heritage Lottery Fund

The Scott Polar Research Institute, part of the Department of Geography, has been awarded £500,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Collecting Cultures funding programme. This money has been awarded for By Endurance We Conquer: the Shackleton Project, which will unite the Scott Polar Research Institute's Archive, Museum, Library and Picture Library in a targeted purchasing strategy designed to develop its collection of material relating to Sir Ernest Shackleton.

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# Salt marsh plants key to reducing coastal erosion and flooding

Salt marsh plants key to reducing coastal erosion and flooding

The effectiveness of salt marshes – wetlands which are flooded and drained by tides – in protecting coastal areas in times of severe weather has been quantified in a study led by researchers from the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.

In the largest laboratory experiment ever constructed to investigate this phenomenon, the researchers have shown that over a distance of 40 metres, the salt marsh reduced the height of large waves in deep water by 18%, making them an effective tool for reducing the risk of coastal erosion and flooding. Sixty percent of this reduction is due to the presence of marsh plants alone. The results are published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

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# Cambridge Conservation Seminars 2014-2015

Cambridge Conservation Seminars 2014-2015

The first Cambridge Conservation Seminar for 2014-2015 will be given by Dr James Pearce-Higgins, Director of Science, British Trust for Ornithology, entitled 'From individuals to populations to communities: Climate change impacts on birds'.

This seminar will be on Wednesday 15th October, 5pm, in the Large Lecture Theatre, Department of Geography, Downing Site. All Welcome.

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# Geography undergraduate dissertation wins national prize

Geography undergraduate dissertation wins national prize

A dissertation by a Geography undergraduate has won a Royal Geographical Society (RGS) prize. Jen Durrant, a Sidney Sussex geographer who graduated in 2014, won the award from the Social and Cultural Geography Research Group of the RGS for her dissertation examining the geographies of a homeless hostel. Congratulations to Jen.

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# New study finds Greenland Ice Sheet more vulnerable to climate change

New study finds Greenland Ice Sheet more vulnerable to climate change

Research by Dr. Marion Bougamont and Dr. Poul Christoffersen at the Scott Polar Research Institute shows that the massive ice sheet covering most of Greenland is more vulnerable to climate change than earlier estimates have suggested. In addition to assessing the impact of increased levels of surface melting on ice flow, the new research also takes into account the role that soft, spongy ground beneath the ice sheet plays in its changing dynamics. The study concludes that there is a limit on how much water can be stored in the soft ground beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet, and this makes it sensitive to climate change as well as to increased frequency of short-lived, but extreme, meteorological events including rainfall and heat waves. The findings are published 29 September in the journal Nature Communications.

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# Valuing what nature does for us

Valuing what nature does for us

Staff from the Department of Geography have been involved in a large collaborative effort to produce the first widely accessible, interactive Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Site-based Assessment (TESSA) that was launched online on 8th September to coincide with the 7th Annual Ecosystem Services Partnership Conference in Costa Rica.

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# Prof. Nick Blomley Seminar 4pm Friday 12th September

Prof. Nick Blomley Seminar 4pm Friday 12th September

On Friday 12th September 4pm Professor Nick Blomley (Simon Fraser University) will present a Geography Seminar entitled 'The Space of Property' in the Department's Small Lecture Theatre. Professor Blomley has pioneered work examining the relationship between law and space, drawing on a wide array of empirical examples. This seminar is open to all.

# New book on criminal corpses

New book on criminal corpses

A new book by Shane McCorristine has been published: William Corder and the Red Barn Murder: Journeys of the Criminal Body (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

This book, written as part of a Wellcome Trust project at the University of Leicester, looks at the notorious killing of Maria Martin at the Red Barn in Polstead, Suffolk, by William Corder in 1827. Corder's arrest and trial in 1828 were sensational events and his subsequent hanging made him into a celebrity criminal, endlessly brought back to life by preachers, ballad singers, anatomists and theatre managers. Corder's corpse was anatomised, skinned, and galvanised, and some of his body parts are still available to be viewed by the public in the Moyse's Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds, serving as an example of how criminal bodies have historically been commoditised in order to 'curate' crime.

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# Fixed-term Lectureship in Human Geography

The Department currently has a vacancy for a Lecturer in Human Geography, working in the areas of historical, political and/or economic geography. The post is available from 1 October 2014 to 30 June 2016. The successful candidate will also be considered for a Bye-Fellowship at Fitzwilliam College for the same period. College duties will be separately remunerated, and will include up to four hours per week of supervision (small group teaching).

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# IPS Fellowship at the Library of Congress

IPS Fellowship at the Library of Congress

We are delighted to announce that one of our PhD students, Dave McLaughlin, has been awarded a prestigious AHRC/ESRC IPS Fellowship at the Library of Congress. Dave will commence his research in Michaelmas 2014.

# IPS Fellowship at the Library of Congress

IPS Fellowship at the Library of Congress

We are delighted to announce that one of our PhD students, Ave Lauren, has been awarded a prestigious AHRC/ESRC IPS Fellowship at the Library of Congress.

# Geography PhD student in Nature Climate Change, July 2014

Geography PhD student in Nature Climate Change, July 2014

A new article published by PhD student, David Christian Rose, his first academic publication, discusses 'five ways' in which researchers might enhance the impact of climate science. In recognising that evidence is just one factor in a complex decision-making process, climate scientists would do well to 1) reject an evidence-based mindset to presenting knowledge, and 2) adopt an evidence-informed approach allowing knowledge to be persuasive after interaction with other factors. As part of this mindset, climate scientists should 3) not overrate certainty of evidence, 4) tell good news stories, and 5) re-frame climate science to be policy relevant whenever possible.

David has also recently won 2nd prize in the poster competition at the 9th International Conference in Interpretative Policy Analysis, held in Wageningen.

Rose, D.C. (2014) 'Five ways to enhance the impact of climate science', Nature Climate Change, 4 (7) (25 June 2014): 522–524.

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# The Shrinking Commons Symposium

The Shrinking Commons Symposium

On 8-9 September 2014, the department will be hosting a major international Symposium, 'The Shrinking Commons', to debate the changing nature of the commons and the intellectual and political challenges posed by the changes. All are welcome to the public lectures that form part of the Symposium.

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# Shane McCorristine collaborates on Antarctic Pavilion at Venice Biennale

Shane McCorristine collaborates on Antarctic Pavilion at Venice Biennale

Dr Shane McCorristine has collaborated with artists and architects on the Antarctic Pavilion at the 14th Venice Biennale of Architecture. Commissioned by the Russian artist Alexander Ponomarev and curated by Nadim Samman, "Antarctopia" is the first time that Antarctica has been represented at this prestigious cultural event. The Pavilion interrogates the architectural relationship humans have with Antarctica, looking at heroic pasts, techno-scientific presents, and imagined futures. Shane contributed an essay to the exhibition catalogue entitled "'What shall we call it?' Performing home in Antarctica". The Biennale runs from June 7 - November 23 2014.

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# Cambridge Geography ranked best degree by the Guardian University Guide

Cambridge Geography ranked best degree by the Guardian University Guide

The Department of Geography has once again been placed at the top for Geography and Environmental Science in the the Guardian newspaper 2015 Universities Guide.

Our online course guide has full details on the Geography Degree at Cambridge.

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# Pan-Inuit Trails Atlas Launched at SPRI

Pan-Inuit Trails Atlas Launched at SPRI

A new digital resource brings together centuries of cultural knowledge for the first time, showing that networks of trails over snow and sea ice, seemingly unconnected to the untrained eye, in fact span a continent – and that the Inuit have long-occupied one of the most resource-rich and contested areas on the planet. The material has been digitised and organised geospatially, with trails mapped out over satellite imagery using global positioning systems. It constitutes the first attempt to map the ancient hubs and networks that have long-existed in a part of the world frequently and wrongly depicted as 'empty': as though an unclaimed stretch of vacant space.

"To the untutored eye, these trails may seem arbitrary and indistinguishable from surrounding landscapes. But for Inuit, the subtle features and contours are etched into their narratives and story-telling traditions with extraordinary precision," said Dr Michael Bravo from the Scott Polar Research Institute, part of the Department of Geography. "This atlas is a first step in making visible some of the most important tracks and trails spanning the North American continent from one end to the other. Essentially the trails and the atlas reduce the topology of the Arctic, revealing it to be a smaller, richer, and more intimate world."

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# Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure: 50th Anniversary Conference

Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure: 50th Anniversary Conference

A conference, Population Histories in Context: Past achievements and future directions, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure, will be held on 16th-18th September 2014 at Downing College, Cambridge, UK.

The conference will consist of six themed sessions, with invited speakers covering topics related to the Group's past work and to emerging issues: population and economy; mortality and the urban penalty; household formation systems; marital fertility and celibacy; ageing; and 'the West and the Rest'.

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# Active groundwater reservoir found beneath the Antarctic ice sheet

Active groundwater reservoir found beneath the Antarctic ice sheet

Glaciologists at SPRI have identified a large subglacial groundwater reservoir beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The reservoir was found to be connected with a hydrological network in five large drainage basins, and to feed nutrients to subglacial lakes where living organisms may exist. Poul Christoffersen, the lead author of the study, published recently in Geophysical Research Letters, talks to Planet Earth Online.

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# Royal Society Resilience event at Hay Festival

Royal Society Resilience event at Hay Festival

Dr Bhaskar Vira is participating in a panel discussion on Resilience to Disaster at the Hay Festival 2014, on Friday 30 May. The panel discussion has been organised by the Royal Society, and will be Chaired by Professor Georgina Mace, University College London. The other participants are Dr Camilla Toulmin, Director of the International Institute for Environment and Development, and Professor Katrina Brown, from the University of Exeter.

The event will draw on the work of the Royal Society Working Group on Human Resilience to Climate Change and Disasters, to which Dr Vira is contributing. The panel will discuss the evidence that is being analysed in order to inform the important decisions regarding adaptation and risk reduction that are being made at global, national and local levels. Questions to be address in this session include: How do we prepare ourselves for the impacts of weather-related disasters? What are our options and how do we decide which is the best approach to take? What is the contribution of ecosystem-based approaches to resilience? What are the roles of state, business and community responses in this context?

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# The Randolph Glacier Inventory 3.2

The Randolph Glacier Inventory 3.2

Second year PhD student Evan Miles is one of fourteen lead authors on a recent paper documenting a new and complete inventory of all glaciers across the globe. The full authorship includes 74 scientists from 18 countries. The inventory has been derived from careful analysis of satellite imagery and contains 198,000 glaciers covering an area totaling 726,800 km2. The inventory has been crucial in helping to derive recent estimates of glacier mass balance and volume changes and their contribution to recent sea level rise, as summarized in the latest (2013) IPCC report. (Journal of Glaciology, Vol. 60, No. 221, 2014

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# Professor Ron Martin awarded Doctorate of Science

Professor Ron Martin awarded Doctorate of Science

The Department is pleased to announce that Professor Ron Martin has been awarded a Doctorate of Science by the University, in recognition of his contributions to three main areas in economic geography - the relationship between economic geography and geographical economics; regional development theory; and the construction of a new paradigm of evolutionary economic geography.

At present Ron is engaged on a major (£3m) Foresight Programme on the Future of Cities for the UK Government Office for Science and has recently been appointed to the Advisory Board to the London Economic Panel, chaired by the Mayor of London, which is concerned with the development and diversification of London's economy over the next 25 years.

Ron is also a founder editor of the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, and oversees the Cambridge Centre for Geographical Economic Research. He has also just been appointed as Chair of Research for the Regional Studies Association.

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# Hidden Lands & Sealed Mountains - Geography Library Art Exhibit

Hidden Lands & Sealed Mountains - Geography Library Art Exhibit

The Geography Library is currently running an exhibition, 'Hidden Lands & Sealed Mountains'. This is a PhD project exhibit by RS Kuyakanon Knapp.

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# Open Days for prospective Undergraduates - Thursday 3rd & Friday 4th July 2014

Open Days for prospective Undergraduates - Thursday 3rd & Friday 4th July 2014

Each summer we hold Open Days, at which we welcome students considering applying to read Geography at Cambridge.

This year's open days will be on Thursday 3rd & Friday 4th July 2014.

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# Dr Mia Gray wins Teaching Excellence Award

Dr Mia Gray wins Teaching Excellence Award

Mia Gray, University Senior Lecturer in the Department, has been given a Teaching Excellence Award by Cambridge University Students' Union.

Mia's award noted her innovative and engaging teaching style, her support for students, and her ability to inspire critical and imaginative thinking.

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# Three lectureship posts

Three lectureship posts

The Department is currently advertising three lectureship posts - University Lecturer in Coastal Processes, and two University Lecturer in Human Geography posts.

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# Professor Phil Gibbard awarded the André Dumont Medal

Professor Phil Gibbard awarded the André Dumont Medal

Professor Phil Gibbard was awarded the André Dumont Medal by Geologica Belgica, the Belgian national geological society, on 1 April 2014 in Ghent. The medal was presented in recognition of Phil's achievements in Quaternary Geology.

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# Geography graduate students win top two prizes at prestigious conference

Geography graduate students win top two prizes at prestigious conference

Graduate students in the Department of Geography have won the top two prizes for presentations at the 2014 Student Conference in Conservation Science. Maria Nube Szephegyi, a Uruguayan student who is a Masters in Conservation Leadership student, won First Prize for her talk describing how she combined years of good science with committed leadership to improve understanding and conservation of the Franciscana dolphin. Lauren Evans, a PhD student, won Second Prize for her talk about fence-breaking behaviour among elephants in Kenya. We congratulate them both!

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# More calories from fewer sources means more profit and less nutrition

More calories from fewer sources means more profit and less nutrition

David Nally published a column in The Conversation on the rapid narrowing of global food sources and its consequences for human, animal and ecological health.

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# Doran Lecture

Doran Lecture

On 18 March 2014, Dr Bhaskar Vira will deliver the seventh lecture of the Doran Fund Annual Lecture Series, hosted by The Faculty of Social Sciences at the Hebrew University Jerusalem. The subject of the lecture is: 'Boundaries, thresholds and limits: exploring the political economy of population, resources and development in the 21st century'.

The D.B. Doran Fund in Population, Resources and Economic Development has provided generous support for the annual lecture. The lecture is associated with the Glocal Community-Development Studies programme, which is a new MA program at the Faculty of Social Science, providing tools for the effective translation of academic perspectives into practical know-how conducive to work with communities across the globe.

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# Cambridge Literary Festival

Cambridge Literary Festival

On April 5th, 2014 Dr. David Nally will take part in a panel discussion at the Cambridge Literary Festival on the subject of 'global food security'. He will be joined by with Ottoline Leyser, Director of the Sainsbury Laboratory, and Lizzie Collingham, historian and author of The Taste of War. The conversation will take place in the Winstanley Lecture Theatre from 4-5pm.

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# Julian Dowdeswell awarded the IASC Medal for 2014

Julian Dowdeswell awarded the IASC Medal for 2014

Julian Dowdeswell has been awarded the IASC Medal for 2014 by the International Arctic Science Committee 'as a World leader in the field of Arctic glaciology'. The committee also highlighted Prof. Dowdeswell's outreach and communication activities which have been instrumental for public understanding of Arctic change. The full citation for the award is on the IASC website.

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# Prof. Jon Harbor: Reconstructing spatial & temporal patterns of past glaciation of the Tibetan Plateau, Tian Shan, & Altai Mountains using geomorphic mapping & cosmogenic radionuclide dating

Prof. Jon Harbor: Reconstructing spatial & temporal patterns of past glaciation of the Tibetan Plateau, Tian Shan, & Altai Mountains using geomorphic mapping & cosmogenic radionuclide dating

Prof. Jon Harbor, Purdue University, Lafayette, Illinois, will be speaking on Thursday February 20th on the subject of "Reconstructing spatial & temporal patterns of past glaciation of the Tibetan Plateau, Tian Shan, & Altai Mountains using geomorphic mapping & cosmogenic radionuclide dating".

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# Overtopping not river bank failure

Overtopping not river bank failure

The Department's Dr Tom Spencer, and others from the British Society for Geomorphology, have written to The Times to highlight the important role of geomorphology in understanding the current storms and floods (14 February 2014): 'Sir, your vivid front page aerial image of the Thames flooding ("water world', Feb 11) shows the severity of the situation and the consequences of the recent weather. However, to say that "the Thames burst its banks" is not correct. Rivers do occasionally burst through embankments but in British rivers when there is too much water for the channel to contain, the channel is overtopped and water spills onto the floodplain. This is not just semantics but rather, as geomorphologists know, it is key to understanding what solutions to the problem will eventually be needed, because dredging cannot provide channels large enough to contain the amount of water being rained upon us. Ken Gregory, Heather Viles, David Sear, Steve Darby and Tom Spencer British Society for Geomorphology'.

# Professor Paul Robbins, Distinguished International Fellow in Cambridge February 10-14

Professor Paul Robbins, Distinguished International Fellow in Cambridge February 10-14

Professor Paul Robbins, Director of the Nelson Institute at the University of Madison-Wisconsin, will be visiting us from February 10th-14th. Paul is the Department's first Distinguished International Fellow. He brings with him a wealth of expertise in the field of political ecology. He is the author of the analysis of the ecology of suburban American lawns in his book Lawn People: How Grasses, Weeds, and Chemicals Make Us Who We Are, in which he famously asked "how did the needs of grass come to be my own?". During his week long visit, he will be giving a departmental seminar, an early career researcher seminar, and a public lecture, as well as interacting with researchers.

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# Book prize: Atlas of Epidemic Britain: a Twentieth Century Picture

Book prize: Atlas of Epidemic Britain: a Twentieth Century Picture

Professor Andrew Cliff and Professor Matthew Smallman-Raynor (School of Geography, University of Nottingham) together won the British Medical Association's prize for the best new book in public health, 2013, and the overall prize for the best medical book, 2013, for their full colour Atlas of Epidemic Britain: a Twentieth Century Picture (Oxford University Press). Using nearly 500 new maps, charts and photographs, this Atlas views a century of change - the ebb and flow of infection - in Britain's epidemic landscape. It maps and interprets the time-space tapestry woven in twentieth century Britain by the uneven retreat of some infectious diseases, the emergence of new infections, and the re-emergence of historic plagues. The Atlas summarises the epidemics caused by different pathogens, their current status and the probability of future control.

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# Brave New Epoch: a search for humankind's mark on the Earth

Brave New Epoch: a search for humankind's mark on the Earth

Paul Crutzen, an atmospheric chemist began popularising the idea of the Anthropocene in 2001, citing evidence such as humanity's alterations of biodiversity and our changing of the climate through the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Scientists agree that evidence of these and other global changes will leave a lasting impression in the geological record. However, the Anthropocene is not recognised by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS), the body which safeguards the geological time scale. Jan Zalasiewicz's efforts may change that—his ICS working group wishes to formalise the Anthropocene time division.

Other geologists argue that the Anthropocene may not be suitable for the geological timescale at all. One critic, Philip Gibbard, a Cambridge stratigrapher and member of the ICS working group, says the time in which we now live should be called the Late Holocene, because it is consistent with this most recent official Epoch. "For the Anthropocene to merit formal definition, a global signature distinct from that of the Holocene is required that is marked by novel biotic, sedimentary, and geochemical change," Gibbard wrote in a paper published last year. (article by Billings, in Nautilus 2014).

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# Assessing coastal ‘bio-buffers’ from space

Assessing coastal ‘bio-buffers’ from space

The Cambridge Coastal Research Unit of the University of Cambridge participates in a 2.8 M Euros EU research project to use satellites and ecosystems in flood risk management strategies.

The European 7th Framework Programme (SPACE) is funding a consortium of five European institutions (including the University of Cambridge) from the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Romania and Spain to work on the FAST project (Foreshore Assessment using Space Technology). FAST started this month (January 2014) and will last 4 years. The consortium will generate the first standardised tool for integrating ecosystem properties into flood risk management strategies. To achieve this objective, space technology and field measurements will be combined to study 8 foreshores and floodplain ecosystems in four European countries.

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# Cambridge in Davos

Cambridge in Davos

Professor Julian Dowdeswell has been at the World Economic Forum in Davos (22-25 January 2014), delivering an invited presentation on 'Glaciers, Ice Sheets and Environmental Change'. He is part of a Cambridge contingent that includes the Vice-Chancellor, Lord Martin Rees and Jon Hutton. They each spoke in a session on 'Cambridge Ideas' at the Forum. Julian has given interviews on the changing polar regions and their global implications in Davos and more information about Cambridge in Davos is available. A video of Julian's interview is available online.

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# Ash Amin awarded CBE in 2014 Queen's New Year's Honours for Contribution to Social Sciences

Ash Amin awarded CBE in 2014 Queen's New Year's Honours for Contribution to Social Sciences

Economic geographer Professor Ash Amin has been awarded a CBE for his services to Social Science. Amin is known for his work on, amongst other things, the economy as a cultural entity, the geographies of modern living and globalisation as an everyday process. Recently he has focused on cultures of calamity, the contemporary urban condition, and the rights of the poor, looking into urban cohesion and racial integration.

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# Chris Sandbrook appears on the BBC Radio 4 Shared Planet series

Chris Sandbrook appears on the BBC Radio 4 Shared Planet series

Chris Sandbrook, the Lecturer in Conservation Leadership, was interviewed as part of a programme about community conservation in the BBC Radio 4 Shared Planet series, first broadcast on Tuesday 14th January. You can listen to the interview, which starts about 18 minutes into the episode.

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# Departmental Seminar: Professor Alison Blunt on 'At Home in a Diaspora City: Urban Domesticities and Domestic Urbanism'

Departmental Seminar: Professor Alison Blunt on 'At Home in a Diaspora City: Urban Domesticities and Domestic Urbanism'

On Thursday 23rd of January, the Department of Geography welcomes Professor Alison Blunt (Queen Mary, University of London) who will be speaking on 'At Home in a Diaspora City: Urban Domesticities and Domestic Urbanism'. The seminar will begin at 4.30pm in the Small Lecture Theatre, with drinks to follow. Co hosted with the University's ESRC Doctoral Training Centre. All are welcome!

# Coastal Unit surveys storm surge levels

Coastal Unit surveys storm surge levels

A storm surge on 5-6 December 2013 threatened urban centres and rural communities around the southern North Sea in a similar way to such an event 60 years ago. Resulting in more than 2,000 deaths, the 1953 flood was western Europe's most devastating in 100 years in terms of loss of life, but catastrophe was averted this time by improvements in defences, early warning systems, integrated crisis management and storm surge forecasting. In the immediate aftermath of the surge, high resolution (Leica Viva GS08 GNSS system; all measurements with 3-D coordinate quality < 50mm, and typically < 20mm) measurements - from clear debris lines, erosional cliffing in earthen bank defence lines and water marks on buildings - of maximum water level elevations were obtained by teams from the Department's Cambridge Coastal Research Unit along the 45 km-long coastline of North Norfolk, eastern England. These measurements confirm that the December 2013 event was comparable to, and in places exceeded, 1953 flood levels. Of particular significance, however, is evidence for considerable alongshore variations in mean peak water level heights, with a maximum between-station difference of > 1.20 m. This variability reflects the combined effect of still water level (tide + surge) and wave runup, which has a strong local component. For this coastline of barrier islands, spits and tidal embayments, these observations point to the critical role played by geomorphic setting (open coast, tidal inlet, backbarrier) and coastal ecosystems (extent of mudflat, saltmarsh) in determining the actual pattern of storm surge impacts. These differences become critical when properties, infrastructure and lives are threatened by sea flooding. They highlight the need to take greater notice of such morphodynamic controls, both in improving hydrodynamic modelling and forecasting efforts and in fine-tuning early warning systems and strategic evacuation planning, in time for when the next 'big flood' threatens the vulnerable low-lying coasts of NW Europe.

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# 4 degree temperature rise will end vegetation 'carbon sink'

4 degree temperature rise will end vegetation 'carbon sink'

New research suggests that a temperature increase of 4 degrees is likely to cause vegetation carbon sinks to reach saturation, preventing plants from helping offset CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning. The research was coordinated by Andrew Friend of the Department of Geography, and is part of the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP), a unique community-driven effort to bring research on climate change impacts to a new level, with the first wave of research published this week in a special issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Carbon sinks are natural systems that drain and store carbon from the atmosphere, with vegetation providing many of the key sinks that prevent large amounts of CO2 from building up in our atmosphere. Major sinks are believed to be in the Amazon rainforest and the vast, circumpolar Boreal forest. As the world warms, these sinks become vulnerable to droughts and fires, which cause releases of carbon into the atmosphere. Low amounts of warming stimulate increased growth, but this saturates, and above 4 degrees the negative impacts outweigh the positive CO2 fertilization of photosynthesis (see figure, which shows future change in plant growth). A key new finding is the importance of uncertainty in carbon 'residence time' - the rate at which carbon is lost from the ecosystems. Models tend to focus on carbon uptake, but this study shows that carbon loss mechanisms are poorly understood and contribute the most to model differences. A change in 'research priorities' is called for greater emphasis on increasing our understanding of these loss components and how to model them.

Carbon will spend increasingly less time in vegetation as the negative impacts of climate change take their toll through factors such as increased drought levels - with carbon rapidly released back into the atmosphere where it will continue to add to global warming - read more.

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# Lakes discovered beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet using radar

This study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, reports the discovery using airborne radar of two subglacial lakes 800 metres below the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The two lakes are each roughly 8 to 10 square-kilometres in area, and at one point may have been up to three times larger than their current size.

Subglacial lakes are likely to influence the flow of the ice sheet which, in turn, impacts global sea-level change. The discovery of the lakes in Greenland will help researchers to understand how the ice will respond to changing environmental conditions.

The work was undertaken by Steve Palmer, Julian Dowdeswell, Poul Christoffersen and Toby Benham at the Institute, in collaboration with colleagues at the universities of Texas and Bristol.

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# The Storm Surge: In- and Outdoors!

The Storm Surge: In- and Outdoors!

The team of the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit of the Department of Geography has just returned from an experiment to investigate the effect of saltmarshes on high water levels and waves at one of the world's largest wave flumes in Hannover Germany, only to find a real storm surge battering their wave recording equipment on the UK coast. This is the first time ever that data has been collected over saltmarshes in such conditions – both in the flume and on the coast. Read more about the flume experiment and watch this space for more news on the latest UK storm surge.

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# Space for Giants

Space for Giants

The Independent newspaper has chosen the Charity Space for Giants for its Christmas Appeal. This was set up by Max Graham who did his PhD in the department (funded by a NERC/ESRC Studentship, co-supervised in Biological Anthropology), and was then a co-PI on a DEFRA Darwin Initiative Project in the department on Human Elephant Conflict in Kenya.

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# Departmental Seminar: Professor Anson Mackay on 'Unravelling Long-term Ecosystem Dynamics in Central Asia using Palaeoecology'

Departmental Seminar: Professor Anson Mackay on 'Unravelling Long-term Ecosystem Dynamics in Central Asia using Palaeoecology'

On Thursday 28th November, the Department of Geography welcomes Professor Anson W. Mackay (University College London) who will be speaking on 'Unravelling Long-term Ecosystem Dynamics in Central Asia using Palaeoecology'. The seminar will begin at 4.15 pm in the Small Lecture Theatre, with drinks to follow. All are welcome!

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# Research Seminar 21st November: Dr. Ariel Handel

Research Seminar 21st November: Dr. Ariel Handel

On Thursday 21st November in the Seminar Room in the Geography Department Dr. Ariel Handel (Minerva Humanities Center, Tel Aviv University and the French Research Center, Jerusalem) will present a research seminar entitled Soundscapes and Touchscapes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories: Chronic Uncertainty, Bodily Vulnerability and the Non-representational Condition. All are welcome!

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# Graduate student gives evidence to Parliament

Graduate student gives evidence to Parliament

One of the Department's graduate students, Lottie Birdsall-Strong (MPhil in Gender Studies), has just given evidence in front for a parliamentary committee on increasing the participation of women in sports.

Lottie discusses the extension of Title IX -- the American Equal Opportunity in Education Act which disallows discrimination in any education program receiving federal funds. Title IX is best known for its impact on increasing girls and women's participation in high school and collegiate athletics.

Lottie, supervised by Dr. Mia Gray, is currently researching the political and social barriers to replicating a version of Title IX within the British context.

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# Departmental Seminar Thursday Nov. 14th: Professor Andrew Barry

Departmental Seminar Thursday Nov. 14th: Professor Andrew Barry

On Thursday November 14th the Department welcomes Professor Andrew Barry (Dept. of Geography, University College London) who will be speaking on 'Interrogating the political situation: between science studies and the geography of politics' The seminar will begin at 4:15 pm in the Small Lecture Theatre, with drinks to follow. All are welcome!

Abstract: In this paper I draw a series of connections between two bodies of work. One derives from the long-standing concern of geographers, as well as political theorists and analysts, in the contingency, temporality and spatiality of political life, or what I term 'political situations'. The second develops from the established and abiding interest of historians and sociologists of science in the dynamics of scientific knowledge controversies, as well as recent attempts to 'map' controversies using digital methods. This broad tradition of research has inspired a series of studies by geographers and others of environmental scientific controversies relating to problems such as climate change, colony collapse disorder, nuclear waste and flood risk. Focusing on recent political events in Europe, I address both the limitations and the relevance of studies of scientific controversies to those interested in the geography of on-going political situations.

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# David Nally awarded Philip Leverhulme Prize

David Nally awarded Philip Leverhulme Prize

Dr David Nally has been awarded of one of the 2013 Philip Leverhulme Prizes for 2013. Twenty nine prizes were awarded this year across six disciplines, one of which was Geography.

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# Dissertation Prize

Dissertation Prize

Becky House, a Newnham student who graduated in 2013, has been awarded joint runner-up in the Historical Geography Research Group's undergraduate dissertation competition. Her dissertation was on 'Performing Prague's Heritage: The Performative Politics of Historical Walking Tours'.

# Library display: fieldwork in Bhutan

Library display: fieldwork in Bhutan

The Department of Geography Library is piloting a small display reflecting on fieldwork recently carried out in Bhutan. It is hoped that this will be the first of a series of small exhibitions showing the wide-ranging research interests of members of the department.

# 30-year-old mystery solved?

30-year-old mystery solved?

Clive Oppenheimer is among the authors of a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which identifies Mt. Rinjani, a volcano on Lombok Island in Indonesia, as the source of a colossal eruption that took place in 1257 AD. Previously, the eruption was only known of because it left traces of sulphur and ash in the polar regions that have been detected in ice cores. New geological, geochemical and radiocarbon evidence substantiates the link to Mt. Rinjani, in addition to Indonesian chronicles that describe a devastating 13th century eruption on Lombok.

The eruption released so much sulphur that it cooled summer temperatures in Europe, likely leading to poor harvests, and possibly famine. The city of Pamatan, seat of the former Lombok kingdom, may lie buried beneath pumice inviting discovery by archaeologists. The volcano's last eruptions took place in 2010 but were relatively minor. The research was led by Franck Lavigne at the Pantheon-Sorbonne University.

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# Departmental Seminar Series opens with 'Expecting the Best and the Worst from Synthetic Biology’

Departmental Seminar Series opens with 'Expecting the Best and the Worst from Synthetic Biology’

The Departmental Seminar Series 2013-2014 convenes its first seminar on Oct. 10th and welcomes Dr. Claire Marris (King's College London) who will be speaking on 'Expecting the Best and the Worst from Synthetic Biology'.

The seminar will be held from 16:15-18:00 in the Department's Small Lecture Theatre, with drinks to follow. All are welcome.

# Dr Ian Willis speaks at the Cambridge Alumni Festival 2013

Dr Ian Willis speaks at the Cambridge Alumni Festival 2013

Dr Ian Willis will give a talk entitled "Climate Change and the Greenland Ice Sheet" at this year's Cambridge University Alumni Festival. It will draw upon the latest research in this region of the Arctic, including his own work investigating the effects of ice sheet melting, surface lake filling and draining, and glacier acceleration. It takes place in the Lady Mitchell Hall, Sidgwick Avenue on Saturday 28th September, 1:30 – 2:30. Further details about this and other events can be found at the Alumni Festival website.

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# A new application for the International Chronostratigraphic Chart!

A new application for the International Chronostratigraphic Chart!

The International Commission on Stratigraphy's (ICS) Chronostratigraphic Chart, designed and produced by Stan Finney (California State University - Long Beach), Kim Cohen (University of Utrecht) and Phil Gibbard, published in January 2013, has been adapted for Shell BV's headquarters in The Hague, The Netherlands. Originally published in English the chart is now available in French, Chinese, Norwegian, Basque and Spanish language versions.

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# Glaciologists at SPRI to explore Antarctic source of sea level rise

Glaciologists at SPRI to explore Antarctic source of sea level rise

Researchers at ten British universities, the British Antarctic Survey and the National Oceanography Centre are teaming up in a mission that aims to discover what is causing the recent rapid loss of ice from the Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica. The research project, which is funded by the National Environmental Research Council and known as iSTAR, is important for understanding sea-level rise, a global phenomenon which has major implications for coastal cities and environments around the world. The Cambridge University scientists contributing to the project are Dr Marion Bougamont, Dr Poul Christoffersen and Professor Liz Morris. All three are glaciologists at the Scott Polar Research Institute.

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# The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory

American television production company Warner Brothers will use the International Commission on Stratigraphy's International Chronostratigraphic Chart. The chart will appear in the next episode of their networked series 'The Big Bang Theory' which involves a geologist. The Chart was designed by Philip Gibbard, Kim Cohen (University of Utrecht) and Stan Finney (California State University - Long Beach).

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# Professor Ron Martin appointed as member of Government's Chief Scientific Officer's Foresight Project on the Future of Cities

Professor Ron Martin appointed as member of Government's Chief Scientific Officer's Foresight Project on the Future of Cities

Professor Ron Martin has been appointed to the Expert Group that will lead the Foresight project on the Future of Cities just launched by the Sir Mark Walport, the Government's Chief Scientific Officer. This two-year project will seek to determine what Britain's cities will look like over the next 25-50 years, what sort of challenges they are likely to face, and what sort of policies will be needed to ensure our cities will be able meet those challenges and how far they can be made prosperous, sustainable and liveable spaces.

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# New book on interdisciplinary approaches to temporary work and unfree labour

New book on interdisciplinary approaches to temporary work and unfree labour

Routledge Studies in Employment and Work Relations in Context has just published a new collection, edited by Dr. Kendra Strauss (Cambridge) and Professor Judy Fudge (University of Victoria), on Temporary Work, Agencies and Unfree Labour: Insecurity in the New World of Work.

The book brings together contributions from geographers, labour lawyers and political scientists to explore new and evolving forms intermediation and unfreedom in contemporary labour markets. Grounded in geographical case studies, the chapters examine processes of regulatory and labour market change in Europe, North America, China and Africa.

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# Cambridge Geography ranked best degree by the Guardian University Guide

Cambridge Geography ranked best degree by the Guardian University Guide

The Guardian University Guide has once again given top place to the Geography Degree at Cambridge for 2014.

Our online course guide has full details on the Geography Degree at Cambridge.

The Head of Department, Professor Susan Owens, said:

"We are delighted to have achieved first place in the Guardian list once again – a reflection of the enormous effort and enthusiasm which goes into the design and delivery of our undergraduate courses."

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# Ron Martin gives the Annual Gregory Lecture

Ron Martin gives the Annual Gregory Lecture

On 22 May, Ron Martin gave the 21st Annual Gregory Lecture at the University of Southampton. Every year an internationally leading geographer is selected to give this prestigious public lecture in the fields of physical, human or environmental geography. Ron's lecture was on "Resilience and the Economic Landscape".

# Professor Keith Richards awarded Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society

Professor Keith Richards awarded Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society

Professor Keith Richards has been awarded the Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society. This is one of the two Royal Medals awarded by the Society each year, as approved by HM The Queen. The Medal has been awarded to Keith 'for the encouragement and development of physical geography and fluvial geomorphology', and will be presented at the AGM on 3rd June.

# Climate change: can nature help us?

Climate change: can nature help us?

Flooding, landslides, crop failure, water shortages. Across the globe, the frequency with which humans are suffering the ill effects of climatic variability and extreme weather events is on the increase. Can natural environments be used effectively to help people adapt to the effects of climate change? The first systematic review of this question – facilitated by the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) Collaborative Fund for Conservation and involving three members of the Department of Geography – finds much evidence of their effectiveness.

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# Kelby Hicks

Kelby Hicks

Members of the Department of Geography have been saddened by the sudden and untimely death of Kelby Hicks, a volcanologist and PhD student in the Department. Our heartfelt sympathies go to his family and friends.

A memorial service was held in St Edmund's College chapel on Friday 26 April at 1.30pm.

# Archaeologists say that the 'Anthropocene' is here - but it began long ago

Archaeologists say that the 'Anthropocene' is here - but it began long ago

Professor Phil Gibbard joined Bruce Smith from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, USA, for a Science Live web chat discussion entitled 'Archaeologists say that the 'Anthropocene' is here - but it began long ago'. It took place on Thursday 25 April 2013 and can be watched on the Science website.

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# Masters in Conservation Leadership students shine alongside Sir David Attenborough at CCI Conservation Campus launch

Masters in Conservation Leadership students shine alongside Sir David Attenborough at CCI Conservation Campus launch

Students from the Masters in Conservation Leadership were privileged to attend an inspiring and insightful lecture by Sir David Attenborough in the University of Cambridge Senate House on 2nd April. The event was attended by over 400 guests from across the University and associated conservation organisations in and around Cambridge, to mark the official launch of the Cambridge Conservation Campus.

Four students gave short presentations about how the Masters will help shape their conservation careers, and what being a part of the Cambridge experience and CCI means to them. Following the lecture, all seventeen students attended a drinks reception at which they and invited guests, met Sir David in the company of the Vice-Chancellor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz and guest of honour HRH Duke of Edinburgh.

The Campus, due to be completed towards the end of 2015, will become the hub for the world's largest conservation cluster, the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI). It will be an international centre of interdisciplinary collaboration and outreach that will transform research, learning and leadership, and policy and practice, for the benefit of biodiversity and humanity.

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# Debating the right to food

Debating the right to food

Dr Bhaskar Vira and Dr David Nally have written a short piece for The Guardian Poverty Matters website, and for Al Jazeera, discussing the recent adoption of a National Food Security Bill by the Indian cabinet, and its implications for wider debates about the Right to Food, welfare and social security. These issues will be discussed at an event organised by Dr Vira and Dr Nally at King's Place in London, being held on Monday 8 April as part of the University Strategic Research Initiative on Global Food Security, at which particpants will debate issues relating to the Right to Food.

One of the participants in the London debate, Mr Harsh Mander, who is Special Commissioner on the Right to Food to the Indian Supreme Court, will be visiting the Department this week. He will participate in a research workshop on food security in India, on Tuesday, and deliver a public lecture in the Department entitled 'Inequality and Indifference: the Indian Story' at 11 am on Wednesday 10 April.

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# Last letter of Captain Scott finally revealed in full - 101 years on

Last letter of Captain Scott finally revealed in full - 101 years on

A letter written by the dying Captain Scott - one of only two remaining in private hands - can be revealed in full for the first time after being acquired by the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge.

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# Gang labour in the UK on Radio 4, Thinking Allowed

Gang labour in the UK on Radio 4, Thinking Allowed

Dr Kendra Strauss from the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge and Professor Ben Rogaly from the Department of Geography, University of Sussex will discuss labour exploitation on Radio 4's Thinking Allowed program on Wednesday March 27th, 4pm. The programme will include a discussion of Dr. Strauss's 2012 Antipode paper 'Unfree Again: Social Reproduction, Flexible Labour Markets and the Resurgence of Gang Labour in the UK'.

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# The Geographical Unconscious: mapping the supernatural in current research

The Geographical Unconscious: mapping the supernatural in current research

Polar Social Science and Humanities Workshop, 10th April 2013. Scott Polar Research Institute, 1.30-5.30pm.

Recent decades have witnessed the release of a multitude of studies looking at imaginative and spiritual geographies, maps and monsters, and the psychical landscape of the supernatural. Taken together, this corpus has acted to problematise any reductionist "breaks" which theorise a "decline of magic" (Keith Thomas) or "disenchantment of the world" (Max Weber) in modernity. During this period human geography has undertaken "affectual" and "emotional" turns, while researchers in cultural and literary studies have been working with the "supernatural turn" of the "uncanny nineties". Maintaining a broad field of vision, the theme of this workshop is the geographical unconscious. This meeting brings together contributions ranging from early modern studies to the Arctic humanities to examine and compare the political and cultural agencies at work.

We invite our contributors to present 20-25 minute papers which would set out their current approaches and subjects in an area currently at the centre of several critical developments in the humanities and social sciences. What is the relationship between particular places and their supernatural inhabitants? Can we speak of spirits of place? How do scientific travellers and explorers appeal to the world of dreams, memories, and desires in their practices? What role does haunting play in narratives of life and death? Can otherness ever be accurately mapped?

For more info and to RSVP contact Dr Shane McCorristine.

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# Arts of the Political: New Openings for the Left

Arts of the Political: New Openings for the Left

A new book by Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift has been published: Arts of the Political: New Openings for the Left (Duke University Press, March 2013). A sample chapter can be accessed online.

"Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift provoke us to ask what are the new ways of being human in the twenty-first century and what are the new forms of political action to meet these challenges."—David Stark, author of The Sense of Dissonance: Accounts of Worth in Economic Life.

# Cost of Conservation debate at Science Festival

Cost of Conservation debate at Science Festival

Dr Bhaskar Vira and Dr Chris Sandbrook are taking part in a panel discussion on 'The Cost of Conservation' on the first day of the 2013 University of Cambridge Science Festival. The discussion will be held on Monday 11 March, 8 pm - 9 pm in the Mill Lane Lecture Rooms. The event is co-organised and convened with collaborators from the Cambridge Conservation Initiative.

The event will focus on the potential role and risks of using market-led approaches to promote biodiversity conservation and the protection of natural resources. There is a growing mainstream consensus around the 'win-win' possibilities for economic growth and environmental protection offered by processes like environmental valuation and cost-benefit analysis, as well as Payments for Ecosystem Services. However, critics suggest that these approaches neglect the larger contradictions between current global production and consumption processes and the resource constraints of a finite planet; furthermore, there is a risk that market-driven processes will enhance the dispossession and displacement of vulnerable communities, and fail to address global inequality. Some of these issues are reviewed in a paper jointly authored by Dr Sandbrook and Dr Vira (with Dr Janet Fisher at the University of Exeter), which is soon to be published in Geoforum.

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# Retribution and restoration: Bosnia on trial

Retribution and restoration: Bosnia on trial

Twenty years after Bosnia was devastated by civil war, ordinary people who witnessed, or were the targets of horrific war crimes, are still not getting the support they need from a process designed to bring the perpetrators to justice. Cambridge University reports on research by Dr. Alex Jeffrey.

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# Icy debate on BBC’s ‘The Forum’

Icy debate on BBC’s ‘The Forum’

Poul Christoffersen can be heard on the BBC World Service after his recent return from Antarctica, to debate "Ice" with fellow scientist Mary Albert and visual artist Camille Seaman. The debate is a journey into the wilderness of polar regions and the panelists explain how they are confronted by impacts from climate change.

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# Water under the ice

Water under the ice

Craig Stewart, PhD student and recipient of the Scott Centenary Scholarship, talks to The New Zealand Herald about floating ice shelves in a warming climate. The interview took place in a remote camp on the Ross Ice Shelf, and during the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key's visit to Antarctica. Craig's PhD research at the Scott Polar Research Institute aims to understand how ocean currents affect the Ross Ice Shelf, a large (487,000 km2) floating part of the Antarctic ice sheet.

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# The journals of William Hooper: Inuit ethnographer and evangelical

The journals of William Hooper: Inuit ethnographer and evangelical

The Arctic humanities are a broad and developing field, encompassing subjects from the social impact of environmental change to the use of indigenous mapping techniques in western geographical knowledge. Taking a broad historical and circumpolar perspective, this seminar series explores the encounters and engagements between different actors, communities, and systems of knowledge in the Arctic. How do historical encounters and passages continue to shape issues of contemporary governance in the polar regions? This seminar series showcases the interdisciplinary strengths of the Scott Polar Research Institute while also engaging with the research of visiting and invited scholars.

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# Our natural wave buffers

Our natural wave buffers

A storm surge in the North Sea caused catastrophic flooding on the coast of eastern England on 31 January 1953. The flood inundated more than 65,000 hectares of land, damaged 24,000 houses and around 200 important industrial premises, resulting in 307 deaths in the immediate flooding phase.

The Cambridge Coastal Research Unit in the Department of Geography is part of the Natural Environment Research Council's CBESS project, investigating the role of saltmarshes and coastal ecosystems in reducing flood damage. The project features in an article by BBC Science editor David Shukman on 31st January 2013 and in a Cambridge University feature on the research. See also a BBC News piece on iPlayer.

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# The future of smallholder farming

The future of smallholder farming

In an blog published in The Guardian David Nally and Bhaskar Vira argue that smallholder farmers are too often ignored in schemes designed to improve food security. A longer version of the article was posted online at Al Jazeera.

The issues raised both articles were debated at the second of three public debates on Global Food Security organised by members of Cambridge's Strategic Initiative on Global Food Security. The final debate on food distribution and waste will take place in King's Place London on April 8th.

# Dr Iris Möller calls for new priorities in coastal management policy

Dr Iris Möller calls for new priorities in coastal management policy

Dr Iris Möller calls for new priorities in coastal management policy in the October issue of Public Service Review.

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# The Magic of Mud

The Magic of Mud

Cambridge coastal scientists are heading to the unlikely locations of Essex and Morecambe Bay to prove that coastal salt marshes and mud flats protect from storms.

The Cambridge Coastal Research Unit (CCRU) of the Department of Geography in Cambridge has been part of a large team of coastal specialists carrying out a detailed investigation into the benefits humans derive from our muddy coast. From the storage of greenhouse gases, to the benefit as a natural buffer between stormy seas and the people that live near them, the CBESS project aims to discover the true value of this coastal wilderness.

Dr Möller, Lecturer in Physical Geography at Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge, and co-investigator on the project, says "The measurement of waves in these environments is an immense challenge. To avoid the damage to sophisticated measuring equipment, highly resilient pressure sensors have to be mounted on the muddy surface. When the tide comes in and waves travel over them, pressure on a diaphragm varies very quickly. These pressure variations can be converted into records of high-frequency water level variations (i.e. waves) and waves can be tracked as they move across the mud and the plants. We already know that some of the Essex marshes regularly reduce the energy of waves by up to 90% over a distance of 80 metres or so."

The CCRU's research is part of a six year NERC-funded programme involving 14 research institutions and led by the University of St Andrews.

The realisation that coastal ecosystems fulfil important functions that benefit society does not come before its time. Dr Spencer, Director of the CCRU, says "the risk of coastal flooding in many areas is likely to increase due to sea-level rise and possible near-future increases in storminess and extensive residential, industrial and infrastructural development in vulnerable areas. A more nuanced approach to coastal engineering is now needed, which not only considers hard structures but also investigates the role of coastal ecosystems in coastal risk reduction and how, through 'hybrid engineering', both types of approach to coastal defence can be brought together to reduce risks at the coast and provide a long-term and robust response to the threat of catastrophic coastal flooding."

A total of 42 wave recording devices have been installed at three marshes on the Essex coast and two marshes in Morecambe Bay, continuously streaming data back to Cambridge via mobile phone telemetry.

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# Snow Lab

Snow Lab

Snow Lab is a scientific project to study snow, which needs lots of volunteers to help take measurements. It is being run by Dr Gareth Rees, who is based at the Scott Polar Research Institute. At present, Snow Lab is only looking for volunteers from schools in Cambridgeshire although in future we hope to run it for the whole of the UK. So if you are at a school in Cambridgeshire, and there's snow on the ground (or might be), and you think you might like to get involved, please have a look at the Snow Lab website.

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# Reducing deforestation in the Amazon

Reducing deforestation in the Amazon

A Conservation Leadership alumnus, Francisco Oliveira Filho, is heading the efforts of the Brazilian Government to reduce deforestation and land clearance in the Amazon.

His work involves detecting and deterring illegal clearances of forest using helicopters and satellite imagery, and confiscations and arrests, as recently featured in the Guardian newspaper.

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# "Highest Camp in Antarctica" rediscovered atop active volcano after 100 years

"Highest Camp in Antarctica" rediscovered atop active volcano after 100 years

Precisely one century after members of Captain Scott's Terra Nova Expedition climbed Mount Erebus, Clive Oppenheimer has located their highest campsite, and retraced their ascent of Antarctica's most active volcano.

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# Subaltern agents of colonialism in Solomon Islands

Subaltern agents of colonialism in Solomon Islands

Tim Bayliss-Smith has published a book with Judy Bennett, Professor of History at University of Otago, New Zealand. The book is entitled An Otago Storeman in Solomon Islands: the Diary of William Crossan, Copra Trader, 1885-86. It is based on a recently discovered manuscript diary kept by a young New Zealander who traded on the violent frontier of early European contact in Island Melanesia. Crossan managed to survive and even trade successfully by establishing close relations with Sono, a Makira chief, who became effectively the middleman in a range of transactions. The diary reveals the complementary roles of two subaltern agents of colonialism, Crossan and Sono, in this remote corner of Queen Victoria's expanding Pacific empire.

Published in Canberra by ANU E Press, the entire book can be downloaded free as a PDF from the publisher's website. It was officially launched at the Pacific History Association Conference in Wellington, New Zealand, in early December.

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# International Workshop Examines War Crimes Trials in Bosnia and Herzegovina

International Workshop Examines War Crimes Trials in Bosnia and Herzegovina

An international workshop led by Dr Alex Jeffrey and held in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, has emphasised the disadvantaged position of victims and witnesses within war crimes trials in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The event was co-organised by the ESRC-funded Localising International Law research project (RES-061-25-0479) at the University of Cambridge and the Bosnian programme of the Swiss NGO TRIAL. The event included presentations by Dr. Jeffrey, Dr. Michaelina Jakala (Newcastle University), Selma Korjenić (TRIAL), Edin Ramulić (Izvor, Prijedor), Anisa Suceska-Vekić (Balkan Investigative Reporting Network) and Almir Alić (ICTY Sarajevo). Attendees included representatives from United States Department of Justice, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the United Nations Development Programme, Victims Associations and the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

A representative International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) remarked "the event offered a clear message that victims of crime have to come back to the centre of social attention and that they should be provided with legal support teams and representatives who would work for their own good, because in the current social reality perpetrators enjoy many more benefits offered by the judicial system then the victims." A representative of the US Department of Justice saw the research project and the workshop as a crucial intervention in debates concerning transitional justice in Bosnia: "the research should benefit anyone interested in working to develop and sustain effective criminal justice institutions and to promote the fair administration of justice for victims of war crimes. I came away with a much better understanding of how the public and victims perceive the court system in BiH. The attendees were true stakeholders; to hear about their specific experiences and views was extremely useful."

# QPG joins GSI3D as a Consortium Member

QPG joins GSI3D as a Consortium Member

GSI3D (Geological surveying and investigation in three dimensions) is a methodology and associated software tool for 3D geological modelling which enables quick and intuitive construction of 3D solid models of the subsurface for a wide range of applications. The methodology and software have been developed jointly by the British Geological Survey (BGS) and INSIGHT GmbH and are being applied by the BGS, where they are the modelling tools of choice. They are now available on general release as part of the not–for–profit GSI3D Research Consortium. The QPG, led by Professor Phil Gibbard, has been invited to join the consortium as a full member to assist with the evaluation and development of the three-dimensional mapping of superficial deposits in the British Isles and beyond.

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# Atlas of the Great Irish Famine wins book award

Atlas of the Great Irish Famine wins book award

The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine (Cork University Press 2012), in which Geography Department member Dr. David Nally has a chapter on the colonial dimensions of the Irish experience, has been awarded the International Education Services Best Irish-published Book of the Year. Through its 50 chapters (including contributions from over 60 scholars from the arts, geography, history, archaeology and folklore studies), The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine seeks to achieve a greater understanding of one of the world's worst subsistence crises. Including 400 images, 200 maps, and over 700 pages of text, The Atlas of the Great Irish Famine has already been reprinted three times since its publication in September 2012.

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# Pamela Anderson visits Department project in Honduras

Pamela Anderson visits Department project in Honduras

The TV actress, animal rights campaigner and environmentalist Pamela Anderson has visited Honduras to see for herself the work of The Inga Foundation (TIF). TIF is a UK charity founded by Mike Hands, a Research Associate of the Department, to promote sustainable agroforestry based on the rainforest tree Inga. TIF's work builds upon the results from several EU-funded projects that investigated nutrient cycling and agroforestry in tropical rainforest environments (Tim Bayliss-Smith, Bryon Bache and Michael Hands, principal investigators).

Pamela Anderson was accompanied by her brother and they spent several days in Honduras. They were based at the TIF demonstration farm and travelled with Mike Hands and his staff to sites of Inga agroforestry in the Cuero and Cangregal valleys. This is an area of degraded rainforest that is the focus of TIF projects that help poor farmers to establish Inga-based alley cropping to provide a sustainable alternative to slash-and-burn agriculture.

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# Physical Principles of Remote Sensing

Physical Principles of Remote Sensing

The third edition of Gareth Rees's book Physical Principles of Remote Sensing has been published by Cambridge University Press. The first edition appeared in 1990, when the field of Remote Sensing was much younger. This new and enlarged edition brings the book up to date and introduces a number of new elements including online materials.

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# Race and the 'Pink Tide': Race relations in left-leaning Latin American countries

Race and the 'Pink Tide': Race relations in left-leaning Latin American countries

Sarah Radcliffe, from the Department, took part in a panel discussion on 'Race and the Pink Tide' in the Institute of the Americas, University College London, on 21 November. She talked about her current research around indigenous rights, citizenship and postcolonial racial hierarchies in Ecuador.

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# Feeding Seven Billion: Global Food Security debates

Feeding Seven Billion: Global Food Security debates

Should genetically modified crops be seen as a solution to the challenges of global food security? How should we deal with concerns about the transparency of food labelling, the regulation and control of biotechnologies, and the right to make informed choices about consumption choices? These issues inform a broader debate about the challenges of feeding the world through the 21st century. In a blog post on The Guardian website, Bhaskar Vira and David Nally argue that proponents of biotechnlogy need to recognise that its deployment has political, social and economic consequences which go beyond techno-centric debates about efficiency and effectiveness.

The issues raised in this blog will be debated at a debate on 'Biotechnology, Intellectual Property and Twenty First Century Crops', which will be held at King's Place in London on November 26. The debate is the first in a series of three events being organised by Vira and Nally as part of the University's strategic research initiative on Global Food Security. Tickets for the event are available via the King's Place box office (020 7520 1490), and online.

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# A Geographical Perspective on the Great Irish Famine

A Geographical Perspective on the Great Irish Famine

Dr. David Nally, from the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge, gave an extended interview with Kathy Weston and Shane Lynch at Radio Verulam (Thursday October 4th), on the subject of his recent book, Human Encumbrances: Political Violence and the Great Irish Famine.

# Professor Sarah Whatmore, Departmental Seminar, October 18, 4.15pm

Professor Sarah Whatmore, Departmental Seminar, October 18, 4.15pm

Where natural and social science meet: Reflections on an experiment in geographical practice

Professor Sarah Whatmore (Oxford) will be kicking off a tremendous new series of speakers for the academic year with a seminar about the nature of interdisciplinarity in geography and the critical question concerning the relationship between the natural and social sciences.

The seminar will take place on October 18 at 4.15pm in the Seminar room of the Department of Geography. Visitors are welcome.

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# Understanding the relationship between biodiversity, carbon, forests and people

Understanding the relationship between biodiversity, carbon, forests and people

At the Eleventh Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in Hyderabad, India on 16 October 2012, Dr Bhaskar Vira will be presenting findings from a new assessment carried out by a Global Forest Expert Panel on Biodiversity, Forest Management and REDD+, coordinated by the Vienna-based International Union of Forest Research Organizations.

Ongoing conversion of forests to agriculture is still a major cause of global biodiversity loss on Earth. Furthermore, deforestation is the second largest source of carbon dioxide emissions induced by humans, after fossil fuel emissions. The UN initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD+) can bring positive impacts for biodiversity and carbon, but Dr Vira's work for the assessment highlights the need to prioritise social and economic objectives alongside environmental concerns to increase the likelihood of more equitable and efficient outcomes. Inadequate recognition of tenure and management rights often excludes the poor and most vulnerable groups from access, benefits and decision-making authority in forests. Ultimately, outcomes will largely depend upon how well new initiatives under REDD+ are able to learn from past institutional and governance lessons in the forestry sector. The challenge should not be underestimated; it is far from straightforward to genuinely alter the political and economic asymmetries that have so far sustained inequities and exclusion from important livelihood assets in REDD+ target countries.

# Modelling impacts of a warming world across sectors

Modelling impacts of a warming world across sectors

A major new community-driven modelling effort aims to quantify one of the gravest of global uncertainties: the impact of climate change on the world's food, health, vegetation, and water. An international group of researchers is working on the joint fast-track project, 'ISI-MIP', to attempt the first systematic quantification of uncertainties surrounding climate change impacts on these sectors.

Dr Andrew Friend, from the Department of Geography, is coordinating the analysis of results concerning changes to the world's biomes. As the results of each group's simulations become available over the coming months, the data will be assembled and compared in Cambridge. The impacts models use output from the latest global climate simulations and the results will feed into the next IPCC report, due out in 2014. A particular focus of the project is the relative impact of warming across the range of Representative Concentration Pathways used in the IPCC process, with impacts analysed to enable quantification of the benefits of keeping warming below 2 degrees by the end of this century, to aid policy makers.

Dr Andrew Friend is on the Editorial Committee of an upcoming Special Issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences which will be dedicated to the ISI-MIP project, and is on the Scientific Steering Committee of the World Climate Impacts Conference, IMPACTS WORLD 2013, to be held in Berlin next summer. This conference will bring together climate-change impacts scientists, decision makers, stakeholders, and NGOs who rely on topical research, and will lay the foundations for a more integrated impacts community.

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# Cambridge Conservation Seminars

Cambridge Conservation Seminars

The series is designed to provide a weekly social focus for all University conservation researchers from departments including Zoology, Plant Sciences, Geography, Land Economy, Judge Business School and Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership. Members of conservation organisations based in Cambridge are also most welcome to attend.

The series runs every Wednesday during Michaelmas and Lent terms. All seminars begin at 5pm in Geography's Large Lecture Theatre, and everyone is welcome..

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# Professor Neil Smith, 1954-2012

Professor Neil Smith, 1954-2012

It is with great sadness that the Department has learnt of the untimely death of Neil Smith, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and one of the leading Geographers of his generation. Faculty, staff and students in the Department of Geography wish to express our condolences to his family and to those closest to him.

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# Multidisciplinary research maps human migration out of Africa

Multidisciplinary research maps human migration out of Africa

A major new study has significantly advanced our understanding of the timing and direction of human migration out of Africa. By combining data on the genetics of modern populations, climate change, and vegetation productivity the authors were able to build the most detailed reconstruction of human history to date. According to Dr Andrew Friend, one of the authors of the study, "it is extremely exciting that the picture of human history derived by bringing together models of genetics, climate, and vegetation is largely consistent with the one derived from archaeological evidence". One key finding was that climate prevented humans from exiting Africa until a favourable window appeared in North-East Africa approximately 70-55 thousand years ago. Most movement occurred through the so-called Southern Route, exiting Africa via the Bab-el-Mandeb strait into the Arabian Peninsula. The work is published today, 17 September, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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# Geologists drive golden spike toward Anthropocene's base

Geologists drive golden spike toward Anthropocene's base

Twelve years ago, Paul Crutzen, a Nobel laureate and atmospheric chemist, coined the term 'Anthropocene' as shorthand, an argument wrapped in a word. Geology had long relegated humanity to the sidelines, but in recent history, the human fingerprint on the Earth had grown too deep to be ignored, he said. We had created our own geological time. The world had left the Holocene behind and entered an epoch of humanity, writes Paul Voosen, E&E reporter.

Professor Phil Gibbard, in his role as the chair of the International Commission on Stratigraphy's Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy, is playing a lead role in the discussions concerning the possibility of the term 'Anthropocene' being formally defined and therefore forming the youngest division in the Geological Time Scale.

Read more …

# The Improvised State: Sovereignty, Performance and Agency in Dayton Bosnia

The Improvised State: Sovereignty, Performance and Agency in Dayton Bosnia

A new book, The Improvised State, by Dr. Alex Jeffrey analyses attempts to establish the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina since the end of the conflict in 1995. Rather than viewing the state as a structure or institution, the book examines how different performances of sovereignty have co-existed in Bosnia, each struggling to attract legitimacy and convey authority. At a time of increasing attempts to construct sovereign states after violent conflict, The Improvised State points to the limitations of international intervention and the forms of fragmented politics that it can foster.

The Improvised State: Sovereignty, Performance and Agency in Dayton Bosnia

Over the past 15 years, Bosnia and Herzegovina has served as a laboratory of techniques to re-establish state sovereignty and promote democracy. The post-conflict intervention in Bosnia has justifiably received great interest from political theorists and scholars of international relations who have explored the limitations of the institutions and policies of international intervention. This book begins from an alternative premise: rather than examining institutions or charting limitations, Jeffrey argues for a focus on the performance of state sovereignty in Bosnia as it has been practiced by a range of actors both within and beyond the Bosnian state. In focusing on the state as a process, he argues that Bosnian sovereignty is best understood as a series of improvisations that have attempted to produce and reproduce a stable and unified state. The Improvised State advances state theory through an illumination of the fragile and contingent nature of sovereignty in contemporary Bosnia and its grounding in the everyday lives of the Bosnian citizen.

The Improvised State provides a highly developed account of the nature and outcomes of Bosnian state practices since the Dayton Peace Agreement. Jeffrey presents new and significant theories, based on extensive fieldwork in Bosnia, which advance understanding of state building.

  • Provides a major contribution to recent academic debates as to the nature of the state after violent conflict, and offers invaluable insights into state building
  • Introduces the idea of state improvisation, where improvisation refers to a process of both performance and resourcefulness
  • Uses the theoretical framework of Pierre Bourdieu to explore how powerful agencies have attempted to present a coherent vision of Bosnia and Herzegovina following the conflict 1992-5
  • Advances our understanding of the Bosnian state by focusing on the practices of statecraft fostered in the post-Dayton era
  • Research based on four periods of residential fieldwork in Bosnia, which allowed a detailed analysis of political practices in the country

Reviews:

In this persuasive book, Alex Jeffrey illuminates the central role of performance in the production of state power and demonstrates in fascinating detail why and how this is so—and with what effects. The argument is thoroughly researched, contextually sensitive, and crisply written. The Improvised State is a compelling study for scholars, students, and practitioners working on state power, international organizations, and post-conflict societies, in Europe and elsewhere.—Merje Kuus, University of British Columbia

Consistently strong throughout its sections and chapters, Jeffrey has cemented his arguments with a good conceptual understanding, impressive fieldwork and primary research. The Improvised State is an original contribution to both the theoretical and research fields of political geography and critical international relations scholarship.— David Campbell, Honorary Professor, Durham University/University of Queensland

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# Cambridge Geography ranked best degree by the Guardian University Guide

Cambridge Geography ranked best degree by the Guardian University Guide

The Guardian University Guide has once again given top place to the Geography Degree at Cambridge for 2013.

Our online course guide has full details on the Geography Degree at Cambridge.

The Head of Department, Professor Susan Owens, said:

"We are delighted to have achieved first place in the Guardian list once again – a reflection of the enormous effort and enthusiasm which goes into the design and delivery of our undergraduate courses."

Read more …

# Alumni weekend 2012

Alumni weekend 2012

Dr David Nally, University Lecturer in Geography, will be giving a talk, as part of the Alumni Weekend 2012, on the subject of 'Colonial Improvement: Rethinking the Great Irish Famine' on Saturday 22nd September.

Also, a panel of five Cambridge Conservation Initiative experts, including Dr Bhaskar Vira, will come together for a roundtable discussion to offer their perspectives on how and why we should put a value on nature.

Read more …

# A hopeful sign of further democratic change in Burma

A hopeful sign of further democratic change in Burma

Dr Janice Stargardt has accepted an invitation as first Visiting Professor in the Archaeology of Burma and South East Asia in the Department of Archaeology, University of Yangon [Rangoon].

The post is endowed by the Open Society Foundations (funded by George Soros), who have previously supported the development of democratic institutions in Eastern Europe and now, in response to current openings, in Burma.

Janice Stargardt has published six books and monographs on South East Asian Archaeology, among them The Ancient Pyu of Burma. Volume 1, Early Pyu Cities in a Man-Made Landscape. Cambridge and Singapore, and is currently completing Volume 2, The Buddhist Archaeology of Sri Ksetra, due 2013. Twenty-five of her fifty peer-reviewed research articles are on the archaeology of Burma, mainly the Pyu. Four were adopted as background papers for the UNESCO/Myanmar intiative to add the Pyu cities to the World Heritage List. Her publications on the Pyu are used as teaching texts in the University of Yangon and the Department of Archaeology Field Training School at Sri Ksetra [Prome].

Other research includes excavations in Thailand, 1971-96, on ancient settlements, rice cultivation and irrigation, and the spread of Buddhism from South-East India, to Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand along with maritime trade. She has previously held Visiting Professorships in sixteen European and Asian universities, and her work has been translated into Burmese, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, French, German and Italian.

Read more …

# From Recipients to Donors: Emerging Powers and the Changing Development Landscape

From Recipients to Donors: Emerging Powers and the Changing Development Landscape

A new book, From Recipients to Donors, by Dr Emma Mawdsley examines the emergence, or re-emergence, of a large number of nations as partners and donors in international development, from global powers such as Brazil, China and India, to Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, to former socialist states such as Poland and Russia. The impact of these countries in international development has grown sharply, and as a result they have become a subject of intense interest and analysis.

Read more …

# Volcano expert comes in from cold for TV special

Volcano expert comes in from cold for TV special

Dr Clive Oppenheimer from Cambridge University's Department of Geography is taking part in Volcano Live, a four-night series on BBC television focusing on the power of volcanoes, broadcast from Kilauea on Hawaii, the world's most active peak.

Read more …

# Open Days for prospective Undergraduates - Thursday 5th & Friday 6th July 2012

Open Days for prospective Undergraduates - Thursday 5th & Friday 6th July 2012

Thinking of applying to Cambridge as an Undergraduate in Geography? Check out our prospectus and come to our open days:

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# Chris Jeans awarded the Collins Medal

Chris Jeans awarded the Collins Medal

Longstanding member of the Quaternary Palaeoenvironments Group, Chris Jeans has been awarded the Collins Medal for 2013 by the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland. He was already made an Honorary Fellow of the Society in 2011.

'The Collins Medal is awarded annually to a scientist who, during a long and active career, has made an outstanding contribution to pure or applied aspects of Mineral Sciences and associated studies. Publications, teaching, outreach and other activities leading to the promotion of mineral sciences, in the broadest sense, will be taken into account in making the award. Nominees do not have to be Members of the Mineralogical Society or nationals of Great Britain and Ireland.'

Read more …

# ESRC-NERC PhD Studentship

ESRC-NERC PhD studentship available. Project title 'Understanding and Policy Framing of Coastal Conservation under Sea Level Rise'. UK or EU applicants are eligible.

Read more …

# Philippa Williams appointed to three year fixed-term lectureship in Human Geography at Queen Mary, University of London

Philippa Williams has been appointed to a three year fixed-term lectureship in Human Geography at Queen Mary, University of London.

# Agroforestry and sustainability in the humid tropics

Agroforestry and sustainability in the humid tropics

Research in the Cambridge Geography Department on the nutrient dynamics of agroforestry in the humid tropics began more than twenty years ago. Recent work has led to the establishment of an organisation called The Inga Foundation, various impacts in Honduras, and a new documentary film, 'Up in Smoke'.

Read more …

# Land of Strangers - new book by Ash Amin

Land of Strangers - new book by Ash Amin

A new book, Land of Strangers, by Professor Ash Amin, examines the challenges of living with difference in western multicultural societies that perceive the future as uncertain and turbulent. Rejecting the uses of xenophobia that have arisen in response, but also proposals for closer inter-personal ties between minorities and majorities, the book turns instead to a politics of the commons. Focusing on encounters of race, imagined community, everyday living, collaborative work, and urban public space, the book claims primacy for the culture of the commons - its intensity and its plurality - in regulating dispositions towards the unknown. See more about the book, or listen to the podcast.

# The Scott Polar Research Institute and the Times World Atlas (13th ed.) Map of Greenland

The Scott Polar Research Institute and the Times World Atlas (13th ed.) Map of Greenland

SPRI scientists have been involved in discussions with HarperCollins during the production and review of a new insert to the Atlas, made public on 25th January 2012. We are pleased to have been able to contribute positively to this process, and that the end result of this controversy has been ultimately productive, leading to the publication by HarperCollins of a much improved map of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Read more …

# History of Chambers of Commerce

History of Chambers of Commerce

A new book by Bob Bennett on the History of Chambers of Commerce was published in October. It is already exciting new debate about the integration of the Atlantic economy in the 18th century, and the challenges of business organisations working as partners with government in the 21st century.

A major seminar at the British Academy on 15 February discussed the findings of the book. The event focused on the modern and historic dynamics of business associations, exploring the tensions between member or government demands, national or local action, services to individual businesses or collective voice, and noisy campaigns or quiet lobbying. A podcast of the event is available.

Local chambers of commerce were born in the 1760s-70s as protest bodies, driven by threats from government policies. They began in the large port cities in Britain, Ireland and the American colonies, diffusing to all smaller towns by the 1920s, their roles gradually transformed into advisors to government and partners in promoting local economies. Now chambers are one of the lead partners in the UK Coalition Government's Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) around England.

Bob Bennett's view on LEPs is that they offer a genuine hope for a bottom-up, business-led approach, compared to previous target-driven government-led initiatives typified by RDAs. However, LEPS are also experiencing challenges

  • The main activities are bidding for government funds.
  • There are very small core resources.
  • They have limited policy 'stretch', with little role in local planning decisions, transport strategy and other concerns that business view as priorities.

Bob has found that many business leaders are questioning whether LEPs are too much effort, for too little return.

Local Business Voice: The History of Chambers of Commerce in Britain, Ireland and Revolutionary America, 1760-2011, (OUP, 2011).

Bob has also put up a database of chamber statistical material, 1790-2005.

Read more …

# Volcano exhibitions

Volcano exhibitions

Volcanoes: beauty and menace, an exhibition of photographs of volcanoes and major volcanic eruptions, their hazards and consequences, is running weekdays until 5th April 2012. Venue: PandIS, New Museums Site.

Another exhibition, Frozen Volcano, ran from January 1st - February 4th 2012.

Dr Clive Oppenheimer also gave a talk on 3rd February, 'Monitoring volcanic gas emissions: from innovation to operational application'.

Read more …

# Liz Watson awarded Pilkington Teaching Prize

Liz Watson has been awarded one of this year's Pilkington Teaching Prizes. The awards are made by the Cambridge Foundation in recognition of excellence in teaching; they will be presented at a ceremony in June.

# David Harvey elected Honorary Fellow of St John's College

David Harvey elected Honorary Fellow of St John's College

It was announced on 23 January 2012 that David Harvey has been elected an Honorary Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge. David Harvey is currently Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the City University of New York (CUNY), but his first degree was from Cambridge.

He matriculated in 1954 at St John's College and continued to a Ph.D degree in 1961 – an historical geography of the Kentish hop industry. From Cambridge he moved to Bristol and then, in 1969, to Johns Hopkins University in USA. He was Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography at Oxford from 1973-87.

His most recent book The Enigma of Capital (2010) places the current financial crisis into the wider context of the history of capitalism, which Harvey regards as having achieved world domination through intrinsically amoral and lawless practices.

His various books, which include Limits to Capital (1982), The Condition of Postmodernity (1989) and The New Imperialism (2003), have been translated into at least fifteen languages.

# Whose fault is famine? Starvation in the face of plenty

Whose fault is famine? Starvation in the face of plenty

On March 5 Cambridge lecturer Dr David Nally spoke at 'Cafe Diplo', a weekly event hosted by Friends of Le Monde Diplomatique, on the historical causes of famine, with a particular focus on the similarities between the Irish Famine and those of the present day. The talk is now available on YouTube.

Nally's book, Human Encumbrances: Political Violence and the Great Irish Famine, was published by the University of Notre Dame Press (2011).

# Assessing protected area effectiveness

Assessing protected area effectiveness

A new study, led by Dr David Gaveau of Stanford University, co-authored by Professor Nigel Leader-Williams of the Department of Geography, and published in Conservation Letters, aims to measure whether parks and reserves in the tropics succeed in protecting forests. The new study disentangled the effects of regulations governing access in unprotected lands surrounding the 110,000 sq km protected area network on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Its results showed that measures of the effectiveness of protection differed according to the different land use regulations governing unprotected lands outside protected area boundaries.

Read more …

# Year 12 Geography and Land Economy Masterclass - Saturday 31st March 2012

Come and experience undergraduate teaching at Cambridge…

For the first time, the Year 12 Subject Masterclass series, run by the Cambridge Admissions Office, are offering a Masterclass in Geography and Land Economy. A chance for you to experience undergraduate teaching, speak to current Cambridge students, and hear about how to apply to two of the leading university courses in the world.

Read more …

# Talking Green Economy

Talking Green Economy

Bhaskar Vira was recently interviewed by the Green Economy Coalition. He explains how the current distribution of resources is skewed and an understanding of power structures is critical to achieve a more equitable resource distribution. Our political system must guarantee access to those who live closest to nature but often lack a strong voice.

Read more …

# Strengthening the bond between policy and science

Strengthening the bond between policy and science

The importance of scientific advice to public policy has long been recognised, however there is growing debate over how this relationship should be understood and managed. To address this, a study group chaired by Prof William Sutherland with four members of the Department of Geography (Dr Bravo, Dr Doubleday, Prof Owens and Prof Richards) brought together over fifty academics and policy makers to agree a new research agenda on the role of science in public policy.

The findings appeared in the leading interdisciplinary open-access journal, PLoS ONE, on Friday 9 March. The aim of this project was to identify key questions which, if addressed through focused research, could tackle important theoretical challenges and improve the mutual understanding and effectiveness of those who work at the interface of science and policy.

Read more …

# Science Festival 2012 events

Science Festival 2012 events

We have various events from 12th - 25th March 2012 for this year's Science Festival. Read more, or follow these links to each event:

# The Eruption after tomorrow

The Eruption after tomorrow

Imagine the perfect storm. A series of severe volcanic eruptions engulf the globe, spewing ash and sulphur into the atmosphere, causing widespread chaos on our intricate global economy, impacting our ability to grow food and grounding trans-continental air travel. This fantastic scenario was the subject of Dr Clive Oppenheimer's lecture Eruptions that shook the world on March 13 at this year's Cambridge Science Festival.

Read more …

# CUCAP - Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photography

CUCAP - Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photography

The Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photography (CUCAP) is the result of airborne survey campaigns which were started in 1947 by the pioneering JK St Joseph. Since then the collection has grown to almost 500,000 images of obliques and verticals in black and white, colour and infra-red. Virtually the whole of Britain has been covered, with the obliques depicting a wide variety of landscapes and features and the verticals being of survey quality, can be used in mapping projects.

Our new Online Catalogue lets you browse and search the collection.

Read more …

# Studentship: Emerging disease transmission in Western Uganda

Studentship: Emerging disease transmission in Western Uganda

New PhD Studentship: Emerging disease transmission in Western Uganda.

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# Can digital games and virtual worlds help us save nature?

Can digital games and virtual worlds help us save nature?

Can digital games and virtual worlds help us save nature? Conservation scientists Bruno Monteferri, Chris Sandbrook and Bill Adams explore whether computer gaming is a new frontier for conservation.

Deep in the rainforest, a monkey runs down a river, leaping from log to log over the mouths of the waiting crocs. So begins Congo Jones and the Loggers of Doom, a computer game that challenges players to work alongside local communities to protect the Congo rainforest from loggers. Offered free by a UK charity that supports indigenous peoples, the game is just one example of a new trend in the gaming industry towards games relevant for biodiversity conservation.

Read more …

# Studentship: Nippon Foundation Nereus Fellowship

Studentship: Nippon Foundation Nereus Fellowship

New studentship: Nippon Foundation Nereus Fellowship

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# John Pilkington - talk: "A Stroll through the 'Axis of Evil'"

John Pilkington - talk: "A Stroll through the 'Axis of Evil'"

John is an explorer, author, broadcaster and geography alumnus who went on a six-month Middle East journey, taking some stunning photos. Starting in Beirut, he unravelled a picture quite different from the news stories of the region, as he followed a winding route via the Euphrates and the Valleys of the Assassins to finish on the Persian Gulf. He met a spectacular variety of people - Druze, Maronites, Arabs, Kurds, Armenians, Azeris and both Shi'ite and Sunni Iranians - and to his surprise found families and whole communities working together to survive the harsh climate and political strife.

John has been called 'one of Britain's greatest tellers of travellers' tales'. His Radio 4 adventure travel programmes have won him wide acclaim, but it's probably for his thought-provoking talks and spellbinding photos that people know him best. Full details of this event ...

# MPhil courses

MPhil courses

The Department offers a range of MPhil courses, including our newest MPhil, MPhil in Conservation Leadership. The full list of MPhils we offer are:

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# Physical Geography / Environmental Science PhD Opportunities

Physical Geography / Environmental Science PhD Opportunities

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# Austerity: we are not all in it together

Austerity: we are not all in it together

Michael Kitson, Ron Martin (both of the Department), and Peter Tyler write about the impact of austerity, in a new blog post entitled "Austerity: we are not all in it together" on the OUPblog.

Read more …

# Whose fault is famine? What the world failed to learn from 1840s Ireland

A new book by a Cambridge University academic revisits one of the worst famines in recorded history. The Irish Famine of the 1840s had terrible consequences: 1 million people died and several million left Ireland. Today the world is watching as millions in Africa face a similar fate: starvation in the midst of plenty. Dr David Nally's analysis of what happened in his native Ireland less than two centuries ago reveals some shocking parallels with what is happening in Africa.

The book was also picked up by the Huffington Post, where David has written a piece looking at the parallels between historical and contemporary famines.

Dr Nally appeared on 'Everyday Ethics', BBC Radio Ulster, Sunday 7 Aug 2011 [Listen (MP3 file)]. He was also interviewed by The Clare Champion, in an article Parallels in famine-stricken societies.

Read more …

# Confronting homophobia in South Africa

Confronting homophobia in South Africa

Member of the Department, Dr Andrew Tucker is the Deputy Director of the Centre for Gender Studies in the Department of Geography. His research focuses on understanding the diverse ways in which same-sex desire can become visible in different communities in Africa and explores ways of servicing often marginalised groups with health services.

Dr Tucker champions a direct approach to challenging the homophobia that destroys so many lives in South Africa. He has helped to set up a hard-hitting healthcare campaign that encourages a radical change in attitudes within the country's most deprived communities.

Read more …

# Scientists raise concerns regarding erroneous reporting of Greenland ice cover

Scientists raise concerns regarding erroneous reporting of Greenland ice cover

Scientists from the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI), part of the Department of Geography, have raised concerns regarding what they believe are erroneous claims of a 15% decrease in the permanent ice cover of Greenland in just 12 years.

Read more …

# Professor Susan Owens elected a Fellow of the British Academy

Professor Susan Owens has been elected a Fellow of the British Academy at its Annual General Meeting on 21 July 2011. Professor Owens is Professor of Environment and Policy, Head of the Department of Geography, and a Professorial Fellow of Newnham College. Her research lies in the field of environmental governance, with particular interests in land use, environment and sustainability, and in the role of knowledge, ideas and expertise in policy formation and change. She is currently a member of the Research Committee of ESRC, the Council of the Royal Geographical Society and the Advisory Group for the Royal Society's Science Policy Centre; previously, she has served on the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution and a number of other public bodies. She was appointed an OBE in 1998.

Read more …

# Dr Laurent Frideres wins Economic Geography Research Group (EGRG) prize

Dr Laurent Frideres has won the Economic Geography Research Group (EGRG) prize for the best PhD thesis in economic geography, Spatial Industrial Clustering and Competitive Advantage: Comparing Firms Inside and Outside Industry Clusters.

# David Duhig wins First Prize in the RGS Climate Change Research Group dissertation award

Recent undergraduate student, David Duhig of St Catharine's College, has won First Prize in the RGS Climate Change Research Group dissertation award. The title of David's winning dissertation is The response of Haut Glacier d'Arolla, Switzerland to climate change computed using a coupled mass balance ice flow model.

# A Closer Look at Famine - Why do famines still plague us?

David Nally and Gerry Kearns have published an article in the latest Chronicle of Higher Education on the geopolitics and history of subsistence crises. Read more (access available until 23rd October).

# Talk: Is the future of food GM?

As part of the Festival of Ideas, the Faculty of Law played host to a fascinating talk on the future of GM crops.

Guest speakers Dr. David Nally (University of Cambridge, Geography), Professor Sir David Baulcombe (University of Cambridge, Botany), and Dr. Jack Stilgoe (University of Exeter, Science Policy) shared their different perspectives on this highly complicated, multi-disciplinary issue. The session was ably chaired by Dr Robert Doubleday (also from the Department of Geography).

Read more …

# MPhil in Conservation Leadership

MPhil in Conservation Leadership

Information is now online about the new MPhil in Conservation Leadership. The full list of MPhils we offer are:

Read more …

# Professor Julian Dowdeswell awarded Louis Agassiz Meda

Professor Julian Dowdeswell has been awarded the Louis Agassiz Medal of the European Geosciences Union. The medal was established to honour outstanding scientists whose work is related to Cryospheric Sciences. The medal will be presented during the General Assembly of the Union in Vienna in April 2011.

# Fiona McConnell elected to Junior Research Fellowship at Trinity College

Fiona McConnell, who was an undergraduate in the Department and then completed her PhD at Queen Mary, has just been elected to a Junior Research Fellowship at Trinity College.

# Peter Dyson wins Undergraduate Dissertation Prize of the Geography of Leisure and Tourism Research Group

Peter Dyson of Emmanuel College, has won the 2010 Undergraduate Dissertation Prize awarded by the Geography of Leisure and Tourism Research Group for his dissertation entitled 'Slum Tourism: Representing and Interpreting 'Reality' in Dharavi, Mumbai'.

# Andrew Tedstone awarded runner-up prize in the British Hydrological Society Student Award

Andrew Tedstone of Fitzwilliam College has been awarded the runner-up prize in the British Hydrological Society Student Award for his work entitled: 'The subglacial drainage system of the Hagafellsjokull-Eystri'.

# Chetan Kumar elected to non-stipendiary Research Fellowship at Hughes Hall

Chetan Kumar (until recently PhD student at the Department) has been elected to a non-stipendiary Research Fellowship at Hughes Hall, concurrent with his work at the Department as Research Associate on a project on ecosystem services and poverty alleviation in India.

# Greenland's glaciers double in speed

The contribution of Greenland to global sea level change and the mapping of previously unknown basins and mountains beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet are highlighted in a new film released by Cambridge University this morning.

Cambridge University glaciologist Professor Julian Dowdeswell has spent three years of his life in the polar regions.

As Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute (part of the Department of Geography) at the University of Cambridge, this film follows him to Greenland and the Antarctic as his research reveals the challenges we all face from climate change.

Read more ...

# Icelandic eruption

Clive Oppenheimer, Reader in Volcanology and Remote Sensing in the Department, was on the BBC Today programme on 25th May 2011 talking about the Icelandic eruption. You can listen to the programme online. He also writes in the Guardian on the subject.

Georgina Sawyer and Evgenia Ilyinskaya, also from the Department, are currently making their way to Iceland to monitor the ash plume.

Clive will be at the forthcoming Hay Festival to talk about his new book Eruptions That Shook The World.

# Cambridge Geography ranked best degree by the Guardian University Guide and the Complete University Guide

The Guardian University Guide has once again given top place to the Geography Degree at Cambridge for 2012. The Complete University Guide also placed Cambridge Geography top.

Our online course guide has full details on the Geography Degree at Cambridge.

# Clive Oppenheimer speaks at Hay Festival

Speaking at Hay Cambridge volcanologist, Clive Oppenheimer, warns of volcano threat.

Read more …

# The national census

The national census

Members of The Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure, part of the Department, have been undertaking research on the census over the last 200 years:

# Rex Walford

Staff in the Department were shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic death of Rex Walford OBE, in a boating accident on the River Thames on January 2nd 2011. Rex was well known to many staff through his work as a University Lecturer in Geography and Education (in the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge), as a past Vice President and council member of the Royal Geographical Society, and as past President of the Geographical Association, including his long-standing association with local branch of the GA. He will be remembered for his wit, wisdom and endless curiosity for all things geographical; his loss to education geography is incomparable. A full appreciation of Rex's contributions to geography, and more widely to the arts, can be found at

# Centre for Gender Studies - Public Forum in association with The Guardian Newspaper and kindly supported by Cambridge University Press

The Centre for Gender Studies in association with The Guardian Newspaper, kindly supported by Cambridge University Press, hosts 3 major international events in London. World class experts engage directly with the public on topics of gender and radical bio-medical advances of the 21st Century. What can the latest scientific advances tell us about gender, what will be possible in the future and why does it matter?

Read more …

# Karenjit Clare wins 3-year Junior Research Fellowship at Oxford

Former PhD student and now Lecturer and Bye-Fellow of Girton College, Karenjit Clare has won a 3-year Junior Research Fellowship at Green Templeton College, Oxford.

# Alan Baker elected Fellow of the British Academy

Alan Baker was elected a Fellow of the British Academy on 22 July.

# Adrian Hayes

The Department regrets to report the death of Adrian Hayes on 13 August 2010. Adrian's funeral will take place on Thursday 26 August at 1.00pm at the Arbory Trust Woodland Burial Ground at Barton Glebe, near Cambridge. Adrian's family requests that no flowers are sent for the funeral. Adrian's family wishes it to be known that his friends and colleagues are very welcome to attend the funeral.

# Professor Philip Gibbard awarded honorary doctorate degree

Professor Philip Gibbard awarded honorary doctorate degree

On 28 May 2010 Professor Philip Gibbard of the Department of Geography was awarded an honorary doctorate degree (PhD honoris causa) by the University of Helsinki. This is the highest honour the University can bestow.

Phil was one of twelve distinguished persons from science, culture and society who received the degree of honorary doctor at the University of Helsinki, Faculty of Philosophy conferment ceremony.

The citation read: "Philip L. Gibbard (b. 1949) from the University of Cambridge is one of the most widely known researchers of ice-age geology, and in recent years he has had particular success in developing a geological timescale. Professor Gibbard has exceptionally wide professional networks and a profound command of his field. He has been involved in close co-operation with the University of Helsinki, and has been a significant background figure in the Finnish community of Quaternary researchers for over thirty years".

# Franz Huber accepts an ESRC-funded research fellowship at OU Business School

PhD student, Franz Huber, has accepted an ESRC-funded research fellowship for two years at the Open University Business School.

# Dr Jim Duncan is awarded AAG Distinguished Scholarship Honors

Dr Jim Duncan is awarded the AAG Distinguished Scholarship Honors in Washington, April 2010.

# Jenny Gold awarded Andrew Hill Clark Award

PhD student Jenny Gold has been awarded the Andrew Hill Clark Award by the AAG Historical Geography Group for the best PhD paper.

# Evelyn Landerer awarded Frederick Soddy Award

This year's Frederick Soddy Award, administered by the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers, has been awarded to Evelyn Landerer of the Scott Polar Research Institute (part of the Department of Geography), to fund her PhD fieldwork on changing experiences of space and movement in Siberia.

# The Anthropocene: a new Epoch of geological time caused by humans?

In 2002 the chemist Paul Crutzen suggested that we are now living in a new geological interval of time that is dominated by human activities. He termed this the Anthropocene. Since then the term has been widely but informally quoted by a range of earth and environmental scientists, has attracted much public attention, and has been the focus of suggestions that it be formally incorporated into the Geological Time Scale. A recent article (Jan Zalasiewicz, Mark Williams, Will Steffen & Paul Crutzen 2010 The New World of the Anthropocene Environ. Sci. Technol., 44, 2228–2231) examining the nature, scale and status of the Anthropocene as a potential new geological epoch has appeared highlighting key themes such as the effects of anthropogenic influence on global change (e.g. sea level rise, ice sheet stability, ocean acidification, biodiversity) and how this will be reflected in a distinctive geological record. The proposal of the term Anthropocene is controversial has and has triggered comment in various places, including National Geographic News on 6th April 2010, which includes a quote from Professor Phil Gibbard of the Department.

The New World of the Anthropocene
Jan Zalasiewicz, Mark Williams, Will Steffen, Paul Crutzen
Environ. Sci. Technol., 2010, 44 (7), pp 2228–2231
Publication Date (Web): February 25, 2010 (Viewpoint)

# Steven Bland awarded Participatory Geographies Research Group Dissertation Prize

Recent Undergraduate, Steven Bland of St Catherine's College has been awarded the Participatory Geographies Research Group Dissertation Prize for his dissertation entitled: 'The Challenges and opportunities facing the movement for radical climate action in the UK'.

# Britain's island heritage: reconstructing half a million years of history

The latest instalment of a 20-year study to understand how Britain became an island completes a tale of megafloods and super-rivers.

Deep below the Bay of Biscay, where the English Channel meets the Atlantic Ocean, layers of sediment hold precious information about how Britain came to be separated from mainland Europe. Until recently, the clues had remained hidden, off limits owing to the impracticalities and cost of obtaining long-piston core samples and high-resolution acoustic data in this area. However, thanks to an Anglo-French collaboration between Professor Phil Gibbard, who leads the Quaternary Palaeoenvironments Group in the Department, and PhD student Sam Toucanne and his colleagues from the University of Bordeaux, the seabed has now yielded its secrets. In doing so, it provides the final instalment in a story that has been unfolding for two decades, since Professor Gibbard first began his detailed palaeogeographic and paleoenvironmental reconstructions of the southern North Sea.

This work has recently been featured in The Independent, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, and others.

Read more …

# Indigenous Development in the Andes: Culture, Power, and Transnationalism

Indigenous Development in the Andes: Culture, Power, and Transnationalism

Sarah Radcliffe's new book, Indigenous Development in the Andes: Culture, Power, and Transnationalism has now been published by Duke University Press.

The book is a nuanced examination of the complexities involved in designing and executing "culturally appropriate" development agendas, and it illuminate a web of relations among indigenous villagers, social movement leaders, government officials, NGO workers, and staff of multilateral agencies such as the World Bank. Indigenous Development in the Andes offers a comprehensive analysis of the diverse consequences of neoliberal development, and it underscores crucial questions about globalization, governance, cultural identity, and social movements.

The book can be ordered from Duke University Press.

# All poor, but no paupers: a Japanese perspective on the Great Divergence

A set of Leverhulme lectures to be held at the Law Faculty on 5pm on 1st, 3rd, 8th and 10th February 2010, to be given by a Visitor to the Department, Professor Osamu Saito, Cambridge Group and Hitotsubashi University.

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# Apply to Cambridge!

Apply to Cambridge!

Thinking of applying to Cambridge as an Undergraduate in Geography? Check out our prospectus.

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# The Politics of Presence in Latin America

The Politics of Presence in Latin America

The Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities is hosting an interdisciplinary conference, The Politics of Presence in Latin America on 23-24rd October 2009.

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# Franz Huber receives the 2009 Early Career Regional Studies Association Award

Phd student Franz Huber has received the 2009 Early Career Regional Studies Association Award.

# Katya Shipigina awarded Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society Student Prize

Katya Shipigina, PhD student at the Scott Polar Research Institute, has been awarded the Student Prize of the Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society for her MPhil thesis

# Christopher Fitzsimmons wins British Hydrological Society Undergraduate Dissertation Award

Christopher Fitzsimmons, who graduated from St Catherine's College this summer, has won the British Hydrological Society Undergraduate Dissertation Award.

# End of an era: new ruling decides the boundaries of Earth's history

After decades of debate and four years of investigation an international body of earth scientists, led by Cambridge Professor Phil Gibbard, has formally agreed to move the boundary dates for the prehistoric Quaternary Period by 800,000 years.

Read more …

# Alumni Weekend 2009 events

Alumni Weekend 2009 events

We are running talks and an exhibition for our alumni this weekend, 25th - 26th September 2009.

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# Research Clusters

Research Clusters

The Department's Research Clusters investigate a range of issues in both the environmental sciences and social sciences.

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# Open Days for prospective Undergraduates - Thursday 2nd & Friday 3rd July 2009

Geography Open Days for prospective students will this year be on 2nd & 3rd July 2009.

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# Conor Farrington wins Harold Blakemore prize

Conor Farrington has won the Harold Blakemore prize, awarded by the Society for Latin American Studies, for the best essay by a UK based PhD student in the field of Latin American Studies.

# Quaternary definition led by Cambridge Geography Professor

The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) has elected to formally define the base of the Quaternary at 2.6 million years before present, and also to lower the base of the Pleistocene — an epoch that encompasses the most recent glaciations — from its historical position at 1.8 million years to 2.6 million years ago. The decision, finalised on 21 May, will now be passed to the executive committee of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) for ratification, which is expected shortly.

The vote shifts an 800,000-year slice, formerly part of the Pliocene Epoch, into the Pleistocene. "It's kind of a land grab," says Philip Gibbard, a geologist at the University of Cambridge, UK, who has fought for the redefinition since 2001. "But we see it as just putting straight a mistake that was made 25–30 years ago. "In 1985, the beginning of the Pleistocene was defined at 1.8 million years ago, calibrated to an outcropping of marine strata in southern Italy. But some geologists have long felt that was a localised, arbitrary boundary that did not reflect worldwide changes — and argued instead for the 2.6-million-year mark, when the entire planet cooled".

The term Quaternary was adopted in the early 1800s, when geologists divvied up fossil records of Earth's history into four periods: the Primary, Secondary, Tertiary and Quaternary. The first two terms were discarded long ago, and although Tertiary is still sometimes used, in recent decades some geologists came to consider the Quaternary an outmoded relic. In 2004, a major publication left the Quaternary out of the ICS timescale altogether, making it vulnerable to extinction from scientific nomenclature. In place of the Quaternary, it extended the prior 'Neogene', which began 23 million years ago, up to the present. The Quaternary community went into open revolt but now peace reigns, as the term is safely defined for the first time in its history.

Read more in Nature and in Science ...

# Workshop: Community-based Action and NRM in an era of Neoliberalism

Workshop: Community-based Action and NRM in an era of Neoliberalism (June 19)

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# Colloquium: The Inhabited Arctic

Colloquium: The Inhabited Arctic at SPRI (17th June)

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# Workshop: Trading Across Scales: Current Perspectives on Managing Wildlife Use

Workshop: Trading Across Scales: Current Perspectives on Managing Wildlife Use

Workshop: Trading Across Scales: Current Perspectives on Managing Wildlife Use (15th June)

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# Cambridge Geography ranked best degree by The Independent and the Education Guardian

The Education Guardian University Guide 2010 has once again given top place to the Geography Degree at Cambridge. The Independent's Complete University guide also placed Cambridge Geography top.

EducationGuardian.co.uk's guide to universities and colleges claims to be the most comprehensive source of information on UK higher education. The tables use a range of criteria.

Professor Richard Smith, Head of Department, said:

We are pleased to report that we have once again appeared as the top UK university Department of Geography in the Independent's Complete University Guide published on 30 April 2009 and the Guardian's list of top Universities for teaching Geography published 12 May 2009.

Our online course guide has full details on the Geography Degree at Cambridge.

# Kim Beazley's AAG paper awarded 2009 Development Geographies Specialty Group Paper Award

Kim Beazley's AAG paper "Who Directs the Destinies of the Displaced? Interrogating Notions of the Powerless Oustee" has been awarded the 2009 Development Geographies Specialty Group Paper Award at the upcoming AAG meeting in Las Vegas.

# Franz Huber wins RGS-IBG EGRG prize

Franz Huber, one of the Department's economic geography PhD students, has won the prize of the RGS-IBG EGRG, for the Working Paper Prize (new for 2009): Social capital of economic clusters: towards a network-based conception of social resources

# Physical Geography / Environmental Science PhD Opportunities 2009

Physical Geography / Environmental Science PhD Opportunities

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# Graduate studentships

Graduate studentships

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# Freeze Frame - historic polar images at SPRI

Freeze Frame - historic polar images at SPRI

# Annual Report 2007-8

Annual Report 2007-8

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# Comparative Colonialisms

Comparative Colonialisms: An Interdisciplinary Workshop

# Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008 result

The Cambridge University Department of Geography was ranked first jointly with the Departments of Geography at the Universities of Bristol, Durham and Oxford in the 2008 RAE Assessment Exercise. The percentages of research assessed were 30% at 4*, 40% at 3*, 25% at 2* and 5% at 1*. There were 49 Units of Assessment submitted in Geography and Environmental Studies across UK institutions.

# Princes visit University of Cambridge to meet experts on global trends

Their Royal Highnesses Prince William and Prince Harry were in Cambridge on 28th-29th October 2008 to attend a two-day seminar on the social and ecological challenges facing society.

Amongst the University presenters was Professor Bill Adams of the Department of Geography.

The seminar was hosted by the University of Cambridge Programme for Industry (CPI) and focused on a number of global trends: poverty, environmental limits, climate change and security.

Read more …

# Heart of the Sahara

John Pilkington: 'Heart of the Sahara' - 22nd October

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# Alumni weekend: 26th-27th September

Alumni weekend: 26th-27th September

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# Geography welcomes the Cambridge University Centre for Gender Studies

The Centre for Gender Studies is an international locus for cutting-edge gender research and a wide community of academics from across the disciplines interested in gender. The Centre is now part of the Department of Geography.

A seminar day will take place on 29th September.

# Seminar presentation by Ingo Kirchner

Seminar presentation by Ingo Kirchner

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# Zeldovich Medal

The Committee for Space Research (COSPAR) has awarded Dr. Kauzar Saleh with the Zeldovich Medal for 2008 in Space Studies of the Earth's Surface, Meteorology and Climate. This award is given jointly by COSPAR and the Russian Academy of Sciences to recognize excellence and achievements of early career scientists.

# 2007 Ashby Prize

The Scott Polar Research Institute and Dept. of Geography are pleased to announce that Dr. Richard Powell, a former Ph.D. student (supervised by Dr. M. T. Bravo and Prof. K. S. Richards) and ESRC Research Fellow at the Scott Polar Research Institute/Geography, has been awarded the 2007 Ashby Prize by the editors of Environment and Planning 'A' in recognition of the exceptional quality of his paper on the geography of experimental field practices in the Arctic. The research for the paper was carried out as part of his doctoral work and subsequently submitted for publication. The full reference for the paper is Richard C. Powell (2007) 'The rigours of an Arctic experiment': the precarious authority of field practices in the Canadian High Arctic, 1958-1970 Environment and Planning A 39(8) 1794-1811.

# 25 years of Family Forms and beyond

Conference: 25 years of Family Forms and beyond

# Cambridge Geography ranked best degree by the Education Guardian University Guide 2009

The Education Guardian University Guide 2009 gave top place to the Geography Degree at Cambridge.

EducationGuardian.co.uk's guide to universities and colleges claims to be the most comprehensive source of information on UK higher education. The tables use a range of criteria.

Professor Richard Smith, Head of Department, said:

We are delighted that we have sustained leading position in the provision of a Geography Degree course that is so highly rated. We seek to provide an educational environment that will continue to satisfy the aspirations of the extremely high quality of those who apply to read Geography in Cambridge.

Our online course guide has full details on the Geography Degree at Cambridge.

# Open Days for prospective Undergraduates - Thursday 3rd July &amp; Friday 4th July 2008

The Department is running Open Days on Thursday 3rd July & Friday 4th July 2008.

Read more …

# Julian Dowdeswell awarded Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society

Professor Julian Dowdeswell has been awarded the Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society for 2008. This is one of the two most prestigious medals awarded by the RGS.

# The Anthropocene

Humans have altered Earth so much that scientists say that we may be witnessing a transformation of the World as profound as the end of the age of the dinosaurs, and entering a distinctive new geological period.

Writing in the February issue of the Geological Society of America, GSA Today, Britain's leading stratigraphers (experts in marking geological time, including Phil Gibbard, Professor in the Department) the Geological Society of London's Stratigraphy Commission argue that industrialisation has wrought changes so substantial that usher in a new epoch - the Anthropocene.

# Networks in Society and the Economy

Networks in Society and the Economy

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# Will Harvey wins prestigious post-doc research fellowship at the University of British Columbia

PhD student Will Harvey, who has just submitted his thesis has won a prestigious post-doc research fellowship at the University of British Columbia.

# University Scholar broadcasts live from the bottom of the ocean

A former University student is taking part in a series of unique underwater classroom tutorials off the coast of the Florida Keys. Read more ...

# Alumni Talk: From Cambridge Geography to the Olympics

The first in a series of our Alumni talks - careers talks by former students of the department - will be on Monday 10th March, at 5pm in the Large Lecture Theatre.

Read more …

# Physical Geography / Environmental Science PhD opportunities - October 2008

Physical Geography / Environmental Science PhD opportunities - October 2008

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# Ecosystem services and human well-being: Interrogating the evidence

Seminar series, 15th January: Ecosystem services and human well-being: Interrogating the evidence

# Former students abroad featured in the media

Joe Powell, a student who graduated from the Department last year and has gone to Makerere University in Uganda to do a Masters degree. He has written about his experiences in the Guardian.

Additionally, former student Tim Bromfield has also been involved in the Katine development project being featured/supported by the Guardian.

# Workshop: Experiencing the state: marginalised people and the politics of development in India

This workshop will be held on 23rd January 2008 in the Department.

Read more …

# Research seminars - Michaelmas term 2007

Research seminars for this term

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# Second Life virtual world lecture from Cambridge Geography professor

Professor Philip Gibbard, from the Department of Geography, will speak for half an hour to an audience he himself cannot see using the 3D internet world, 'Second Life'.

The lecture will take place in Second Life at 7pm on Thursday, September 26th and will last for about 30 minutes, including the question and answer session.

See more details and the Lecture venue in Second Life.

The slides from Phil's talk are now available online.

# QPG members featured on BBC's 'Countryfile'

QPG members featured on BBC's 'Countryfile'

Members of the Quaternary Palaeoenvironments Group joined BBC presenter John Craven to present the vegetational history of the famous Hockham Mere site for the programme Countryfile.

The report can be watched online and was screened on BBC1 TV at 11am on Sunday 23rd September.

# Catastrophic floods in the English Channel

There has been much interest in research on Catastrophic floods in the English Channel published in Nature, 19th July 2007.

# Undergraduate open days 2007

Undergraduate open days

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# Annual Report 2005

Annual Report 2005

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# Jie Ding one of two winners of this year's RGS-IBG Hong Kong Research Grant

Jie Ding (PhD student) has been selected as one of two shared winners of this year's RGS-IBG Hong Kong Research Grant.

# Andrew Currah awarded EGRG (Economic Geography Research Group) annual prize

Recent former PhD student, Andrew Currah, has just been awarded the EGRG's (Economic Geography Research Group) annual prize for the best PhD dissertation.

# Research seminars - Easter term 2007

Research seminars this term

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# Cambridge Geography ranked best degree by the Guardian University Guide 2008

The Guardian University Guide 2008 gave equal first place to the Geography Degree at Cambridge.

EducationGuardian.co.uk's guide to universities and colleges claims to be the most comprehensive source of information on UK higher education. The tables use a range of criteria.

Professor Bob Haining, Head of Department, said:

"I am very pleased to see that we continue to score highly in these national comparisons. My colleagues and I will continue to make every effort to offer a first class education to the outstanding students who study here."

Our online course guide has full details on the Geography Degree at Cambridge.

# Ron Martin elected to three-year Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship

Ron Martin has been elected to a three-year Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, from October 2007 to September 2010 to research evolutionary economics and economic geography.

# Lectureships in Physical Geography and in Economic Geography

Lectureships in Physical Geography and in Economic Geography

Read more …

# Human Geography PhD opportunities - ESRC studentships

Human Geography PhD opportunities - ESRC studentships

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# Professor Sir Alan Wilson

Professor Sir Alan Wilson

The General Board has conferred the title of Honorary Professor of Urban and Regional Geography on Sir Alan Wilson, Master of Corpus Christi.

The seminar scheduled for 10th May (entitled 'Boltzmann, Lotka and Volterra and the evolution of geographical structures') has been postponed.

# Research seminars for Lent Term

Research seminars for Lent Term

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# Symposium on Geopolitics

Symposium on Geopolitics - Friday January 12 2007

# Graduate Studentships

Graduate studentships

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# Christopher Rimmer awarded British Hydrological Society prize

Christopher Rimmer has been awarded second prize (cash and certificate as 'runner up') by the British Hydrological Society for his dissertation on 'The changing climate of Swiss hydroelectric power production: An analysis of the Haut Glacier D'Arolla meltwater discharge characteristics'.

# Will Harvey awarded EGRG (Economic Geography Research Group) prize

Will Harvey, Ph.D. student, has been awarded the EGRG (Economic Geography Research Group) prize for the best Masters Thesis. Will's thesis was entitled "Highly-skilled migration: An analysis of immigrant networks in biotechnology" and has formed the basis of his PhD work.

# Joseph Fisher has been awarded Joanna Stillwell Prize

Part II student Joseph Fisher has been awarded Third Prize for the Joanna Stillwell Prize for Population Geography Dissertations.

# Undergraduate open days 2006

Undergraduate open days

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# Human Geography PhD. Opportunities - October 2006

Human Geography PhD. Opportunities - October 2006

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# Cambridge Geography ranked best degree by the Education Guardian 2006

Cambridge Geography ranked best degree by the Education Guardian 2006

# EGRG Annual Symposium 2006

EGRG Annual Symposium 2006

# Chloe de Pencier wins Landscape Research Group Dissertation Prize 2005

Chloe de Pencier of Sidney Sussex College has won the Landscape Research Group Dissertation Prize 2005. Her first class dissertation was entitled "Landscapes of the Mind: An Artist and his Public, Questions of Communication". The work was judged as "the best undergraduate dissertation or project based on original academic research and showing conceptual sophistication in the study of landscape".

# European Science Foundation Exploratory Workshop on Evolutionary Economic Geography

Cambridge hosted a European Science Foundation Exploratory Workshop on Evolutionary Economic Geography, convened by Prof Ron Martin (Cambridge) and Prof Ron Boschma (Utrecht) on April 3-5. Some 24 leading evolutionary economists and economic geographers from across Europe met to explore the construction of a new evolutionary perspective for studying the economic landscape.

# Robin Donkin

The Department received, with great sadness, news that Dr Robin Donkin, Fellow of Jesus College and a former member of the Department, died on 1 February 2006. Text of the eulogy spoken at the memorial service can be read online.

# Geography and ethics

'Geography and ethics': this term's research seminars

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# NERC studentships

NERC studentships available for MPhil degree in GIS and Remote Sensing

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# Physical Geography PhD. Opportunities - October 2006

Physical Geography PhD. Opportunities - October 2006

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# Sarah Radcliffe made Editor of Progress in Human Geography

Dr Sarah Radcliffe has recently been made Editor of Progress in Human Geography (one of five editors)

# Simon Reid Henry awarded best PhD thesis in Economic Geography

Dr Simon Reid Henry: AAG Economic Geography Speciality Group: best PhD thesis in Economic Geography for 2004.

# Rory Gallagher awarded prize in AAG's Sexuality and Space Speciality Group's student paper competition

Rory Gallagher: Second Prize in the AAG's Sexuality and Space Speciality Group's student paper competition

# Al James awarded best UK PhD thesis in Economic Geography for 2003

Dr Al James: RGS-IBG Economic Geography Research Group: best UK PhD thesis in Economic Geography for 2003

# Will Harvey awarded Millennium Scholarship

MPhil student Will Harvey, who has received the highly prestigious Millennium Scholarship from the University.

# Mia Gray appointed secretary of the Economic Geography Research Group at the RGS

Dr Mia Gray has become secretary of the Economic Geography Research Group at the Royal Geographical Society.

# Andrew Currah accepts lectureship in Geography at Oxford University

Andrew Currah, PhD student in economic geography, has just accepted a lectureship in Geography at Oxford University.

# Will Harvey made Editor of Contour

Will Harvey has been made Editor of the RGS-IBG E-Journal Contour

# Dr Clive Oppenheimer awarded the Murchison Award

The Royal Geographical Society with IBG have awarded Dr Clive Oppenheimer the Murchison Award ('for publications enhancing the understanding of volcanic processes and impacts')

# Research seminars for Michaelmas term 2005

Research seminars for Michaelmas term

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# Cambridge Geography ranked best degree by the Education Guardian

The Education Guardian 2005 University Rankings gave first place to the Geography Degree at Cambridge, with 83% (6% clear of the next ranked University). A total of 84 Degrees were analysed in the survey.

EducationGuardian.co.uk's guide to universities and colleges claims to be the most comprehensive source of information on UK higher education. The tables use a range of criteria. A staff score (based on the teaching staff in each subject); entry qualification : (what it takes to get in); spend per student (how much money is put into teaching); staff/student:staff ratio; value added score (conversion of A-levels into a degree class), student destinations (postgraduate employment)j, and inclusiveness (recruitment of ethnic, disabled and mature students).

Professor Bob Haining, Head of Department, said:

"I am delighted at this recognition of the tremendous amount of hard work that colleagues put into teaching undergraduates in Cambridge. We are fortunate to have outstanding students, and we make every effort to offer teaching of the highest standard."

Our online course guide has full details on the Geography Degree at Cambridge.

# Cambridge Geography ranked top by The Times Good University Guide

The Department has come out top for Geography in the 'The Times Good University Guide'. The rankings are based on official assessments of teaching quality, research, average Ucas scores and percentage of graduates who go on to graduate-type jobs or further study.

The rankings for Geography are available at
http://extras.timesonline.co.uk/gooduniversityguide2005/20geography.pdf [PDF format].

Cambridge Geography was also recently ranked best degree by the Education Guardian.

# Annual Report 2004

The Department's Annual Report 2004 is now online.

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# Ron Martin elected a Fellow of the British Academy.

In July 2005, Ron Martin was elected a Fellow of the British Academy.

# Open Day for prospective Undergraduates - 7th July

Open Day for prospective Undergraduates - 7th July

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# Environmental Policy: Change and Continuity, North and South

Environmental Policy: Change and Continuity, North and South - one day conference on 13th May

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# ESRC studentships and Physical Geography PhD opportunities for UK students

ESRC studentships and Physical Geography PhD. Opportunities for UK students - October 2005

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# Geomed 2005: Conference on public health

Geomed 2005: Conference on public health to be held in September bringing together geographers, statisticians, epidemiologists, computer scientists and public health professionals.

# Producing Rigorous and Relevant Graduate Research in Social and Economic Geography

Producing Rigorous and Relevant Graduate Research in Social and Economic Geography

# CCRU and Khaled Bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation to assess tsunami impact on Western Indian Ocean coral reefs

An international coral reef assessment group, jointly co-ordinated by Dr Tom Spencer and Capt Phil Renaud, Executive Director of the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, and led in the field by Annelise Hagan of the Department of Geography's Coastal Research Unit, leaves for the Seychelles on 7 January to assess tsunami impacts on the coral reefs and shallow banks of the southern Seychelles (5-10 deg S).

Read more …

# University-wide open day for Undergraduate admissions

University-wide open day for Undergraduate admissions - 1st July 2004

# Professor Hans-F. Graf

Appointment of Professor Hans-F. Graf to the Chair of Environmental Systems Science

# Research Clusters

New information detailing the work of the five research clusters in the Department is now online.

# New staff information online!

New staff information online!

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# Physical Geography Ph.D. Opportunities - October 2003

Physical Geography Ph.D. Opportunities - October 2003

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# Photos from Cambridge Festival of Science - National Science Week events

Photos from Cambridge Festival of Science - National Science Week events

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# Environment and Livelihoods in African Drylands

Environment and Livelihoods in African Drylands

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