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Department of Geography




See also: Earlier news | News from the Scott Polar Research Institute

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# Jamie Arnaud joint winner of Dissertation Prize for 2021

Jamie Arnaud is the joint winner of the Historical Geography Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society Dissertation Prize for 2021, for his dissertation 'Roads to Improvement: The Construction of "Destitution Roads" by the Edinburgh Section of the Central Board as a response to Highland Famine, 1847-1850.'

Jamie is one of three prize winners who will be invited to present their work to the Historical Geography Research Group day conference for postgraduates in November.

Many congratulations to Jamie for this great achievement.

# Ellie Fox wins 'best climate change dissertation'

One of our graduates from this summer - Ellie Fox (Fitzwilliam) - was awarded the 'best human geography dissertation' by the Climate Change Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society. Ellie's dissertation was a study of the processes of politicisation/depoliticisation within the French Citizens' Convention on Climate Change. Many congratulations to Ellie for this great achievement. Ellie is now commencing on a PhD at the University of Exeter.

# September Virtual Open Day 2021

Cambridge Virtual Open Days are aimed at prospective applicants from Year 12 and Year 13 (or equivalent) and mature applicants (aged 21 or over), together with their parents or supporters. They take place over two weeks via the University's Virtual Tour.

Throughout the Open Days, you'll be able to find out all about the University and Colleges by accessing pre-recorded presentations and videos about courses, the Colleges and departments, University facilities, the application process, student life, and finance.

The Department is offering a live Q&A with Dr Harriet Allen and a group of current students, ready to speak to applicants interested in studying geography. The webinar will take place at noon on the 16th September.

To attend the event you will need to register in advance.

If you wish to attend the general sessions organised as part of the Open Days (e.g. College talks), you can register in advance. Once you have booked, you can view the full open days programme.

# Spectacular ice age landscapes beneath the North Sea discovered using 3D seismic reflection technology

PhD student James Kirkham has led a study, along with Neil Arnold and Julian Dowdeswell from SPRI, which used cutting edge 3D seismic reflection technology to discover spectacular ice age landscapes beneath the North Sea.

So called tunnel valleys, buried hundreds of metres beneath the seafloor in the North Sea are remnants of huge rivers that were the 'plumbing system' of the ancient ice sheets as they melted in response to rising air temperatures.

These ancient structures provide clues to how ice sheets react to a warming climate. The findings are published this week (9 September) in the journal Geology.

More information can be found on the British Antarctic Survey website, along with BBC News.

Read more …

# Registration open for Co-Designing Publics Symposium

Calling activists, practitioners and academics working and experimenting with design in the public realm! Please join us for the international symposium for Dr Lemanski's AHRC-funded research network on Co-Designing Publics which is being held virtually 16-17 September.

This online symposium will bring together our team, project partners and special guest speakers to discuss emerging themes for research and practice on co-designing publics.

The full program and link for registration (required) is now online.

The event will offer simultaneous translation into Spanish throughout the event. The list of speakers is on the web link.

Read more …

# Spectral ecologies in the Mississippi Delta

A new article from Professor Matthew Gandy explores the intersections between ornithology and political ecology in the Mississippi Delta.

Read more …

# Off-Grid Cities

Dr Charlotte Lemanski, is part of a new Off Grid Cities research project, collaborating with colleagues in South Africa and the UK to explore how urban elites are seceding from state provided infrastructure networks in favour of private hybrid and off-grid technologies.

Read more …

# Climate change will transform cooling effects of volcanic eruptions, study suggests

Sarychev Volcano, as seen from space. Credit: NASA.

Volcanoes are an important part of our climate system.

Researchers have shown that human-caused climate change will have important consequences for how volcanic gases interact with the atmosphere.

The researchers, from the University of Cambridge (including Dr Thomas Aubry and Dr Anja Schmidt) and the UK Met Office, say that large-magnitude eruptions will have greater effects as the climate continues to warm. However, the cooling effects of small- and medium-sized eruptions could shrink by as much as 75%. Since these smaller eruptions are far more frequent, further research is needed to determine whether the net effect will be additional warming or cooling.

Read more …

# A Level Results Day 2021

Congratulations to everyone who has received their A-level results today. If you are coming to Cambridge and joining us at Geography, we look forward to welcoming you in October.

Be sure to take a look at the Cambridge Students' Union Freshers' website which has lots of information to help you prepare for life at Cambridge.

Members of our student society – Cambridge University Geographical Society (CUGS) – are also working on providing materials for all new students joining us in October; please make sure to check back on our website and look out for emails from the Department and your College in the coming weeks.

# New study investigates nineteenth-century science transfer and expertise in Arctic exploration

In a new research paper published in the British Journal for the History of Science, Dr Nanna Kaalund and Dr John Woitkowitz of the ERC Arctic Cultures research group based at the Scott Polar Research Institute investigate the history of nineteenth-century scientific networks and expertise in the organization of expeditions to the central Arctic Ocean.

The study examines the transatlantic exchange of scientific theories and epistemic objects related to theories of an Open Polar Sea among European and American scientific networks during the early 1850s. Drawing on Arctic expeditions envisioned by the American explorer Elisha Kent Kane and the Prussian cartographer August Petermann, Kaalund and Woitkowitz show how the notion of expertise in Arctic geography and exploration was rooted in first-hand experience and mediated knowledge in the field along with emergent understandings of the Arctic Ocean as a system of interacting physical phenomena. Based on archival research in Germany, England and the United States, the paper adopts a comparative and transnational approach to demonstrate how nineteenth-century scientific theories and cartographies of the Arctic moved among Berlin, London, and New York, and in doing so informed Arctic exploration agendas throughout the Atlantic world.

Read the full research article: Nanna Kaalund and John Woitkowitz, "'Ancient lore with modern appliances': networks, expertise, and the making of the Open Polar Sea, 1851-1853," British Journal for the History of Science (2021).

Browse earlier articles…