This week, my Ph D supervisor, Andy Biggin, had a paper out in Nature.
The findings of this new research point towards the Earth’s inner core being older than we’d previously thought.
Recent estimates, suggest that the Earth’s solid inner core started forming between half a billion and one billion years ago.
I’m not going to go into the details of the findings, you can learn more about those from the paper itself and also from the press coverage (BBC news and an article in The Conversation by Andy himself).
Instead, below you’ll find a blog post which Andy originally posted on the Liverpool Geomagnetism Group blog (I reproduced it here with his permission).
I found it interesting because it explores (from a scientists’ perspective) the sometimes difficult relationship between research and media coverage.
One way to inspire future generations of scientists is by getting new and exciting research in the public eye; something not always easy when researching the workings of the inner Earth – it just doesn’t have the mass appeal and wow factor of volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis!
The new research has had plenty of media coverage, as Andy describes below, and it’s exciting, not only for palaeomagnetism, but also the broader public as it shed’s light on how the Earth formed and came to be as it is now.
Pop-artist Andy Warhol famously stated that: “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”.
I suspect yesterday may be the closest we will ever get to proving him right.
A paper on which I am lead-author claims that we have may have pinned down the point in Earth’s history when the inner core first started to freeze at the centre of the Earth to between 1 and 1.5 billion years ago.
I already thought this was big news so was a bit deflated when Nature decided not to run with the excellent picture (above) created by Kay Lancaster (cartographer at the University of Liverpool) on its cover or even feature it in its press release.
Nevertheless, our excellent press officer at Liverpool helped produce a great press release which saw a story featured on the popular website from the outset and an article in one of Spain’s top newspapers El Pais.
Things were a bit slow-burning for a while – except in India and Finland.