Former Bexhill College student Will Knapp who studied Geology, Chemistry and Geography A levels at the 6th form College, went on to gain a Masters degree in Earth Sciences from Southampton and is now studying for a PhD at Cambridge University.
Will commented, “Combining my interests in Chemistry and Earth Sciences led me to undertake both my Bachelors and Masters in Geology and PhD in Isotope Geochemistry. I’m primarily interested in understanding Earth’s chemical evolution. Excluding a few mass extinctions life has thrived on Earth for over 3.5 billion years! This is because of very slow chemical reactions that occur between rocks and naturally acidic rain, which removes CO2 from the atmosphere on very long (million year) timescales and moderates climate. My current research combines measuring isotopes in natural materials (such as river waters, rocks, plankton and corals) and computational modelling to quantify how much CO2 is currently being removed from the atmosphere via this slow weathering reaction. Further to this quantification we must ask how we can engineer this very slow reaction to work on much shorter (human) timescales; allowing us to sequester CO2 from the atmosphere and achieve our Paris climate goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C by the year 2050.
Undertaking a geology degree has opened up great opportunities. The research group I am part of at Cambridge conducts sampling expeditions to Greenland, the Himalayas and SE Asia (to name a few). All of these expeditions have the aim of gaining a deeper understanding of how Earth behaves, so that we can develop appropriate and sustainable methods for mitigating climate change.
Taking geology at A Level gave me a great understanding of the power of observation in science. Geology gives a fascinating insight into how Earth formed, the life forms that have subsequently lived on our planet and the past climate states they have lived in. All of which gives any scientist a holistic view of solving large-scale problems.”
Bexhill College would like to congratulate Will for all of his inspiring achievements.
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