2024 Archive


Monday 5th February
“The onset of modern plate tectonics”
Professor Craig Storey

The rift valley in Thingvellir National Park, Iceland
Photo by Alex He on Unsplash

Since the 1960s we have accepted the plate tectonic paradigm as being central to how our planet operates at the present day.

However, there is much ongoing debate as to when plate tectonics began and how similar it was to the current observable mode. Hypotheses range from the Hadean to the Neoproterozoic and therefore span across profound changes in the Earth system, including atmospheric oxygenation and the proliferation of life.

Image shows Professor Craig Storey, a white dark-haired man with a neutral expression. He is wearing a checked blue and green shirt. Professor Storey is sitting in his personal office with blinds at the window.

Craig Storey, Professor of Geology at University of Portsmouth

In this talk, Professor Craig Storey will review some of the hallmarks of plate tectonics, their first appearance and secular evolution, and speculate on when it all began and how it evolved.

Craig studied geology at Oxford Brookes University and was awarded a PhD by the University of Leicester in 2003 for his research on eclogites (metamorphic rocks which contain garnet) in the Glenelg-Attadale Inlier, NW Scotland. He manages the Crustal Evolution Research Group at Portsmouth, equipped with an array of state-of-the-art electron microscopes, x-ray equipment, plasma mass spectrometers, lasers and sample preparation facilities – one of the largest dedicated research groups of its kind in Europe.

Craig’s current research focus is on the secular evolution of the continental crust and complementary depleted mantle from the beginnings of the Earth through to the present day.

Monday 15th January
“A Safe Sky – The Trajectory of Technology
in Air Traffic Control”
Lee Boulton

Image from flightradar24

For January’s talk, our speaker, Lee Boulton, will give us a general overview of Air Traffic Control, reflecting on how it has evolved over the decades. He’ll explain how technology is at the heart of supporting our air traffic controllers, who manage well over 2 million flights per year operating across the UK – a number that is projected to grow in future.

Lee Boulton has 35 years experience working in Air Traffic Control, having joined NATS in 1988, the largest Air Traffic Control service provider in the UK. He spent 16 years as an operational air traffic controller at the London Air Traffic Control Centre which was relocated from the Heathrow area to the south coast near Swanwick, Hampshire, over 20 years ago. Lee has held senior roles in NATS, including the Head of Air Traffic Control Procedures and Head of Safety at Swanwick. He is currently the Head of Airspace Development for NATS – at a time when airspace modernisation is a key national infrastructure project. Lee also leads the project team responsible for developing the next generation of operating system that will support many Air Traffic Control centres across Europe.