My day-job is Curator of Palaeontology at The Hunterian museum in the University of Glasgow where I look after the fossil collections as well as undertaking research and promoting geological science more widely. Most palaeontologists are highly specialised, working on a particular group of organisms; however working in a museum setting allows me to be more diverse in my interests, resulting in publications on subjects as wide-ranging as shrimps, crinoids, bryozoans, conodonts, insects, and dinosaurs as well as amber and gold. I have a particular interest in dinosaur trackways and the Jurassic rocks of Skye, which is becoming more exciting as we discover more, not only on Skye but also on other islands as well as on the mainland of Scotland near Inverness. Much of what I work on is based on the major contributions and discoveries made by amateur geologists and I would not have been able to do my job were it not for the passion of enthusiasts.
One of my passions throughout my career has been to promote geology in schools through enhancing the curriculum and promoting geology with the wider public through events, talks and publishing in popular magazines and books. The latest project was a live YouTube link to all primary schools in Scotland as part of the visit by Dippy the Dinosaur at Kelvingrove, where children were able to ask questions about dinosaurs and other environmental issues to a panel of experts. This will soon be available to everyone online.
As president, I aim to create better links between the various geological societies in Scotland and encourage younger members to join in. The society will continue to provide an exciting range of talks and workshops on a wide range of interesting topics that will help members learn more about different aspects of geology. The society is involved in a number of significant projects such as a new guide to the geology of the Glasgow area, Fossil Grove and the development of a Geology Trust. I am also beginning a discussion with our female members to ask how we can better celebrate the important contribution of women role models in geology.
It is a privilege to take over the role of president of the society from Jim Morrison and it will be a challenge to fill his capacious hiking boots. I hope that we will be able to meet and chat about your interests at future meetings. Please remember to take part in Members’ Night, where you will have the opportunity to show, tell and ask about geology with other passionate people in the society.