Borealis Society visit to Oxford.

During the summer of 2017, a group of seventeen Loretto pupils spent five weeks on expedition in Iceland as part of the School’s Borealis society’s programme. This programme plans an expedition every two years to a challenging environment with the aim of equipping the group with new skills and developing resilience whilst enjoying some of the most stunning scenery in the world, at the top of the world. This summer was no exception, but the expedition included some specific objectives as well. One of these was scientific, a collaboration between Loretto and the University of Oxford, Department of Earth Sciences. This meant collecting samples of river water from some very fast flowing, cold, glacial rivers.

Recently, a number of the group were able to see the next stage of the research with a visit to Oxford to meet those who had set up the collaboration, Dr Melissa Murphy and a postgraduate colleague, Anna Bidgood. Via Skype, Dr Murphy led the group through a tutorial on weathering in cold climate, high latitude regions. Anna showed the group around a hugely impressive department, with mass spectrometers, scanning electron microscopes, x-ray diffraction equipment and a ‘clean’ laboratory – no visitors allowed - the experiments are too sensitive. No visit to Oxford is complete without a visit to the ‘dreaming spires’ and so lunch at University College refectory was accompanied by a visit to the Chapel, the Percy Bysshe Shelley Memorial and a tour Magdalen College.

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