Hiring lab manager

We are looking for a Postdoctoral Associate to work in a primarily lab manager capacity (75%) with a 25% research effort.  Link to apply and details below.  If you are interested, please submit your CV and the names of two references.


The Rutgers Paleomagnetism Laboratory (Principal Investigator: Prof. Sonia Tikoo) seeks a Post Doctoral Associate.  The role of the Associate will primarily be to prepare samples, conduct paleomagnetic measurements, and help train junior researchers (approximately 75% of effort). The Associate will also aid with the installation and maintenance of a 2G Enterprises superconducting rock magnetometer, RAPID sample handling system, and other rock magnetic characterization instrumentation in the Paleomagnetism Laboratory.  Paleomagnetic research may be conducted on a part-time basis under the supervision of Prof. Tikoo (approximately 25% of effort).  The estimated start date for the position is September 1, 2016.  The initial appointment will be for one year, with possible renewal for a second year.


A PhD in the geosciences is required.  The ideal candidate will have experience with preparing and measuring paleomagnetic samples, programming (e.g., Python, Matlab, or LabView), and use and maintenance of a superconducting magnetometer.


lab setup phase 1

We were so privileged to have “the Bruces” from Lodestar Magnetics come to work on the interior of the Rutgers magnetically shielded room this past week!  In addition to building new casework, the team installed epoxy resin countertops and strip curtains for our clean room partition (these were first time experiences for the Lodestar team!).  BTW the countertops are officially colored “lunar white” – how cool is that?!


We still don’t have all our equipment here (including the magnetometer) or the HVAC installed yet, and many samples need to be obtained and/or prepped for future work.  Nevertheless, we are very grateful for our awesome suppliers and contractors and that things are moving along.

new year, new job

As of January 1st, 2016 – I am officially an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Rutgers University (woot!).  I’m pretty excited about starting!  The next few months are going to be a lot of hard work as I finish a bunch of papers from my postdoc and work on building my lab.  But I am really looking forward to all the cool science that we’re going to be doing in lunar magnetism, impact cratering, and more(!) over the next few years, as well as rocking my new Rutgers swag – GO SCARLET KNIGHTS!



many, many updates

Exciting news – at long last, my paper “Decline of the lunar core dynamo” has been published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters!  This project was quite challenging so it is immensely rewarding to see the results in print.

The paper can be found online here:


Even more exciting news(!): In January 2016, I will be joining the faculty at Rutgers University (New Brunswick campus) as an Assistant Professor of Planetary Sciences, where I will joining Professor Kent in the Paleomagnetism Laboratory.

I will also be giving a few seminars at Californian universities in the next few months.  I look forward to visiting all the awesome scientists at those schools and chatting about planetary mag!:

  • Caltech (October 28)
  • UC Santa Cruz (December 5)
  • San Jose State University (TBD)

Epic discovery…

I found a squirrel holding an acorn on the Moon today.  Isn’t it cute?


In reality, the ‘squirrel’ is a grain of iron-nickel (Fe-Ni) alloy in a lunar sample.  I am using the electron microprobe to determine the composition of the metal grains in several rocks to figure out what the magnetic carrier minerals are.  There are several different Fe-Ni alloys which can appear in extraterrestrial samples:  kamacite, taenite, martensite, tetrataenite, etc.  Each type of Fe-Ni alloy has different magnetic properties.  In order to properly contextualize our paleomagnetic results, we have to make sure we know what type of metal we’re looking at!

/just a slice of my life

Happy New Year 2014!

2013 was a pretty crazy year.  After a five year hiatus from fieldwork, I even went on two paleomag sample collection field trips:  one to the Slate Islands for my Berkeley postdoc, and one to Ladakh, India to collect samples for a Himalayan tectonics project at MIT that I’ll be supervising remotely.  Somehow during all of this I was also able to complete and defend my Ph.D. thesis…even though it did require a lot of topping up my solar charger when it was sunny and typing huddled inside my tent while it rained!  With a caribou grunting outside.

2014 promises to bring many more adventures, including moving to Berkeley, hitting up several conferences, and making a return trip to the tropical paradise that is the Slate Islands.  Strangely enough, I’m pretty close to the Slates right now!  Indeed, I am ringing in this new year from the banks of Lake Superior in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.  It’s a pretty festive night…I’m rocking out to some Lindsey Stirling techno violin music while editing a manuscript.  It’s really cold outside.  Lots and lots of snow:


Wishing everyone an awesome New Year!

AGU 2013

The American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting is one of my favorite events of the year.  I love meeting up with other geoscientists and catching up on what’s new in the community.  In addition to attending fabulous sessions in Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism (and Planetary Science!), I spent a fair amount of time in meetings.  There is so much to discuss about the evolution of the lunar core dynamo magnetic field, particularly regarding non-traditional dynamo mechanisms such as mantle precession and compositional convection.  I learned a lot this week!

Being in the Bay Area also gave me a chance to swing by my postdoctoral institutions, UC-Berkeley and the Berkeley Geochronology Center.  I got to spend some time optimizing the setup of the brand new Berkeley Paleomagnetism Laboratory with my new colleagues, as well as Isaac and Frank from Applied Physics/2G Enterprises.  It’s pretty amazing to see a new lab come together, and it’s giving me a taste of what it will be like to set up my own lab in the future (hopefully!).  On Wednesday night, we hosted a demo of our new XY-stage automatic sample changer at the annual BGC party.  Fun times!

I also got a chance to start playing with the samples Nick, Luke, and I collected from the Slate Islands Impact Structure this summer.  We are collaborating with Natalia, an awesome Russian paleomagnetist who will help us run some high-shock pressure experiments on samples to see how their magnetic properties may be affected by impact events.  We also had fun taking a series of “pretentious scientist photos” with our samples.  🙂  Happy geologizing!