Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - ATOMIC TO GLOBAL (Physics and chemistry of earth materials: From the atomic scale to a global perspective)

The ATOMIC TO GLOBAL training programme focussed on studies of the physics and chemistry of Earth materials, with particular emphasis on how structure and interactions at the atomic scale could be translated for understanding bulk properties and global processes.

Early stage researchers (ESRs) conducted research projects under the close supervision of internationally acknowledged experts on a broad range of topics within geoscience and materials science. They were trained on state of the art equipment and received complementary training through a broad range of academic courses, seminar presentations, weekend seminars and active participation at national and international conferences. Supervisors were drawn from the academic staff of Bayerisches Geoinstitut, where research fields cut across traditional disciplines.

The training programme extended over four years and awarded four PhD fellowships of three years duration and eight short term fellowships, ranging from 3 to 12 months duration, to an equal number of men and women. ESRs with short term fellowships were either already engaged in postgraduate studies at a different university and used the fellowship to complement their thesis project, or had not yet started postgraduate study and used the fellowship to enhance their career prospects for finding a postgraduate position. At the end of their fellowships, all ESRs either found positions in academia or industry or were successful in obtaining postgraduate fellowships that enabled them to continue their PhD studies. Five of the ESRs gained their PhD degrees during the ATOMIC TO GLOBAL project, one ESR was expected to submit his thesis during 2010, and the other six ESRs were expected to submit their theses during 2011.

The ATOMIC TO GLOBAL programme produced nine papers, which were either published or in press by the time of its completion, with ESRs as first author, five papers with ESRs as co-authors and a further five papers that were submitted for publication. Twelve papers were in preparation by the end of the reporting period. All accepted papers were published in internationally recognised journals, including one in Nature and one in Physical Review Letters. There were 79 presentations made by ESRs of their work at conferences, workshops and other scientific meetings, of which 40 presentations were oral and 39 were given as posters. Three of the presentations were invited. All ESRs fulfilled all of their training requirements, some several times over, and altogether the ESRs took part in the 30 different conferences, 17 different workshops and 15 other scientific meetings. The host institute was involved in the organisation or giving of 13 lecture and 22 training courses during the period of the project, which involved 1 080 hours of instruction to a total number of 858 participants, of whom 100 were ESRs in the ATOMIC TO GLOBAL project. Many ESRs took part in multiple courses.

Numerous scientific and technological achievements were made by the ESRs through their research projects. These included new models for diamond formation in the deep Earth through high pressure and high temperature experiments, calculation of structures and discovery of phase transitions in a phase relevant to the deep mantle, studies of rocks during subduction and melting processes to explain the distribution of elements observed in natural samples, the relation of oxidation reactions to the progressive melting of rocks and to the upwelling of deep mantle material with implications for the Earth's ancient atmosphere, influence of the physical and chemical properties of melts and ash on the nature and impact of volcanic eruptions and, finally, determination of the structure and bonding of a superhard semiconducting optically transparent high pressure phase of boron.

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