Chris Harris-Pascal

Photograph of Geoscience Australia graduate Chris Harris-Pascal measuring groundwater samples taken during field work for his Honours project

I’ve always been interested in the application of science to real-world problems, but I discovered geology somewhat by accident. When I first enrolled in a Bachelor of Resource and Environmental Management (REM) at the Australian National University, one of the introductory courses was an introduction to geology. The scale and complexity of Earth Sciences came as quite a surprise, and I was instantly intrigued.

I subsequently transferred to a Bachelor of Science, majoring in geology and biology, and soon became passionate about both disciplines. Geology won out in the end because it gave me the opportunity to visit interesting field sites, and undertake a range of research which is immediately relevant to the wider world.

My interest in applied science, using science to solve practical problems, was extended during my Honours year by testing the potential for uranium isotopes to provide information about the flow rates and ages of groundwater. If the flow rates within a groundwater system can be determined, it is possible to determine how much groundwater can be pumped from the system for use without causing depletion of the aquifer.

The Geoscience Australia Graduate Program appealed to me because it offered an opportunity to learn about real-world applications for science in a number of different areas. My first placement for the year is with the geothermal section, undertaking a project which aims to determine the distribution of potential sites for geothermal energy exploration.

Meet the 2013 graduates