30, September 2016: The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Birkbeck celebrates the first year of the completion of thestate of the art Petrology lab space, expansion of student learning opportunities and being rated number one for overall student satisfaction in the National student survey.

The new petrology laboratory in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences is the latest addition to Birkbeck’s teaching estate. The Petrology laboratory in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Birkbeck is the first of its kind in the UK; it offers scientific apparatus, including a mineralogical microprobe, enabling staff and students to carry out elemental analyses of different geological samples in near real time. Teaching equipment includes 67 student stations, each equipped with its own state-of-the-art microscopes and touchscreen computers and the laboratory also has lecture capture technology.

The laboratory was constructed over the summer of 2015 and has state-of-the-art audio visual facilities, petrological microscopes and computers at each student station. The computers can receive switchable feeds from the lecturer’s teaching microscope, the lecturer’s computer, the lecturer’s hand-specimen visualiser video feed, and from an electron microprobe located adjacent to the petrology laboratory. The lecture/presentation can be captured on high definition video. All video and audio material, including views of the classroom and lecturer, plus microprobe, hand-specimen visualiser and petrological microscope video feed can be streamed so that distance learners can participate.

In addition the ethos around the importance of distance learning is the launch of the new MSc Geochemistry. Birkbeck is the only university to offer advanced training in Geochemistry in depth via evening study and distance learning.

Students can choose to attend all programmes in central London or can also study by distance learning via the online learning environment. Distance learning students can access course materials and recordings of lectures wherever they are in the world - and whenever it suits them. Study on all programmes is supported by full video footage of lectures uploaded to the virtual learning platform and supported by extensive digital lecture notes. Live video feeds from classes taking place in the new Petrology lab are streamed to distance learning students in real time.

Professor Roberts, head of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, says: ‘Many of our students already work in a field related to geology – for example mining or oil and gas – and travel regularly or are based in the field for long periods of time, which makes being able to access lectures online essential.’

Birkbeck, University of London is a world class research and teaching institution,a vibrant centre of academic excellenceand London’s only specialist provider ofevening higher education. The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, is part of the highly rated joint UCL-Birkbeck Institute of Earth and Planetary Sciences (IEPS) and students have access to a wide range of research resources and technical expertise. The department achieved an outstanding result in the Research Excellence framework 2014, remaining in the top 6 in the UK.

For More Information

Contact Earth and Planetary Sciences Programme Administrator quoting code LS251 at: or telephone 020 7631 6665/0203 073 8032.

To start a course in October 2016:

For Media Contact:
Steve Hirons
Birkbeck, University of London,
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences,
Malet Street,
Bloomsbury, London, WC1E 7HX
0207 631 6665/0203 073 8032

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