April 2011
Message 14

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[Met-jobs] PhD advert

From Benjamin Murray <>
To "''" <>
Date Wed, 6 Apr 2011 12:03:17 +0100

I'd like to advertise a PhD position on your list:

PhD position at the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science, University 
of Leeds

Project title: Designer ice nuclei for geoengineering of clouds


Dr Ben Murray, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, UK
Dr Steven Dobbie, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, UK
Dr John Morris, Asymptote Ltd, St John's Innovation Centre, Cambridge. UK 

Deadline for applications:  12:00 Tuesday 2nd May.  

The collective international failure to curb rises in greenhouse gas emissions 
means we need to consider back up plans to avoid the worst potential impacts of 
climate change.  A number of geoengineering schemes have been put forward and 
one of these involves modifying cirrus ice clouds.  Thin cirrus clouds have a 
net warming effect on the planet, but by seeding them with efficient ice nuclei 
their global coverage could be reduced thus resulting in a cooling of the 
planet. Research is urgently needed into the basic science that will underpin 
schemes such as this.

We propose a laboratory experimental study to identify materials which could be 
used to efficiently, safely and cost effectively nucleate ice (ice nuclei) in 
any future cloud geoengineering projects.  In order to use ice nucleation to 
control cloud properties we need seed materials which serve as efficient ice 
nuclei in the target cloud, but do not detrimentally impact other clouds at a 
later time, are not toxic and are cheap to mass produce.  The pool of existing 
ice nuclei is restricted and most do no not meet these criteria.  We will focus 
our efforts on porous materials which have received very little attention in 
the past.  Our strategy is to build on the experience and expertise at 
Asymptote Ltd who are experts in ice nucleation in the field of 
cryopreservation of biological samples.  Our goal is to develop a fundamental 
understanding of ice nucleation by porous materials and use this to design ice 
nuclei which would be ideal for a range of applications.  The primary focus of 
the student will be to identify ice nuclei for geoengineering purposes with 
potential benefits for society, whereas Asymptote Ltd will apply the same 
fundamental information to the commercial area of cryopreservation.  

Project objectives

. Design and test ice nuclei with geoengineering potential through a 
fundamental approach in collaboration with Asymptote Ltd who are experts in 
commercial applications of ice nucleation.
. Develop a fundamental understanding of ice nucleation by porous materials 
which could be used to create particles with the desired ice nucleating 
. Quantify the nucleating efficiency in the deposition and immersion mode of 
particles identified as potential geoengineering ice nuclei.
. Apply this new knowledge to other areas of science and technology which also 
require non-toxic ice nuclei, such as cryopreservation through Asymptote.

This is a funded 3.5 year CASE studentship part funded by both NERC and 
Asymptote Ltd.  It comes with an enhanced studentship of £2.5 K per year 
(contributed by Asymptote) more than the standard UK research council award (in 
2011/2012 this will therefore be £13,590 +.£2,500 = £16,090).

Further information
A more detailed description of the project can be found at:

Application informaiton can be found at:

Ben Murray's website:

Asymptote's website: http://www.asymptote,

Dr Benjamin J. Murray
Research Fellow/Lecturer
School of Earth and Environment
University of Leeds
Woodhouse Lane
Leeds LS2 9JT
Office: 44 (0)113 3432887
Mobile: 44 (0)789 9793997

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