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  • Writer's pictureBelle Kenyon

Writing prompt: weaving science into poetry

With the Planet in Peril Poetry and Photography competition on its way, I would like to introduce to you Dr Michelle Cain, at Oxford University.

Michelle is the Science and Policy Research Associate, and will be generously writing a foreword for the book, as well as annotating your poems and photos, to ensure that this project is bang up to date with the latest scientific research on Climate Change.

Michelle’s core expertise is in air pollution, greenhouse gases and climate science. Her focus as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge (2009-2017) was on the greenhouse gas methane and its sources in the UK and in the Arctic. She took part in conducting large field campaigns to the Arctic to measure methane in the atmosphere, linking these measurements back to sources such as remote wetlands.

Currently she has just got back from Uganda, measuring methane over natural wetlands - and she's written a blog of her own about it here!

Artic - Planet in Peril

(Although not all of us can visit the Arctic Circle, you may find yourself inspired by other travellers – is this poem here is inspired by the Inuit of the Arctic Circle.)

In Cambridge, Michelle was the coordinator for the Cambridge Centre for Climate Science, a network of climate scientists in departments across the university and the British Antarctic Survey, responsible for a programme of activity to build the climate science community. Michelle also spent 18 months as a Natural Environment Research Council policy placement fellow at Defra (Department for environment, food and rural affairs), specialising in air quality. Her PhD, from the University of Reading, combined measurements with modelling of long range transport of pollutants in the atmosphere from North America to Europe, and also in the West African Monsoon.

(Why not put pen to paper to pin down how the air we breathe can become our enemy? Here are some poems which explore pollution.)

Pollution - Planet in Peril

Before embarking on her PhD, Michelle was a communications officer at the Institute of Physics, working on both media and public engagement. This put her in good stead for coordinating the outreach and knowledge exchange activities for two research projects in Cambridge.

As you can see, Planet in Peril is in excellent hands! I'm excited to see what you come up with.

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