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Dr Oliver Lord

Dr Oliver Lord

Dr Oliver Lord
MSc, PhD

Royal Society University Research Fellow and Proleptic Lecturer

Area of research

The chemical architecture of the deep Earth

Office IC 2.15
Wills Memorial Building,
Queens Road, Clifton BS8 1RJ
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 331 4762


My research aims to shed light on the structure and evolution of the Earth and planets by studying the structure and properties of matter at extreme pressures and temperatures. To do this I combine micro-fabrication, laser-heated diamond anvil cell experiments, synchrotron based micro- and nano-scale analytical techniques and ab initio computations. Beyond geoscience, I apply these techniques to the phase diagrams and properties of transition metals and mechanical behaviour of engineering materials.

Royal Society University Research Fellowship

The character of our planet was defined by its earliest experiences. The kinetic energy from giant impacts as it accreted by collision with smaller planetesimals, combined with the heat from radioactive decay caused repeated, wholesale melting of the Earth, the segregation of the metallic core from the silicate mantle, and ultimately, the formation of the moon1. The ensuing magma oceans, which may have extended all the way to the core mantle boundary, would have solidified within a few tens of millions of years at most2. Despite being completed within the first few per cent of Earth’s lifespan, these processes had effects on the geodynamics and habitability of Earth that were profound3 and long lasting: after 4.567 billion years of vigorous convection, driving plate tectonics, volcanism and the continual renewal of Earth’s surface, not all traces of this period have been obscured4. Evidence from the fields of geochemistry, geophysics and geodynamics strongly suggest that its signature has been written, indelibly, into the chemical architecture of the deep Earth. The overarching goal of this proposal is to harness technological advances in high-pressure mineral physics, both experimental and computational, to unpick this short but critical period in Earth’s history. 


Royal Society University Research Fellow, October 2016 – September 2021 (School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol) The chemical architecture of the deep Earth 

NERC Postdoctoral Research Fellow, October 2013 – September 2016 (School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol) Diffusion in the DAC: Probing the physical state of the Earth's inner core.
NERC Postdoctoral Research Associate, October 2010 – September 2013 (Department of Earth Sciences, UCL) New models for the Earth's core: the neglected role of nickel - ab initio calculations and high P-T experiments on Fe-Ni alloys.
NERC Postdoctoral Research Assistant, May 2009 – September 2010 (School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol) Metallurgy at Extreme Conditions: Molten Iron-Alloy Constraints on the Light Elements in Earth's Core.
PhD in experimental petrology, October 2005 – April 2009 (School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol) Experimental constraints on the chemistry of the Earth's core: Novel approaches using the Laser-Heated Diamond Anvil Cell. Advisor: Prof. Michael J. Walter
MGeol in geology, October 2001 – July 2005 (Department of Geology, University of Leicester, UK)


Frontiers in Earth Science (EASCM0016)

Numerical Methods and Programming (EASC0039)


  • experimental petrology
  • planetary materials
  • iron-rich alloys
  • phase relations
  • engineering materials

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system


Dr Lord currently teaches 1 courses:

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