The Melbourne Thermochronology Research Group (MTRG; https://www.melbournethermochronology.com/) is seeking a PhD candidate to pursue a project in the fields of Thermochronology and Computer Science at the University of Melbourne, Australia, to begin in mid 2022.
As part of a cross-disciplinary collaboration between the MTRG and the Melbourne Data Analytics Platform (MDAP; https://mdap.unimelb.edu.au/), this PhD project aims to utilise machine learning techniques to develop artificial neural networks which are capable of identifying, quantifying and characterising microscopic crystallographic features in minerals.
The project will focus on the digital fission track methodology, a microscopy-based geological dating technique involving the identification and measurement of radiation damage zones in crystals resulting from spontaneous fission of 238U atoms. This is a technique pioneered by researchers in the MTRG who have developed the world’s leading technology in this area (https://fissiontrackstudio.com/). Utilising an existing database of more than 30,000 photomicrograph stacks of fission tracks in mineral grains, the PhD candidate will develop, train and test an artificial neural network for the purposes of automatically identifying and quantifying 3D crystallographic features in photomicrographs under the supervision of MTRG and MDAP academics. The applicability of the resulting image analysis algorithms to other digital microscopy techniques will also be explored.
Eligible applicants should have a BSc in a related field, a MSc degree (or 4th-year Honours degree) in Computer Science or Earth Science, and a strong record of oral and written communication skills in English. Applicants with an Earth Science educational background should have prior computational science experience and knowledge of the Python programming language. Additional programming skills (e.g. familiarity with Linux), machine learning experience, other programming languages (e.g. Java), and familiarity with microscopy and geological concepts are highly valued but not required.
Students who are accepted into the program are automatically entered for consideration for a Graduate Research Scholarship or Melbourne Research Scholarship, which are awarded to domestic and international students, respectively, based on academic merit to cover remission of fees and living expenses.
To enquire or apply, please contact Dr Samuel Boone (firstname.lastname@example.org). Applicants should provide the following:
- Cover letter (stating motivation, summarising scientific work and research interest)
- CV (education, work and research record, publications, and other qualifying activity)
- Names and contact details of 2-3 references (name, relation to candidate, and e-mail)
More information on the position and how to apply can be found here: