Being a University Museum, the collections that are held in the Sedgwick Museum serve many purposes. While only a small proportion are on display and able to be enjoyed by the general public, many specimens play an important role in the teaching undertaken in the Department of Earth Sciences, of which the Museum is a part.
Fossils, minerals and rocks are used in practical classes, while the Museum displays are a very useful resource for small group teaching. Specimens from the collection are used for research projects by more advanced undergraduate students, as well as by post-graduate students. The collections are continually being enhanced by material studied for Ph.D. theses.
Discover more about studying Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge in this video featuring Museum Curator of Mineralogy and Petrology Professor Marian Holness and Sir David Attenborough
In addition to being an invaluable resource for students from within the Department, the exhibitions and collections are used by a wide range of students from other HEFCE funded tertiary organisations: from art students, to historians of science, to students undertaking museological courses, to those doing scientific research based on material from the collections.
The possibility that the extinction of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago may have been caused by the eruption of the Deccan lavas in India has been increased by new research, published in the Geological Society of America Bulletin (doi:10.1130/B31167.1).
A view of the Mahabaleshwar escarpment in the western Ghats, India. Just a small part of the 3.6 km thick pile of lavas that flooded over the Deccan region of India some 66 million years ago? (photo copyright Dr Sally Gibson, Dept. Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge)