Brendan Hanger

Publication date
Monday, 18 Nov 2013

Towards the end of my undergraduate degree in geology, chemistry and chemical engineering at Monash University I was looking for an honours project in the petrology area, and my lecturers suggested ANU as a great place to study igneous and metamorphic systems. So in early 2009 I arrived in Canberra to start honours with John Mavrogenes, with a project looking at magnetite and trace elements in back-arc basins north of Papua New Guinea. Over the course of that year I found I really enjoyed the research side of things including doing high-pressure experiments and geochemical analysis. Towards the end of honours I decided that I wanted to do a PhD and started asking around and eventually met up with Greg Yaxley, who was able to offer a project looking at peridotite from South Africa and investigating redox and metasomatism. Showing up to that first meeting in Hawthorn Footy Club shirt may have sealed the deal!

The four years of my PhD were a great time to be around RSES, I made many lifelong friendships with fellow students from around the world (I was quite often the token Aussie at parties). Also there were many opportunities to do some really interesting research and to use some cool equipment, using the Australian synchrotron in Melbourne twice was a definite highlight. The opportunities were also amazing with trips to every Australian state, as well as Canada, USA and Italy for conferences, teaching or to use equipment.

During my first year of PhD study I got the chance to teach in a first year course, Blue Planet, and this awakened a real interest and passion for teaching. Throughout my studies I was able to teach in many courses including petrology and field courses. Since finishing my PhD I have been teaching at RSES, covering courses including  the Blue Planet,Groundwater and petrology. It's  been very satisfying to see how the students I have taught have developed and moved around, some of the first students I taught should finish their PhDs this year and many others have moved overseas for further studies. Overall, I really enjoy the opportunities I get teaching at RSES and I'm looking forward to seeing what the future brings.