Up till very recently, I have spent a career exploring for oil and gas in the deep ocean, looking under several kilometres of water and an even greater thickness of sediments to find the prize. It has been a great life in the oil industry, and I’ve been to places and done things you don’t normally get to do for a living, like hacking through the jungles of South America, or nearly getting drowned by a rainstorm in the Sahara, both of which I’ve done. But for the most part, I have been looking not at the things themselves, but at echoes of echoes: images produced by bouncing sound waves off the sediment layers, stored on a computer and looked at on a computer screen in an office building in Houston. So I find it tremendously exciting to have a new career now, one in which I can actually get to see in real life some of the things I have been studying. It will be a new experience for me to actually go out on research ships and be part of the team that is out there getting the data, sending down probes to look at the sea floor, sampling the sediments and bringing them up to the ship, and actually getting literally down and dirty with the rocks and sediments. I can’t wait to get stuck in!