My name is Leila Battison. I have just completed a DPhil in Palaeontology and Astrobiology at the University of Oxford. I am currently researching ways of detecting life on the ancient Earth and other planets at NASA Ames Research Centre in California. In my spare time I pick up a pen and draw, and occasionally can be tempted to pursue other artistic occupations.
At NASA I am working with the Exobiology research branch, to work out what traces life leaves in rocks, that may be detectable over billions of years, or billions of miles.
My PhD was in early life Palaeontology and Astrobiology – I looked for fossils in the most ancient rocks on earth, and use them to understand how and where we might find life in space. The fossils I work on are more than ten times older than dinosaurs, and 100,000 times smaller. Exciting stuff. For more reasons why my PhD is cool, check out Science. As well as working on my PhD, I also taught Earth Sciences, Evolution, Astrobiology, Biology and Geography, to various levels when the opportunity comes along.
Artistically, I seem to have an aversion to colour. I mainly produce illustrative artwork, a pursuit which has led to my participation in the production of Bang! the Oxford student science magazine.
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