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Robert Law BSc MPhil

Robert Law BSc MPhil

PhD Candidate, Polar Studies

Rob's PhD involves the use of fibre optic cabling to obtain temperature and strain profiles of ~1 km deep, fast flowing ice at Store Glacier, Greenland. This data will hopefully reveal phenomenon such as the cold-temperate transition zone, viscous heat dissipation, basal melt rates, and crevasse refreezing in unprecedented detail. The data will feed into modelling studies, hoping to push forward our current predictive capabilities.



  • 2017-2018. MPhil (Distinction) in Polar Studies. Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, Fitzwilliam College. Thesis: The development and application of IceLake, an accurate and computationally efficient model of supraglacial lake evolution in the ablation zone of the Greenland Ice Sheet (addressing corrections for Journal of Glaciology).
  • 2013-2017. BSc (1st class honours) in Natural Sciences (Earth Sciences and Geography). Durham University. Thesis: Lava fields as deformation markers on the Tibetan Plateau (resubmitting to Geology).

Awards and scholarships

  • Debenham Scholarship for MPhil tuition (2017-2018)
  • PhD 3.5 year Studentship with Research and Training Studentship Grant (2018-2022), Cambridge Earth System Science Doctoral Training Partnership, National Environmental Research Council
  • B. B. Roberts Fund for Greenland fieldwork (2018)
  • Fitzwilliam College Travel Grant (2018)
  • Fitzwilliam College Graduate Tutors prize (2018)
  • Fitzwilliam College Senior Scholarship (2018)
  • B. B. Roberts Fund for European Geophysical Union presentation (2019)
  • Fitzwilliam College Travel Grant (2019)


My research combines both field and modelling elements. Building on a month of field experience in 2018, I will be installing fibre optic sensors in 0.8-1.2 km deep boreholes in 2019. These will measure temperature at 1 m resolution and acoustic vibrations at 10 m resolution, providing constraints on the thermal properties of basal ice, and perhaps underlying sediment. This will directly feed into modelling efforts to improve understanding of this section of the glacier which is vital for better predicting how the Greenland Ice Sheet will respond to future warming.


  • European Geophysical Union, Vienna (2019). Poster presentation: Over-winter persistence of supraglacial lakes on the Greenland Ice Sheet: results and insights from a new model. Robert Law, Neil Arnold, Corinne Benedek


  • Part IB Glacial Processes demonstrating on glacier modelling

External activities

  • Outreach activities at the Polar Museum Twilight events