Course: Stable Light Isotope Mass Spectrometry

A one-week intensive course offered by the Stable Light Isotope Laboratory, University of Cape Town, in collaboration with iThemba Laboratories, University of the Witwatersrand
Dates: 29 May – 2 June 2017
A course on the principles of stable light isotope mass spectrometry and applications in the natural sciences will be offered from 29 May – 2 June 2017, based at iThemba Labs at Wits. The convenor is Professor Judith Sealy, and the course will be team- taught by a group of life and earth scientists with extensive experience in stable isotope research. The format consists of an intensive series of daily lectures, tutorials and lab and instrument demonstrations over the course of one week. We aim to cover the theory and principles of stable light isotope research in general, and then to discuss applications in the life and earth sciences in particular. The course will be of interest to scientists in these disciplines who wish to use stable light isotopes as a tool in their particular fields. It is intended especially for post-graduate students intending to use these approaches in their thesis research. At the end of the course, certificates of attendance are issued to those whose attendance and participation has been satisfactory.
Course content
Lectures progress from general principles through more detailed attention to individual light isotopes (C, N, O, H) in various kinds of materials, and their use as research tools. More detailed technical aspects of mass spectrometry are included. Topics covered include the following:
Theory of fractionation, isotope effects, equilibria and kinetic effects
History of the field
Carbon isotopes and the carbon cycle, emphasising (i) photosynthesis, water use efficiency studies, plants and climate change in plant sciences, and (ii) animal and human foodwebs, and applications in ecology and archaeology
Nitrogen isotopes in marine and terrestrial foodwebs, nutrient cycling
Oxygen and hydrogen isotopes in hydrology
Oxygen isotopes in carbonates and other minerals, applied to oxygen isotope stratigraphy, palaeothermometry and environmental reconstruction
Multi-isotope approaches to ecological studies
Brief discussion of isotopic tools applied in forensics, pollution studies, and quality control (commercial applications).
Course fee
There is a fee of R500 for registered Wits or UCT students, payable by the supervisor; for others the fee is R3000. The fees cover course materials and teas (morning and afternoon). Meals and accommodation are not included.
As numbers are limited, please advise us of your intention to participate as early as possible. To register, complete the attached form and return as soon as possible, but no later than 12th May 2017, to the address below. Payment must be made or arranged before the course begins.
For further details, contact Professor Judith Sealy,
Tel: 021-650-4064

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