Mathieu J. Duchesne

Hi! My name is Mathieu J. Duchesne. I am a Research Scientist at the Geological Survey of Canada in Quebec City. As long as I can remember I have always been attracted by science, especially Earth sciences. How the land and the ocean interact and how the Earth has formed are something that have fascinated me for a long time. What is even more intriguing is how such a dynamic planet has been able to survive and evolved for 4.54 billion years!

My research thematic consists in studying the subsurface geology of Canada. In order to do so, I am using a geophysical method named seismic reflection. This method uses sound waves to image the internal structure of the Earth’s crust and gives information about the geological layers that forms it. Seismic reflection uses vibrator trucks on land and airguns at sea. Vibrator trucks and airguns emit waves travelling through the subsurface. Waves are reflected when they hit the interface of geological layers and highly sensitive receivers are collecting reflections coming from depths that sometimes reach more than 20 km.

Q: What is the title of your job and what do you do?

A: I am a Research Geoscientist specialized in geophysics.

Q: Who do you work for, and where are you based?

A: I work for the Geological Survey of Canada, a branch of Natural Resources Canada. I am based in Quebec City, Quebec.

Q: How would you describe the Earth sciences or your work in a single word?

A: Complex

Q: What kind of hours/shifts do you work? or What is your typical work routine?

A: There is no routine per say. Research work involves periods of creation, analysis, data collection, writing, idea exchange with colleagues that are not restricted to a fixed time frame. I can be in the office between 7:30am and 9 am and out between 4 and 7pm.

Q: Where do you work? (office, laboratory, field, overseas, etc.)

A: I work in the office most of the time but sometimes on the field to collect geophysical data. I also participate in scientific meetings that make me travel in Canada and around the world.

Q: What equipment/machinery do you use?

A: I am using a super-computer especially made for calculations because I am processing lots of data.

Q: What education or training is required for your job?

A: A Ph.D. degree in physics, geology, geophysics or mathematics.

Q: What kind of personal traits do you recommend for this profession?

A: I can name a few: curious, innovative, perseverant and passionate.

Q: What is the salary range of your job?

A: 60 000$ to 125 000$

Q: What do you like best about your job?

A: The opportunity to learn something new everyday and the challenges it offers.

Q: What are the advantages (benefits, seasonal work, travel, people, etc.?)

A: Research is a working environment that is inspiring because most if not all of my colleagues are passionate of what they do. Plus my job gives me the opportunity to travel in places that I would never visit otherwise.

Q: What are the advancement opportunities for this career?

A: There are many. As your career progresses you will be asked to lead science projects and programs, be an expert on scientific panels and even become a director!

Q: How physically demanding is your job?

A: My job isn’t really physically demanding; it is mostly my brain that endures all the work-related suffering.

Q: Why did you choose this career?

A: Simply because I am curious, really curious!

Q: What is your most memorable moment/event/place related to your experience as an Earth scientist?

A: Once I was out in the Atlantic Ocean on a research vessel to collect geophysical data, I looked at the depth sounder and it was indicating over 5000 m of water depth. That made feel really small!

Q: What is your advice to newcomers?

A: Always have fun learning.

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