A SCIENTIST who has just achieved a PhD in geophysics has thanked the National Coal Mining Museum for sparking her interest in the field.
Dr Zara Dennis, 30, born and raised in Yorkshire, is now living in Melbourne, Australia.
Two decades ago Zara celebrated her 10th birthday with a trip to the museum near Grange Moor, and that left her hooked on studying the earth and the natural environment.
Zara’s childhood fascination with the museum and her subject saw her pictured in the Examiner’s sister newspaper the Huddersfield District Chronicle.
Museum guide Jeff Thompson took Zara and her father on a tour and afterwards presented her with a cake, souvenir mug and her own miner’s helmet.
Zara’s personal tour was followed by a walk up the drift mine where they hunted for fossils.
Memory of the visit stayed with Zara, who recalled it last year in an article in the Geological Society of Australia’s The Australian Geologist magazine.
In it she thanked the National Coal Mining Museum for having sparked her interest in her chosen field.
Zara, originally from Leeds, is continuing her studies in Melbourne while teaching physics, geology and science in high schools.
Museum director Dr Margaret Faull had a letter from Zara just before she herself was due to return to her native Australia on holiday.
Dr Faull was able to meet Zara Down Under and take the story full circle.
"We hope other children are similarly inspired by the museum," Dr Faull added.