Science in Prague: Part 1

Greetings from Prague! After suffering from jetlag, rushing to hang up my poster, and bewailing my temperamental phone camera, I’ve finally settled in.

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Waiting for my flight across the pond

I’m participating in IUGG2015, which stands for International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, which probably isn’t any clearer than the acronym. In essence, it’s a very large international organization where the members are countries, and the topics are any sort of earth science, from oceanography to atmospherics to earthquakes and so forth.

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Learning about atmospheric chemistry

So far it’s been an interesting experience for me. This isn’t a typical conference my research group goes to, but I jumped at the chance to attend as I was accepted to co-convene a session on ocean and ice shelves. I’ve been able to meet a fair amount of people I’ve heard of before, and that’s exciting. On the flip side, the first day or two I was at a loss to find anyone I knew, and spent a few meals on my own. People watching and the Prague landscape made up for the lack of companions.

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View from the conference center

In the first two days I was here, I managed to navigate the public transportation system well enough to make it out of the airport, correctly pronounced 4 names (out of 4) in my session, and presented my poster. Now I can sit back, learn about other science, and enjoy my stay in the city.

I’ll be back later with more updates, or follow along with me on Twitter or Instagram (mnemoniko on both) for more consistent updates.

Post-cruise update

It’s been quite sometime since I was on the DANCE research cruise, almost a year in fact!  And while I’m not involved in the project, I’ve gotten a few updates recently that may be of interest.

The DANCE project now has an official website!  If you are interested in the science behind the cruise, this is the place to start.  Alternately, if you are interested in viewing more pictures from the cruise, it is also a good place to start.

On the website, you will note that there aren’t a lot of presentations or publications at this point.  Remember how I mentioned that doing science can take a long time?  Well this is a good example.  Data from the cruise must be processed by different scientists, who all have other projects to work on and classes to teach.  Research results are shared among the group, more work is done, and eventually everything is written up and presented.  It can take a year or two before the first peer-reviewed research from the cruise is published.

Besides all the scientific publications, another important part of research is making it meaningful to the general public, which is you!  Basic research is a tough sell sometimes.  Scientists try to learn more about our oceans, and eventually that research may be applied in ways that better society, or, you know, save a city from rising sea levels.  But in the meantime, we have to convince you (and Congress) that spending money for knowledge is a worthwhile pursuit.

As part of the outreach for the DANCE project, Dan Tomaso, who was our on-board meteorologist, answered some questions about the cruise.  Check out his live, on-air interview here!

And if all this reminiscing about the good ol’ days of research cruising has made you nostalgic, you can browse posts and photos from that cruise using the Research Cruise category.