Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Bigness of Geoscience: Mid-Meeting Thoughts

From charges lying on bacteria in the ground to kilometer-sized gravity anomalies on the moon, geoscience is HUGE. The AGU Fall Meeting is huge too, but maybe on a couple orders of magnitude less than huge. The amount of coffee consumed here is HUGE, but not as huge as the amount of knowledge consumed. There are so many talks on so many topics, and a million (I may be off on my estimate) more posters on more topics. The titles of said talks and posters have so many words in them. There are thousands of important earth scientists concentrated into a two-block radius. Everything is so big.

In case I haven't explained the reason of my excitement to you in person, the AGU (American Geophysical Union) Fall Meeting is an annual earth science conference held in San Francisco. I have the privilege of attending because of the research internship I had this past summer with CMMAP (Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes) at Colorado State University. They are paying me to basically be in science heaven and present my research among the thousands others. It's pretty cool.

For those who have attended a Career Fair, particularly the one at Colorado School of Mines, imagine a super-duper-sized Career Fair, but instead of talking about getting oil, everyone is interested in science. That is only the exhibit hall. And there's the poster hall which takes forever to walk across from. And the countless talks simultaneously occurring.

It's overwhelming because as a third year undergrad, I don't really know exactly where in geoscience I want to go. Being a Geophysics major seems so general here. So the Meeting is a sampler of sorts. On the other hand, I am really grateful for my Mines education that has taught me so much, and my internship that taught me other aspects of earth science. I've attended lectures on Climate Change, Modeling, Induced Polarization in Bacteria, gravity remote sensing on the moon, numerical methods, and I've been able to somewhat understand them with my background knowledge. Until my coffee runs out. But AGU understands us scientists and our need for free coffee.

It's not just the caffeine in my blood: I'm excited about earth science right now, not gonna lie. Gotta go get more free swag and/or knowledge now. Over and out.