Wednesday, February 11, 2009

science talks and new ice.

Hola everyone,

I have strongly mixed feelings about giving "talks" about my work.
First of all there's a little nervousness and public speaking
anxiety. But I think one of the main problems I have is the lack of
interaction with the audience. Especially when the audience is mixed
-- some get bored while others are working hard to follow along. In
these situations, I feel like I drag trying to explain everything on
the slides. Talks are much different than teaching in this respect.
Even if I'm lecturing, my goal is to make sure students understand.
In research talks, I should relax that objective a little in order to
keep the pace (in fact I've received this advice before but I'm
trying to internalize it now). I felt a little let down after my
talk today, which tried to accomplish an overview of ocean modeling,
some thesis-related stuff, and some more cruise-related work.
Fortunately, I've gotten a huge amount of informative and
encouragement from the audience since finishing -- restoring faith
that the message got across and that the preparation was worth it.

In order to have really productive, brainstormy type talks on an
individual level, it's important to lay it out there in any form
(maybe unpolished) for people to digest as much as they can. This
may not be a revelation, but for me, it's important to realize that a
talk is really a stepping stone and not an endpoint.

Anyway, enough philosophizing. An exciting development over the past
few days, as we traverse areas of relatively thick sea ice on the
continental shelf break, is the appearance of "new ice". It's been
cold and relatively calm out and sea ice is starting to form (maybe
the summer is coming to a close already?). Though we've been off and
on in heavy "first-year" ice up to 2 or 3 meters thick, new sea ice
is much more exciting. Right when it forms, even when it's very
thin, the waves change and you only see the longer wavelengths. Then
you start to get "fingering nilas" -- which tends to break up and
fracture into thin interlocking segments. For some reason the process
is really exciting for me to watch. I'm hoping this will keep up
over the next few days, before we leave the ice for good. I expect
'll be spending some quality time on the bow if it does.


  1. Hi Chris!!! sorry i'm a bit late in joining this blog..better late than never though, right? sounds like you are having a fascinating time. i hope you are taking lots of photos that you'll incorporate into a killer slide show during our next MAGIC rendezvous. say hi to the penguins!

  2. The kids were wondering if there is a difference in mass between the same volume of new vs old sea ice?

    Your data is posted on the IPY Oceans Day Educational Activities page! THANK YOU SO MUCH! The "Shadow Crew" will be meeting on Tuesday to anser your comparison questions. I'll have photos to share and they will write answers to you.