04 May 2014


I stood at my poster. I wasn't sure if anyone would be interested in it. But then some chap walked by. He turned out to be a guy I had emailed with; he had helped me with finding out if my relative sea level data could be explained by vertical land motion due to the waxing and waning of Icelandic ice sheets. He knew the answer had been "no"; he was looking forward to getting the final article in his hands, in which I would explain and justify a different cause for the seen changes. Nice! And then another chap who was into vertical land motion; he said they did have models that go back up to five million years; the data I was presenting fell well within that bracket. But the modellers need data to compare. So that was a "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" situation; I'll tell him where we find sea level 400.000 years ago with respect to current sea level, and then he'll improve his ice models.  Everybody wins!

 My poster in the poster hall, before the session

We had a medal lecture in our session

Then a microfossil god walked by. He had some thoughts on what you can and cannot find out from any assemblage of foraminifera or pollen. Nice as well! And some guys who pointed me in the direction of useful articles. If only for that, the conference had been worth it! But that was only 1.5 hours of the entire week.

 The conference centre from the outside

The rest of the week I had attended sessions relevant to the work I do in Bangor. And sessions relevant to the work I did in York and Bangor. And sessions relevant to the work I did in Tromsø. And in Amsterdam. And sessions about things that I just find interesting in general. And sessions in which friends spoke! It was all very interesting and useful.

And when I wasn't in a session I sometimes was somewhere at a table, mailing the BGS in preparation for this summer's cruise, editing a talk I have to give the week after EGU, doing frivolous internet things and blogging. One morning, when there were no early talks I wanted to attend, I went for a run in the Prater park. That was nice! The weather had been great all week, and that park is quite big and feels genuinely green (rather than manicured), and I even saw two woodpeckers and a baby squirrel from close by. An later that morning, between a talk at 10.30 and one at 13.30, I sneaked off to the glamorous Natural History Museum. That was lovely! 

Running in summery Vienna

Quite some time was also spent being social. I saw quite many friends! I had seen Emma already the first night; I saw her again the next day, together with an old friend from Norway. On Tuesday I hung out with colleagues from Durham. On Wednesday I had a quiet night in my apartment, and on Thursday there was the BRITICE dinner. BRITICE is the project I'm working on now. I met lots of new colleagues! And on Friday, Hugh got me into the convener's party. That's meant for partying until dawn, but I'm afraid I'm too old for that. An entire week without my bicycle had left me with sore feet, and I was tired. And I had to drive for two hours the next day! But I managed until 11PM or so. It was nice!

View from the balcony of the party

Altogether it had been a good week. I think my best EGU/AGU so far. The important things are: make sure you have a phone that works, so you can contact people; have a pleasant apartment, with good wifi, where you can happily work if you have a quiet congress day. That way you can make the most of the science on offer, of the time in between, and of the people there!

 Goodbye Vienna!

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