05 February 2016


Scientific disagreement keeps science moving. One locally famous battle is the discussion on the big sand ridges in the Celtic Sea. They are so prominent they are even mentioned (although not shown) on the Celtic Sea Wikipedia page. This page says they're tidal. Are they? I think not. Many explanations for their genesis have been proposed; two of these have stuck to the present day. My dear colleague James is in the "tidal" camp. We have a chap, who is in the camp that thinks they are glacial, in our project; he was with us on the boat when we tried to resolve it ourselves. Both James and this chap, Dan, were on the day shift, while I was doing nights, so I missed all the scientific firework. As seismics don't penetrate well into these ridges, and neither do cores, the discussion remained inconclusive.

Dan showed up in Buxton for our annual meeting. We had new work to present; soem of that by our finished MSc and beginning PhD student Ed. All his work pointed in the direction of the ridges indeed being glacial. Ed himself wasn't there, but one can imagine Ed and Dan were keen to discuss. I suggested Dan should pop by in Bangor before he would move to Brazil (long story). I didn't hear anything about that since.

Until Friday. I suddenly got an email stating Dan would be visiting the next Monday. Blimey! Talk about short notice. But I was glad to see him! He's a lovely chap, and not only that; he always asks all the questions I wished I had thought of. I am always keen to pick his brain! And we made sure he'd hobnob with all our MSc and PhD students; he'd ask these very uselful questions to them too. Invaluable!

I spent the Monday evening with Dan and Ed. The next day I was keen to let them have a bit of rummaging without me; I had teaching to prepare for. And then I saw that my old PI Ivan was coming to Bangor for a viva. Also without warning! I was keen to see him too. Not only as a former PI; he's a lovely chap too, and he's even a runner and a caver. And he did amazing work on my Iceland paper.

I had just agreed to see him quickly between work and Welsh class when I received a message: the Cave Rescue team was put on standby. Oh dear! As if not enough was happening. Luckily we were stood down soon after. So I got to go see Ivan undisturbed. It was nice! It would have been nice if people give notice when they visit, but it has worked out; I've done my networking! And I hope that Dan's incessant questioning of everything that can be questioned has rubbed off a bit. We'll see!

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