03 December 2009

Polar Southampton

A scientist is rarely finished with a job when the contract runs out. That is a phenomenon that not rarely leads to scientists working themselves into pale, incommunicative geeks. It has advantages too, though! A new working environment may be of use in doing the previous jobs.

In Tromsø I already got help from a physicist who added some quantification to a tropical paper of mine. And here in the UK I found out about a Polar Network Day in Southampton. The north is still enticing me, so I wanted to go, keeping in frosty touch with the Arctic science community... and Roland did not object.

By sheer coincidence somebody had just before started a palaeoenvironmental discussion group, or something like that, so I took the opportunity to have a try-out of my talk, in which I would discuss the work presented in a manuscript I should submit soon. And to my delight there were two foram-heroes, who do not use forams for sea level reconstruction, and with whom I therefore normally do not have much contact. They were, to my delight, interested, and suggested we sit together some day soon to discuss matters in further detail. I'll get a chance to plug into their foram knowledge! That's good. And then the Polar Network Day itself had not even started.

Later it did. I started networking at 6 in the morning, as I could hitch a ride with an oceanographic modeller. We drove the actual day, so we needed to get up early. The bloke turned out to not only be a lovely guy, but even a German citizen willing to let me share in the beauty of the German language, and who taught me the word "Sollbruchstelle". Amazing! And we made it in time.

The talk went well, and I got lots of constructive comments. And the others, who covered the full range of physcial science applied in the high latitudes, managed to not let me doze off even once, in spite of the early hour I had risen.

After the last talk we went to the pub with those who did not need to catch a train or a plane. And went for dinner, too. That's where the real networking takes place! Due to failing communication with my B&B I, by the way, even almost had to network all through the night. So I spent my day in southern England, most of which in the exclusive company of Frenchmen, Poles and Mexicans, and I expect my Polar research to blossom because of it. Sometimes things do work out well in this nerdy world!

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