21 May 2011

Project meeting

Most of the year, I am sitting in front of a microscope in an obscure lab in Plymouth, Tasha is sitting in front of a microscope 600km away, Roland and Antony are being important somewhere, and the people at Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory are minding their own business. And altogether that means the boundaries of science are being pushed forward in the direction as laid out in the proposal of the project, but that can be hard to discern from a distance. Also for us. So every now and then we get together, and update each other on the progress made. That sharpens the focus en fires the imagination. After a meeting like that I always feel like a new broom. It was time again for one of these meetings.

The Tuesday was reserved for the field team: Antony and Tasha from Durham, and Roland and me from Plymouth. We keep each other up to date on the state of things, but it was good to get together, go through every field site in detail, discuss the problems we had encountered doing the analyses, and decide on how we would proceed. It was a good meeting! And the result was as desired: I couldn’t wait to get back to the lab and get on with the analyses.

But not that fast. First there was the entertaining bit to be done. We adjourned to my favourite pub for a splendid after-meeting beer, which was joined by Marta who had participated in one of the fieldworks, and a Plymouth master student who would do his PhD with Antony in Durham. And after a very good meal Roland took the last reasonable train home, and Antony took over. The night ended merrily in the gin distillery.

The field team in a restaurant: me, Antony, Tasha and Roland

The next day the team would be complete: Phil and Miguel from Liverpool would join us. We briefed them on the results of the last day, and they told us what they had been doing, and then we discussed how we would integrate that work. It is the integration between our proxy records and their modelling that makes this project so excellent! And of course this is not achieved without difficulty; otherwise it would already have been done long ago.

With a clear view on where we were and where we were heading we broke up the meeting. A last meal was enjoyed in a Moroccan restaurant, and then all went their way. In October we'll see each other on screen during a conference call. And until then we can return to the frantic race to get the work done! But after this pep talk we'll run with renewed energy...

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