An Exchange of Knowledge

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Taking on the 2014 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting

American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting

December 15, 2014 to December 19, 2014

San Francisco


Jordan Eagle

SPS Chapter:

(From left to right) Dr. Rhett Herman, Melissa Brett, Jordan Eagle, Corey Roadcap, Cameron Baumgardner, and Sarah Montgomery pose for a photo in front of their poster presentation. Photo courtesy of Jordan Eagle.

The AGU Fall Meeting is one of the largest scientific conferences in the nation, with more than 20,000 attendees. Its poster hall is gigantic, with hundreds upon hundreds of presenters. But there was one poster presenter in particular who stands out in my memory.

My research team had been set up in the cryosphere section. We were presenting research findings from an ongoing study looking for a correlation between the surface temperature of Arctic Sea ice and its thickness; finding a relationship could allow us to study larger areas of ice in shorter amounts of time and with more cost-effective methods.

As it happened, a graduate student presenting a poster near us was studying the same location we studied, the shore of the Chukchi Sea in Barrow, Alaska. She shared with me her research about the influence of water movement on ice and her work surveying bodies of water using aerial methods. It was thought provoking to hear how this aerial data could improve our own future work.

Being able to compare results and share data with other student researchers was something new to me. Exchanging knowledge can be crucial as a scientist; new information from collaborations with other scientists allows you to make changes to your ongoing research. AGU, I learned, can be a great place for this exchange.

Walking around the thousands of posters, I had the opportunity to speak with others who had conducted research in many different fields. From radioactive elements to heliophysics to pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, the research topics included really anything under the sun.

Exhibitors were also present in the poster hall to showcase new technologies, give talks on topics such as global climate models, and discuss graduate school and career paths. At the NASA booth I was introduced to new software that was absolutely breathtaking. Developed by NASA, Eyes on the Solar System is an accurate computer model of the solar system that feels like a video game. Users can observe the motions of celestial bodies in real time and view events from 1950 to 2050, touring the past, present, and future. You can even view Voyager 1 in real time!

I look forward to further indulging my desire to learn new knowledge about the world around me at future conferences, and I encourage every student to nourish his or her knowledge and enjoy the company of colleagues and fellow scientists at conferences. //

Next up

The 2015 AGU Fall Meeting will take place Dec. 14-18, 2015, in San Francisco. Learn more at Check out other AGU meetings at