17 December 2009

It’s Beer O’Clock!

Posted by Michael McFadden

Beer O'Clock!Let’s admit it–Earth scientists love their spirits. I can’t remember a field excursion where after 8-9 hours of thumping, resistivity tests, and mapping, we didn’t get back to camp and imbibe on the amber nectar.

I remember a prof in college who exemplified the geo-culture of beer. Days before we went to Mexico to look at outcrops that exposed the KT boundary, he announced in class that we were to strictly adhere to laws prohibiting underage drinking. After the shocked silence that followed–few of us were over 21–he gleefully trumpeted, “You do know, of course, that the legal age for drinking in Mexico is 16! Enjoy those Coronas!” (That prof also described one late night in the lab where he figured that he’d test whether magnetotactic bacteria liked beer as much as he did…but that’s another story).

Another prof in college had more refined tastes–he brought oodles of wine to share on field trips. He also served us grilled asparagus and warmed brie–all made over the campfire–after we had pitched our tents. But he never passed up AGU’s beer o’clock.
It is something unique to our field–peanut butter is to jelly as rocks is to beer. The casual ease of discussing your work over a drink is not overlooked by AGU. I’m sitting in Moscone South watching researchers, beer in hand, discuss their posters with friends, with colleagues, with people they don’t even know. It is a wonderful sight!

–Mohi Kumar, AGU Science Writer