16 December 2014

AGU Fall Meeting 2014: Day 1

Posted by Jessica Ball

And we’re off! Monday was a mixed bag of service and science for me – I started off as a panelist for the first-ever workshop on Honors nominations, talking about the successful nominations I’ve seen while serving on the Science For Solutions committee. (This is what happens when you blog about things like gender and age imbalances in the who nominates and gets nominated for awards – you get to talk about it more at Fall Meeting!) The workshop was a little delayed by the crazy long lines for registration in Moscone West:

Remember to bring your badge and avoid the lines next time...

Remember to bring your badge and avoid the lines next time…

The discussion was really enlightening, centering around transparency in the nominations process (who nominates who, should they know about it, how the reviewers look over the packages), and what reviewers hope to see in a nominations package. The take-away message? Tailor the nomination to the package and don’t use ‘form’ letters. CVs are great, but the letters are your chance to tell a compelling story about the nominee.

At 2:50 I got to catch the talk by the winner of the Science For Solutions Award (which I’m on the committee for). Chigomezyo Ngwira studies extreme space weather and how it can impact things like power grids – particularly solar wind and solar flares. By studying how solar weather affects and induces geomagnetic currents on Earth, we can learn how to better prepare electrical utilities to withstand the effects of, for example, coronal mass ejections (CMEs).



In the afternoon, I finally had a chance to settle down and watch some talks in the volcanology “What can pyroclasts tell us?” session. My favorite was by Hugh Tuffen, who was describing features at the obsidian lava domes of Cordon Caulle in Chile called “ash nozzles.” Venting of gases and ash during Vulcanian eruptions created veneers of oxidized material and adhered ash on surfaces around the vents, and even resulted in sintering of some of the ash.

Today will have more of a science angle, and I’ll be spending a lot of my time in the poster hall. One last minute addition – I’ll be appearing on the Blogging Panel this evening at 5 in Moscone West 3000, talking about transitioning from a student to a policy wonk to a government employee, and still maintaining this blog. Come join us!