Independence Day

We have been here for 3 days now, and just celebrated July 4th, with Seth leading us in what turned out to be an awful, but heartfelt, rendition of God Bless America, in honor of US Independence Day. We have now recovered our energy and the students are pushing forward with project development. So far, the core students are making remarkable progress on their project ideas and we have learned about some fascinating tools and developed some interesting new twists on some old ideas.

As Julian put it during last night’s reflection, ‘there is an energy crackling in the air around us’ as new ideas spring up and conceptual understanding deepens. We all feel it, I think it must be contagious, passed around like a benign virus and lifting us all up. Those of us labeled as PIs are reminding the core students to focus on what they want to know, not what they want to do. They should ask a good question, develop an interesting hypothesis, we will find a way to test it later. Everyone here has been chipping in to help the core students sort through the jumble of ideas and new information rattling around their brains as they create a coherent project.

But their Independence Day is approaching.

Soon they will take full ownership of an idea and will take on the responsibility to see it through to a conclusion. We leave tonight for Duvannyi Yar, where we will lay our hands on 20,000 year old permafrost, pull plant roots from the soils that have been frozen since the Pleistocene, and maybe find a mammoth bone or two. A couple of days after we return, we leave for the tundra. There the core will learn to fly on their own as they chase their favorite ideas across the landscape.

I look forward to tagging along for the ride.

2 Responses to “Independence Day”

  1. July 04, 2014 at 2:01 pm, Paul Mann said:

    Glad to hear the energy is crackling along team! Enjoy getting muddy at Duvanni Yar, exploring an amazingly unique personal and scientific experience.. and try not to ‘lose your boots’ too soon!
    Good luck to all of the students in developing new exciting ideas, and to the PIs to be able to keep up with them! Paul

  2. July 07, 2014 at 4:36 am, Nicola Weiss said:

    Thank you for letting us be a part of this great research! It is an inspiration to all of us.