Thoughts from the Moscow airport

July 7th, 2008

From the Moscow airport

We have been traveling for a long time now and are waiting for, in some cases, our third red-eye in four days, as others have already mentioned.  We have used this time to get to know each other and to begin what will be an ongoing conversation about Arctic science.  We are also learning some lessons about the process of science, as many of us so-called ‘PI’s’ have at best a vague idea of what we will be accomplishing this trip, at least scientifically (don’t worry, our travel plans are well worked out!).  The beginning of a new project is a chaotic process under the best of conditions, and is complicated by the fact that most of us have never even seen the field sites we are speculating about.  But we have already had a number of productive conversations, and some tentative plans are forming.  Fluid would certainly be an apt description of these plans.  We are all dealing well with uncertainty at this point, and in fact it adds a certain excitement, as students and faculty both have an opportunity to contribute to the development of ideas.The Moscow airport, however, is not the ideal location for the development of these ideas, so we are looking forward to our next destination, where we will have a chance to look at maps of field sites, check out some data, and refine our ideas.

The highlight for me today was the opportunity to chat with the students one-on-one for a few minutes about hopes for the trip and our shared scientific interests.  We have a diverse group of students and faculty, all with unique points of view. Weaving our perspectives together is quite likely to lead to a whole that is much more than the sum of the parts. I look forward to taking this intellectual ride.