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Space Summer School: Day 1 of "Geophysics of the Terrestrial Planets" [20140715|21:24]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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[the weather today is |energised]

[Oh, you know, just some Alps in the background.]

The official opening of the 38th Austrian Space Summer School began with the ringing of an enormous cowbell at the Schoolhouse at 8:30 AM. The clanging was followed by a number of lectures, beginning with a broad overview by the head of the German space agency (DLR) and proceeding with ever-increasing specificity through a range of geophysical topics. It ended with the students finally being taken off tenterhooks when the composition of their four teams were announced and their dedicated tutors (one Science, one Engineering) assigned.

We trekked up the hill back to the hotel for drinks and dinner, which were followed by yet another lecture. Despite the deluge of information, the students are still all keyed up. Everyone of the teams is downstairs in the hotel bar (it is now 11 PM), forming working groups and discussing potential mission parameters.

Official language of the School: B.E. (Broken English)
Best lecture of the day: "Terrestrial and planetary tectonics". And I'm not just saying that because he talked about Hawai'i a lot.
Best interruption of the day: A mobile phone ringing persistently. This doesn't sound that great until you know that it turned out to be the speaker's. The director of planetary science at the DLR had to answer call from ESA in the middle of his own lecture.
(Probable) Fact of the Day: Erwin Schrödinger is buried in the graveyard of this village. I shall at some point make a little trip to his grave, so that I can collapse the wave function of my knowledge of its existence through observation of it myself.
Quote of the Day: "In space missions, it is not that failure is not an option. Failure is the default mode. You have to work extremely hard not to fail." -- spacecraft engineer

I'm in my hotel room now with my feet up, exercising the principle of Conservation of Spoons, because I know that my expertise, while not immediately required, will certainly be in demand well before the end of the next nine days.

This entry was originally posted at http://nanila.dreamwidth.org/934043.html. The titration count is at comment count unavailable.0 pKa.

[User Picture]From: cosmiccircus
2014-07-16 00:12 (UTC)
Hopefully you'll see a cat by Schrödinger's grave!
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[User Picture]From: alice_mccoy
2014-07-16 06:27 (UTC)
Exactly what I was gonna say :)

My other comment was a question. Who are the students? Where do they come from?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2014-07-16 12:11 (UTC)
The students are from lots of places! About half are from Austria or Germany, but the rest are from Scandinavia, the UK, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, Romania, etc. Some are doing their first degree at universities, other their PhDs, and a few are even a little bit older than that. About half are engineers and half are scientists.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2014-07-16 12:09 (UTC)
No cats, only bees. People seem very fond of dogs here, but I have yet to see a cat. The grave is only a few steps from the front of the hotel, though, so I shall keep watch.
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From: tyrell
2014-07-16 06:35 (UTC)
>>I shall at some point make a little trip to his grave, so that I can collapse the wave function of my knowledge of its existence through observation of it myself.

You're great :D
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2014-07-16 12:08 (UTC)
I found it! Wave function collapsed. Photographic evidence in next post.
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[User Picture]From: pax_athena
2014-07-16 21:07 (UTC)
Oooh, this sounds amazing! All of it :) I hope teaching the school will be as good an experience as participating in it is (I may have mentioned this, but I think I know people who attended in the past).
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2014-07-17 12:48 (UTC)
Thus far I'm holding myself back because they're still in very early stages of mission selection and finding the balance of leadership in their teams. I know I will be most useful later on (when they've got mission objectives and are trying to meet them with realistic technology) so I'm mostly sitting back and watching. It's quite difficult not to butt in - all these lectures are giving me fabulous ideas although I know that's not my job here!
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[User Picture]From: mysterysquid
2014-07-18 10:53 (UTC)
That is an awesome quote.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2014-07-18 11:37 (UTC)
It is. I will be stealing it shamelessly in future.
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