Newsletter Article

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Hey Kristin,

Why don't you add something here?

-love Adam


Why is a full-stress model important? Which area should I focus on in the next step of my career? What's with having to declare everything in Fortran? I learned the answers to all of these questions this summer at Portland State University in the excellent summer school that Christina Hulbe, Jesse Johnson, and Kees van der Veen convened. Summer schools are important to the glaciology community because, well, there just aren't enough of us to offer a satisfyingly diverse array of ice classes at each institution. This summer school taught us those basics, from force balance and finite differences on up, but it quickly accelerated into specialized topics like basal processes, uncertainty in models, and using models - like COMSOL, GLIMMER, and even a clunky finite differences script we wrote ourselves - to solve problems.

Actually, not nearly every group's model was as clunky as mine, and some were downright elegant. This was another strength of the modeling school - the nineteen students and nineteen instructor-students came from a broad splay of math, engineering, geology, physics, and computer science backgrounds. Some people could code in eight languages but encountered the term "grounding line" for the first time at the school, while others were just the opposite. Since everyone had a different area of expertise, we were able to teach each other. I learned at least as much from my five-person group as I did from the lectures and derivations.

The makeup of the groups was the modeling school's cleverest element. The school grouped three students and two instructor-students - early-career researchers or professors, often who had entered glaciology recently from another field - together to work on the daily assignments. I tend to think of "networking" as a stressful, prim-and-proper activity, but it turns out that the whole time I was installing GLIMMER, turning model knobs, brow-scratching, and laughing with my group partners, I was building professional relationships. We've got some really sharp, friendly people in glaciology, and I see a future of happy collaboration with the many of them that I met at the summer school.

361 words!!!!!