Do what you want to do!

July 30, 2010

Lat/Lon: 39 ° 04.2103 N / 069 ° 13.3047 W
Air Temp: 22.2 ° C/ 71.960 ° F
Wind Speed: 23.74 Knots
Humidity: 58.3%
Water Temp: 26.04 ° C, 78.872 ° F
Salinity: 32.67 psu
Depth: 2766 m /2.8 km / 1.7 miles

Today we started with a multi-core in the morning and there was one gravity core - there could be one more of each and then we're DONE! Amazing to think that the trip is almost over! It's been such a terrific experience!

We need to check in with WHOI at an "11-hour" point, where the boat is approximately 11 hours away from the dock. We have many miles to cover before we get there so any cores we do tonight will be on the way back.

Chris Moser

Born and raised in the congested Eastern U.S. coring expert Chris Moser couldn’t wait to get away to the west - to freedom. At his first chance, he did and there he has stayed, up in the Pacific Northwest, with a family he cherishes and a career he absolutely loves. What is it about his work that is so terrific? “It’s always full of curiosities and exploration – it’s always new, challenging and exciting!” Chris’ work with the Oregon State University Coring Facility takes him to sea often where he is constantly working with top researchers. Together they work on the frontline, pushing the boundaries of science research and technical capabilities. Box coring, multi-coring, piston coring – you name it! Chris is the man.

Chris has always loved the outdoors – camping, hiking, exploring. During his military high school years in West Virginia his chemistry and physics teachers were great supporters and helped foster Chris’ passion for nature and learning. He went on to Dickinson College, where his grandmother graduated from, to study physics but was quickly turned off by the math. Today Chris is quick to say, “I can now, in retrospect, greatly appreciate the math that was presented to me and how it fits into the research that I now use. But at the time, in college, with that calculus professor and at that time in my life, it was SO dry that it was awful.” Chris switched to geology, as he found that he could earn a degree doing the things he loved: exploring and working in the field! One of his geology professors took Chris’ class on a driving field trip all the way from Pennsylvania to Alaska and they studied the geology all along the way – such an amazing opportunity!

Chris’ professors were pleased with his work and encouraged him to go on to graduate school, so with geology degree in hand, Chris headed west to Oregon State University. The research community at OSU had embraced the burgeoning “Theory of Plate Tectonics”, which Chris had yet to study so he struggled at a bit the start. He took one year off and tried out a degree program in Education but returned to marine sciences, refocused and energized to get back in the game. He studied ocean sediment cores and worked on coring during graduate school and after he completed the degree was recruited to work with sediment traps for the MANOP Project on ocean vessels. The project ended but the sediment trap work continued so Chris stayed with it for the next 15 years.

Funding dried up (funny how it tends to do that!) and in the 1990s, attention in the scientific community started to turn towards climate change. The community needed increased resolution of the variability of our recent climate past in order to better understand the human impact. Ocean coring for paleoclimatology started growing and Chris was there with Pete Kalk who was thinking about retiring. Pete and Chris worked together for years before Pete retired. Chris counts himself lucky to have had the time with Pete! He has been there, now for 15 years and is starting to think about retirement - time to start thinking about passing the torch. I asked him about programs that exist that may help pipeline students into technical positions and he mentioned the MATE program. But for now, Chris has Paul Walczak, pictured right, on his team, and Paul may be just the person to take the torch!

One last note - which is a delightful one to me because two people said this to me today (both Chris Moser and Nick McCave), when I asked them if they have any advice for high school students thinking about what they want to do with their lives. Each of them said, independently, that you should follow your dreams and do what you want to do. Don't let people push you into something you're not passionate about.

Pretty great advice from two tremendously successful people!

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