Some WHOI History

July 29, 2010

Lat/Lon: 38 ° 25.9820 N / 068 ° 53.3188 W
Air Temp: 27*C / 80.6*F
Wind Speed: 25.05 kts
Humidity: 65.6%
Water Temp: 29.43*C / 85*F
Salinity: 35.2 psu
Depth: 3700 m / 3.7 km / 2.3 miles

Greetings from the New England Seamounts! Yes, we're still here...this morning we've got a multicore and a gravity core is potentially next up.

Today our top-o-the blog photo is from the WHOI Archives. It was taken in 1973 here at the New England Seamounts. WHOI's Jim Broda is in the foreground working on the core and Roger Flood, who was in the WHOI/MIT Joint Program at the time, is looking on.

I'm including the map of the New England Seamounts again so you can see exactly where Broda and Flood were back in 1973. In the photo Broda is checking out the core they took at
Mytilus Seamount. The map is "clickable" - and you can zoom in - see if you can find their location on the map!

The black and white is a terrific piece of WHOI history. It shows Broda's early days of coring. Here's how he explained the photo to me: "...taken at the mytilus seamount with a device that we cobbled together from old core pipe that we welded together on the fantail (we had "lost" all the other coring equipment) for added weight, we filled the barrels with all kinds of scrap rusty steel...shackles, chains, nuts and bolts. It was my first cruise and Charlie Hollister, for whom we named the long core, was the chief scientist."

I talked with Broda today about how he ended up immersed in WHOI's CDH Long Core technology and he explained that it was an evolution. His story wound along his journey to
today: astronomer dream deferred, college for aerospace engineering and then a switch to economic geology and finally a trip to the ocean for the first time. Wanderlust then - sustained by skiing and cooking - followed by a return to the sea, to WHOI. He was hired by Betty Bunce as a research assistant and worked his way up through the ranks at WHOI.

Again and again I hear similar stories from people at WHOI, "I was walking by an open door and someone offered me a job", "I was working on a project and this (world famous) researcher needed some help on a new (completely revolutionary) technology so I helped out", "I was free one summer and ended up on a research cruise where I learned to deploy underwater gliders".

You can read about Broda's remarkable accomplishments here and here too. What I really wanted to know from him was what critical incidents along his path directed him, motivated him, shaped his journey. But for Broda, it all blends; everything is relevant, all the projects served their purpose to challenge, prepare, develop, hone his talent, ideas, skills. From work with Mike Purdy and NOBEL to the spectrum of piston-cores gone-by, from the 100 research cruises to Charlie Hollister, in fresh water and in salt water. For nearly 40 years Broda has worked on land and sea pushing the frontiers of exploration and science.

Meet Amy

Amy Simoneau, of the Shipboard Science Services Group (SSSG), has lived all over the east coast and traveled all around the world! Amy's role is the critical link between the science
team and the R/V Knorr's crew. She's involved in collecting data with and maintaining the ship's scientific equipment as well as acting as the ship's system administrator. So you may think that Amy's academic background is in technology - but it's not. She's naturally tech savvy. Her academic background, work experience and natural talent combine to make Amy an enormously important asset for research aboard the R/V Knorr.

Towards the end of Amy's 12 years in her Catholic school system in New Hampshire, she was selected to participate in the Advanced Studies Program at St. Paul's School in Concord, NH. There Amy joined with her academic equals and spent a summer immersed in college-level courses and field work; her focus was on Ecology. The program was an excellent opportunity for Amy whose passions for social and environmental justice causes had already taken root.

After high school Amy attended UNH for Environmental Studies with a focus in Marine Science and did a Study Abroad Semester at Sea, SEA, then she headed south to Georgia after graduation. She landed a job working as a research technician for a coastal sedimentologist Clark Alexander at Skidaway in Savannah and then made her way back to the Northeast to where she worked for Boston College's Gail Kineke, whom she had met on a research cruise with Alexander. She also worked for the SEA program.

One of very large stumbling blocks for people seeking careers in STEM is simply not knowing what kinds of jobs are out there. By the time Amy got to Massachusetts, she had learned a great deal about research and cruises and, very importantly, about the spectrum of jobs that this kind of research created. Her first year working as an SSSG she spent her longest ship time to date: 5.5 months! - during which the ship traveled to Mauritius, one of her favorite places. (yes - do look for THAT one on a map!) Other favorites include Iceland, Chile and the Seychelles.

She has been an SSSG now for 10 years and loves it. She travels all over the world and she loves the challenges and the variety associated with working on a ship that hosts a broad scope of oceanographic science teams.

Life is good for Jim Broda and Amy Simoneau!

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