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2009 ASMSA Career Day Presentation: My Life as a Geophysicist
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2009 ASMSA Career Day Presentation: My Life as a Geophysicist

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I gave this presentation as part of my high school's annual alumni career day.

I gave this presentation as part of my high school's annual alumni career day.

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    • 1. My Life as a Geophysicist Brian Shiro National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Pacific Tsunami Warning Center ASMSA Alumni Career Day 10 April 2009
    • 2. Outline
      • About Me
      • What I’ve done
      • Geophysics 101
      • About my job
      • Pearls of wisdom
      • Q&A
    • 3. Goals
      • Impress you with lots of pretty pictures that make you want to be an earth scientist.
      • Introduce you to my job as a geophysicist.
      • Convey how ASMSA helped me get there.
      • Advice to students along the way (classes to take, helpful extracurriculars, decision-making, etc.).
      If I don’t directly address these goals sufficiently in the presentation, please ask questions!
    • 4. Background
      • Hometown: Paragould, AR
      • ASMS graduate (1996)
        • Senior Class President
      • BA, Northwestern University (2000)
        • Majors: Integrated Science, Geology, Physics
      • MA, Washington University (2002)
        • Earth & Planetary Science, PhD study until 2005
      • Geophysicist with NOAA (2005-present)
        • Pacific Tsunami Warning Center
      • Astronaut applicant (2008)
      • MS, University of North Dakota (2010, exp.)
    • 5. Some things I’ve done
      • Field Work
        • Alaska (1998, 1999)
        • Colorado, Arizona, Utah (1998)
        • US and Canada from Florida to Alberta (2001)
        • Fiji and Tonga (2001, 2002)
        • Antarctica (2002)
        • Northern Mariana Islands (2003)
        • Hawaii (2005-present)
      • Internships/Summer Schools:
        • Rice University and NASA (1997)
        • Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks (1998)
        • Juneau Icefield Research Program (1999)
        • NASA High Performance Computing Summer School (2002)
        • NASA Planetary Science Summer School (2003)
        • International Space University (2005)
    • 6. Where I’ve Been Blue : permanent residence, Yellow : lived for a few weeks to months, Red : major conferences (may add Cairo, Egypt and Devon Island, Canada later this year)
    • 7. Field Work - Alaska A B C D
    • 8. Field Work - Alaska A B C D
    • 9. Field Work - Colorado A C B
    • 10. Field Work - Colorado A C B
    • 11. Field Work - Fiji A B C D
    • 12. Field Work - Fiji A B C D
    • 13. Field Work - Antarctica A B C D
    • 14. Field Work - Antarctica A B C D
    • 15. Field Work - Marianas A C B
    • 16. Field Work - Marianas A B C D
    • 17. Anatahan Eruption 11 May 2003 I was the last person on this uninhabited island just 3 days before it erupted. Our team happened to be the first witnesses of the eruption from our boat. before after
    • 18. What is Geophysics?
      • Geophysics is the study of the Earth or other planets by quantitative physical methods.
    • 19. Geophysicists study the Earth using physics. Earth scientists study the Earth. Atmosphere Oceans Surface Interior mantle core crust
    • 20. Geophysics
      • Plate tectonics
      • Volcanoes
      • Earthquakes
      • Tsunamis
      • Magnetic fields
      • Mineral resources
      • Earth’s deep interior
      • Other planets
    • 21. Types of Science
    • 22. What do Geophysicists Study in School?
      • Science (geology, physics, chemistry)
      • Math (as much as you can)
      • Computers (programming)
      • Geography
      College degree minimum, Usually need graduate degree like Masters or Ph.D.
    • 23. Plate Tectonics They move!
    • 24. Plate Boundaries Movement is driven by convection … just like boiling water subduction zones
    • 25. Ring of Fire Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Tsunamis at subduction zones Major tsunamis in Hawai`i: 1868, 1946, 1957, 1960, 1964, 1975 Hawai`i
    • 26. 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami 2nd largest earthquake ever recorded (Mw 9.3), Nearly 300,000 dead
    • 27. What is a Tsunami?
      • A tsunami is a series of long-period waves created by an abrupt disturbance that displaces a large amount of water.
      • Caused by:
        • Earthquakes (72%)
        • Landslides (10%)
        • Volcanoes (5%)
        • Atmosphere (2%)
        • Icebergs, Impacts, Unknown (11%)
      most common least common
    • 28. Tsunami Speed The deeper the water, the faster the tsunami. about 500 mph in deep water
    • 29. NOAA
      • Mission: To understand and predict changes in Earth’s environment and conserve and manage coastal and marine resources to meet our Nation’s economic, social, and environmental needs.
      • Established in 1970 but traces its roots back to 1807 as the Coast & Geodetic Survey.
      www.noaa.gov
    • 30. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center
        • Established in 1949 (following 1946 tsunami)
        • International center for Pacific Ocean since 1969 (following 1960 tsunami)
        • Interim center for Indian Ocean since 2005 (following 2004 tsunami)
        • Interim center for Caribbean Sea since 2007
        • Scienfitic staff tripled from 4 to 12 in 2005.
        • 24x7 shift operations since 2006.
      my office
    • 31. PTWC Operations
      • Seismic data analysis
          • Determine earthquake location, depth, and magnitude.
          • Issue initial tsunami message(s) based on earthquake parameters.
      • Sea level data analysis
          • Calculate tsunami travel times.
          • Measure tsunami on sea level gauges, if one occurred.
          • Forecast tsunami height with computer models.
          • Upgrade, downgrade, or cancel tsunami warning based on sea level readings and tsunami modeling forecasts.
      • Decision-making
      • Message Dissemination
    • 32. Media Circus When big events happen, we have to work under the microscope. me
    • 33. Earthquake Analysis
      • Automatically detect earthquake at seismic stations worldwide.
      • Page PTWC scientists.
      • Scientists examine data to determine earthquake location , depth , and magnitude .
    • 34. Measuring a Tsunami Coastal Sea Level Sensor (aka: “tide station”) DART Buoy (aka: “tsunameter”)
    • 35. Forecasting a Tsunami Computer Model for 15 Nov 2006 Kuril Islands event
    • 36. In between events…
      • Software development to improve the system
      • Webmaster for PTWC and development of tsunami.gov
      • Field work in Hawaii to install & maintain seismic stations
      • Operate the USGS Honolulu Geomagnetic Observatory
      • Outreach (see photos)
    • 37. Life Lessons
      • Go to college away from home. Stay in the dorm at least a year.
      • Consider taking a year off before or after college.
      • Travel as much as you can. Nothing helps you grow more.
      • Try a variety of fields of study. Summer schools and internships are a good way to do this.
      • All decisions matter and can come back to bite you later.
      • Be flexible, but always have a long range plan.
      • Anything that can go wrong will, but learn and move on.
    • 38. Recommended Reading
      • The Seven Habits Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
      • Now What?: The Young Person's Guide to Choosing the Perfect Career by Nicholas Lore
      • Put Your Science to Work: The Take-Charge Career Guide for Scientists by Peter Fiske
      • Naked Earth: The New Geophysics by Shawna Vogel
      • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
    • 39. Thanks!
      • Contact:
        • Brian Shiro (aka: Brian White)
        • email: [email_address] or [email_address]
        • blog: http://brianshiro.blogspot.com
        • twitter: @brianshiro

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