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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



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

  • My Life as a Geophysicist Brian Shiro National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Pacific Tsunami Warning Center ASMSA Alumni Career Day 10 April 2009
  • Outline
    • About Me
    • What I’ve done
    • Geophysics 101
    • About my job
    • Pearls of wisdom
    • Q&A
  • 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!
  • 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.)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Field Work - Alaska A B C D
  • Field Work - Alaska A B C D
  • Field Work - Colorado A C B
  • Field Work - Colorado A C B
  • Field Work - Fiji A B C D
  • Field Work - Fiji A B C D
  • Field Work - Antarctica A B C D
  • Field Work - Antarctica A B C D
  • Field Work - Marianas A C B
  • Field Work - Marianas A B C D
  • 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
  • What is Geophysics?
    • Geophysics is the study of the Earth or other planets by quantitative physical methods.
  • Geophysicists study the Earth using physics. Earth scientists study the Earth. Atmosphere Oceans Surface Interior mantle core crust
  • Geophysics
    • Plate tectonics
    • Volcanoes
    • Earthquakes
    • Tsunamis
    • Magnetic fields
    • Mineral resources
    • Earth’s deep interior
    • Other planets
  • Types of Science
  • 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.
  • Plate Tectonics They move!
  • Plate Boundaries Movement is driven by convection … just like boiling water subduction zones
  • Ring of Fire Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Tsunamis at subduction zones Major tsunamis in Hawai`i: 1868, 1946, 1957, 1960, 1964, 1975 Hawai`i
  • 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami 2nd largest earthquake ever recorded (Mw 9.3), Nearly 300,000 dead
  • 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
  • Tsunami Speed The deeper the water, the faster the tsunami. about 500 mph in deep water
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Media Circus When big events happen, we have to work under the microscope. me
  • Earthquake Analysis
    • Automatically detect earthquake at seismic stations worldwide.
    • Page PTWC scientists.
    • Scientists examine data to determine earthquake location , depth , and magnitude .
  • Measuring a Tsunami Coastal Sea Level Sensor (aka: “tide station”) DART Buoy (aka: “tsunameter”)
  • Forecasting a Tsunami Computer Model for 15 Nov 2006 Kuril Islands event
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Thanks!
    • Contact:
      • Brian Shiro (aka: Brian White)
      • email: [email_address] or [email_address]
      • blog: http://brianshiro.blogspot.com
      • twitter: @brianshiro