Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Why of some things

A quick note.

I posted on the 18th about Clarks death. This prompted me to pick up a book I had sitting around for months unread. Not a Clark peace, I do not have any of his works on me but something he likely would have approved of. Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot.

I have learned perhaps a few new things but I have read enough popular science books about the solar system and a like to make an other one short on surprises. I don't intend to make this a book review but I do have to say that Sagan, is very readable. He has always been one of my I should read authors.

So I was reading the first few chapters, about half the book is a review of the knowledge of the solar system as it was known in 1994. Which is not all that different from now only we have a few more fine details worked out. As he was working through a chapter on vulcanism, describing all the weird materials that erupt from the surfaces of many small worlds in this star system I had a feeling I had forgotten. I became excited by the odd little worlds that orbit the giants of the outer reaches. I was reminded of why I studied Earth and Environmental Science in the first place.

It must have been 2002 or 2003, I had just returned to university after a couple years of bumming around and was ready to get on with my education. I had not yet found a major, but I wanted to choose some direction quickly so I could plan around graduating rather then taking the first year sampler program. So I found my self taking Human Geography, and Earth and environmental science, both were first year classes. I had in my first two years taken some Geography for what worked out as easy credits, mostly, and was toying with it as a major. I ended up rejecting geography based on the fact I did not like human geography ( sociology with maps) and because it would have been an arts degree, something some how against my principles. I have nothing against arts degrees, I have something against me having one.

So I ended up in Earth and environmental science because of the two first year classes I took on my return to school it was the class I liked the best. Of coarse, I always had hope of being involved in space science one way or another, I had long since realized I lacked the over achieving workalholic nature to become an astronaut. So I rationalized my choice as follows, I can not know if we will ever find life in space but I know we will find rocks so I might as well study them.

For some time I have been working a conventional job, ignoring that baseline passion of mine. I get more excited about the happenings of a world the sizes of a hill of beans then I do about most maters around my current job. I could quickly be talked into reading technical papers about those worlds well before I would start to devout my spare time to the Yellow Knife Greenstone belt and or the Southern Slave Province. So a little Carl Sagan reminded me of first love in science. I can not let my self for get that.

Other things that should be remembered are the first and second degree contacts I am an email and a favor away from reaching if I had a reason. I once met a senior researcher from NASA who has been with them for what looks like forever, with a CV I can not begin to recall, what I do recall is he worked on training some of the Apollo astronauts in field geology and much later was a lead author on a paper that caused much debate. ALH84001, is still being studied I believe.

I do recall spending an evening in a lecture with some equally nerdy friends and going to a rather busy social after wards where I apparently made a good impression and also I met one of canadas more famous geologists that night, but diamonds have never been my thing.

So as I sit here in the frozen north I remind my self of the why of my choice of profession and the need to find my way on the the path I have always wanted. I have met the right people, I have a passion now I have a challenge to over come. Not the challenge of applying to grad school, which will be a drag but the challenge of over coming my own poor thinking. I have been poor enough for long enough that I resist any change to a secure situation even if it is not completely satisfying. That attitude kept me flipping burgers at the same joint for close to two and a a half years before the demands of school over powered that job.

I suppose I need a touch more faith.
As it was said in the year 2259, Faith manages.

1 comment:

Ien in the Kootenays said...

Do the words "Saturn return" mean anything to you? The next two years will be a time of revision, and setting matters in motion that will largely determine the course of your life for the next 29 years. Take your time.
Discontent with the status quo is the first step. Like a snake about to renew its skin, the first thing that happens is that the existing skin starts to feel uncomfortable.