A floating university – The JOIDES Resolution

Now that things are settling in and everyone knows the realm of their lab and the desired format of the reports the scientists have found their work flow. With that settled there is time to appreciate what is so special about the JOIDES Resolution an the opportunity it is providing this hand picked group of scientists. This ship is truly a floating university.

I knew this research vessel had this potential. In the first week on the ship Jian Lin, one of the Petrophysicist Specialists, told me that he views being on this ship as his university semester. Now that there is rhythm to the day and the lab work these opportunities are crystalizing into tangible learning events. The cross over meetings are rich with discussion and there are mysterious minerals and layers of sediment that require a fresh perspective. When I come in to the lab I might find a Paleomagnetist hanging with the Core Describers to help identify a crumbly rock that they have never seen before. The technicians are cross training on SRM machines and the Physical Properties scientists are visiting the Paleontologists to get a sense of where the layers might change in relation to their model. On a daily basis each lab presents their current finding and methods. Yesterday’s cross over presentations included a model for opals and an open invitation to learn how it works from the geochemist who built it. Every day there is a slough of opportunities for this international team of scientists to learn from each other in both formal and informal ways. This I have learned is a very intentional piece of developing these expeditions. Scientists apply from all over the world and are reviewed and chosen specifically for the needs of the expedition and to compliment each others skills sets.

As an educator this is a wonderful thing to see among adults. It helps me reflect on my own classroom and the decisions to mix up groups and provide opportunities for social learning.