My first "aha" moment.

Mary Lou’s second entry: When teaching kids how scientists work, often times we tell them that scientists come up with a testable question, then go about trying to answer it. That is true on some levels, but the reality is, deciding what to investigate is a bit more complicated. Here’s what I mean…

The JOIDES Resolution is an international project, which means that the locations and foci of each expedition are community driven. That means that the decisions are made by peers, and not from the “top down.” For instance, a white paper may be written in order to generate interest within the scientific community. This is a pre-proposal. Once interest is generated, a full proposal is written. After that, it moves to the funder level, which is important because research is very expensive to do. Overall, it’s a very organic effort that is built around an entire community of scientists including geologists, chemists, microbiologists, geochemists, biogeochemists, paleomagnetists, paleontologists, and others.

The sampling done on an expedition is driven by the science question. The scientific outcomes have to be made with value to funding in mind. Context is also invaluable in order for the scientists to make interpretations. Once the expedition is completed, there is a one year moratorium on the data; the participating scientists are allowed one year to do their analyses of the data, and get their publications together. After that, the data is up for grabs for others who want to use it in their own research.

The process is a lot different than I had originally thought! I’ll explain more as I learn it. More to come!