Honours completed sometime ago, with a mark that enables further research. The model results were nothing to write home about. I was able to tweak the model to match, broadly, alkalinity observations around towards the end of the last glacial period. I did also get to learn more about myself. After years of denial, I sought help with mild depression and my outlook improved significantly.
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After five and a half years of mercurial grades and effort, I wandered across the stage to collect my BSc(REM) pass degree from the Chancellor of the ANU.
This week I begin my two years of part-time study towards my honours degree. My thesis will be a description of my revisit of the revisit of the coral reef hypothesis by taking the original model (of the revisit) and incorporating changes to ocean circulation since the last Glacial Maximum(LGM).
The premise of the Coral Reef Hypothesis is that the majority of the rise in pCO2 in the atmosphere following an initial warming trigger is due to sea level rising, flooding continental shelves. This leads to the increase precipitation of calcium carbonate (reef building), releasing carbon dioxide into the ocean and thus (by Henry's Law) the atmosphere. This is a positive feedback effect.
The semester is in full swing and I am doing two maths units this semester.
Mathematical Methods I consists of Vector Calculus and an intro to PDEs. There are sixty in the class which is really exciting because all the lecturers have really small writing so a lot of my dx might be dz! What is also exciting is the fact that the honours stream class and "the rest of us" have been rolled into this one, giving the "rest of us" access to vector calculus and PDEs that wasn't really available in the Mathematics Department. Consequently, the lecturers are trying to walk a line between boring the pants off the honours students or befuddling the rest of us. I think they might be achieving both at the moment
Environmental Mathematics is run jointly between ICAM (Integrated Catchment Assessment and Modelling) and the Maths Department. Some students have dropped it as it seemed a bit lightweight for their mathematical tastes. To me, however, it is the primary reason I have taken Mathematics as I want to do scientific modelling. The emphasis is on the process of creating a strong model, though there is some meaty maths in the second Assignment involving PDEs (in Q1) which will be a challenge.
I have elected to do the Honours Pathway Option in this which involves a project that tests our understanding of model development and application, without too much emphasis on building a realistic one in the time provided. Data selection/tranformation, parameter selection, assumptions and goals are much more important.
I will be starting on the first of June as the SGI man in Canberra at the Australian Partnership for Advanced Computing. This is exciting as it not only involves supporting a large Altix supercomputer but also will be liasing between SGI, APAC and other research organisations. My goal since starting my degree was to move out of the IT Security field and move into scientific computing/environmental sciences/modelling.
Lots of people ask the Chapter 11 question and my reply is that companies like Storage Technology have traded out of chapter 11. SGI has a good culture and good technology and I look forward to seeing it finding its way back in the marketplace.
Spent some time with Andy Hogg this morning. He is doing some interesting modelling of ocean currents and ocean-atmosphere intereactions.
Modelling is not confined to APAC's new SGI Altix supercomputer. He is also working with a rotating annulus of water with a means to set differentials in temperature. There may be an opportunity for a part-time student internship. This would be a great way to get an insight into modelling of the ocean and atmosphere as well as the RSES itself.
BTW, happy with my results. Exactly as I calculated.
Still on track. Yay. Going into the exams for both Geog and Maths with ~75% marks. Note that 75% is "below average" for the Maths class! Have one week to review the Geography and another 10 days for the Maths.
Study has been also made "easier" by the fact that I have been "between contracts" for two months now. It would be nice to get some work as my family likes to eat food and live in comfortable shelter etc.
Stumbled through the supplementary exam. I have dropped to the "normal" maths stream this year, doing Differential Equations and Applications. The lecturer is enthusuastic and frequently acknowleges that maths can be painful, frustrating and also fun and rewarding. So far, I am following the coursework better than last year.
Am also doing my first geography course. Interesting GIS work and modelling promised. A lot of the biogeography and earth science has already been covered so the challenge will be not to fall into the trap of "I know that", until the exam! There are a couple of us oldies in the course, but this is primarily a new batch of first years. Doing the course part-time means that a lot of the students move on. Which is a pity in some ways as the social bonds formed, especially on field trips, is an important aspect to me.