Saturday, December 16, 2006

Invading the Earth Sciences

Regrets to friends in Australia and the other science conference this week. One can't be on both sides of the world at once, though I've been trying. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) Meeting brought together over 13 THOUSAND scientists! This is just part of the second floor Moscone Centre West. The building has three floors, with other events at Moscone South and the Marriott hotel. The week has been a very big party!

This event combines everything from soil mechanics to planetary and heliospheric sciences. It is an opportunity for many to talk about their research. You may find bloggers Kevin Vranes, Chris Mooney, and Integrity of Science. As one of the few cosmologists to make the journey, I am treated very well!

Why is the AGU so big and theoretical physics losing funding? Physicists promoting "dark energy" is one reason. The Earth sciences are useful to all of us, from forecasting the weather to monitoring pollution. In this big marketplace of ideas, my presentations show how new physics help solve problems of Earth's climate and formation.

Even if "dark energy" exists, it has no conceivable use. It would be so diffuse throughout Space that it couldn't power a cellphone. Despite this, calling it "energy" has led to a lot of funding from the US Department of Energy. That may get a "dark energy" spacecraft designed, but will not get it off the ground without NASA.

Among most NASA personnel, a Joint Dark Energy Mission has little support. NASA feels that JDEM has been foisted upon them by DOE. They would prefer to use their limited budget on more mature projects, like Constellation-X. At least we know that X-rays exist. CON-X has settled upon a design, while JDEM has at least 3 concept designs.

Theoretical physicists need to attend meetings like this. AGU is an opportunity to show a large audience the value of physics. I will encourage physicists from Stanford and Berkeley to attend the next AGU, even if that means setting up a special session just for them.


Blogger Kea said...

Ah. I thought you were in Melbourne. It looks like more fun there!

11:30 AM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

I'm sorry too, I had visions of getting more photos of Captain Cook's cottage, stopping in Sydney, buying someone lunch at Manly. GRG18 offers a better chance to spend more time in Sydney.

10:17 PM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

You're right about going to something other than a physics conference. I did good enough at the particle and physics meeting in Hawaii that I don't think I will go to another. My next plan is the cosmic ray conference in Mexico, ICRC07. Whenever I go to a cosmic ray talk, it seems I'm the only person in the audience who is primarily interested in elementary particles. It's bizarre, since cosmic rays have to be where the next new stuff happens.

2:00 AM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Carlb, you will be convenient to the IAU Meeting next month. I finally got some fresh new materiel involving cosmic rays and an experiment in Antarctica.

9:30 AM  

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