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Features

Try and try again: GeoCorps application tips

The competition for GeoCorps America positions has been getting stiffer each year as the number of applicants increases. Last year, the program received more than 1,400 applications for 136 summer positions.

18 Dec 2014

Getting there and getting around France's Massif Central

Most flights to France from the U.S. land in Paris. If you are heading directly to the Massif Central, you can either take a one-hour flight from Paris to Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne Airport or take the Corail Auvergne train, a 3.5-hour trip. 

16 Dec 2014

The geology of Middle-earth

The first time filmmaker Peter Jackson read J.R.R. Tolkien, he was 18 years old and riding a train across the North Island of his native New Zealand. Whenever Jackson glanced out the train’s window, he was struck by how much the passing landscape resembled his imagined picture of Tolkien’s mythical realm of Middle-earth. This revelation stuck with him; two decades later, Jackson chose New Zealand as the backdrop for his blockbuster film adaptation of the entire “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and again later when filming “The Hobbit” series.

15 Dec 2014

Travels in Geology: Lentils, lace and lava: France's Massif Central

Tucked between the Pyrenees and the Alps in south-central France is a little-known highland called the Massif Central. This rugged and secluded region is celebrated for its natural beauty and is known for its rolling volcanic hills, handmade lace and savory green lentils.

13 Dec 2014

Crystal ball science: In the energy sector, follow the money in 2015

Five years ago this month, in these pages, I and a number of other contributors looked deep into our crystal balls to predict what the following year might bring. This year, I thought I’d try it again. As I did then, I’ll add this caveat now: Due to the intertwined relationship of energy with every sector in the economy and the complicated behavior of commodity prices and financial markets, only a fool would be bold enough to put pen to paper to add his or her predictions about energy to the permanent written record. I am one such fool.

05 Dec 2014

Chess as a scientist

I started playing chess again this year. I learned to play early in elementary school, and I finished high school as the captain of our chess team. During college and graduate school I found fewer opponents for friendly games, and I lost my connection with the world of competitive chess. I have since reflected that, thanks to knowledge acquired since high school, I could potentially become much better at the game than I was then, so I recently set out to find a local chess club at which to dust off and maybe even improve on my past ability. I found a club near my home that features a number of players much better than I, and their willingness to share their knowledge has already helped my game tremendously.

05 Dec 2014

Family inspiration for my career(s) in transdisciplinary science

I have been fortunate to spend the last 31 years working for an organization that has allowed me to make multiple career shifts across earth science disciplines and to collaborate with people in fields well beyond the earth sciences. Many inspirational colleagues have guided me along this transdisciplinary science path, but perhaps my biggest source of inspiration has been my family.

04 Dec 2014

Walking - and mentoring - on the wild side

Last summer, I ventured into the Santa Cruz Mountains, southwest of San Jose, Calif., to spend a week camping with my 11-year-old daughter, Jade. I pushed for the trip for three reasons: First, I wanted to spend some time among the California coast redwoods with Jade. Second, I wanted to attend an “Art of Mentoring” workshop in support of a book I was writing. And third … well, let me get back to that in a minute.
 

04 Dec 2014

Minor miners: A brief reflection on child labor underground

It has been more than a century since one of the first child labor laws in the U.S. raised the minimum age of mineworkers to 12, but some mines in Colorado are still encouraging children to descend into the bowels of the Earth — as tourists now, of course.

03 Dec 2014

What a wonderful world to explore

Exploring this planet is a seminal experience, but my children don’t always see it that way. Over the last year, I was fortunate to travel extensively with my family across Europe, New Zealand, Australia and portions of Southeast Asia. From Croatia’s dazzling coastline and Australia’s dusty Outback to Bali’s mist-clad volcanoes, I immersed myself in dozens of diverse landscapes and numerous cultures. I was privileged to share these encounters with my husband, a fellow geologist, as well as my children — as it turned out, this was not always as enriching an experience for them as it was for us.

03 Dec 2014

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