December 14, 2004

"Twelve Thousand Screaming Geophysicists", and One Sloth, in San Francisco

I am in San Francisco for the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, along with the afore-mentioned 12,000 geophysicists, who, a little disappointingly, show little of the promised tendency to scream. (Perhaps absorption by the brain of the radiation associated with free wifi exerts a calming influence?) I gave my talk this morning at one of the Nonlinear Geophysics sessions, on space plasmas. "But Cosma", you say, "you don't know anything about space plasmas. Or plasmas. Or space. You don't know anything about geophysics at all. What, in fact, are you doing in San Francisco (as if I couldn't guess)?" Yes, that's right, I'm here to oggle pictures of Titan Martian canyons, and solutions to inverse problems...

Actually, the session's full title was Nonlinearity, Stochasticity, Scaling and Self-Organization in Space Plasmas, and Nick Watkins invited me to help provide the self-organization. (Sandra Chapman provided the stochasticity.) Since I had something on tap, I was happy to do so. Fifteen minutes, including questions, is not a lot of time, and I rushed a bit towards the end, but mostly I'm very satisfied with the talk, and the questions afterwards. It was nice to see a lot of data, for once, and to see Maxwell's equations being put through a workout. --- Competent critics tell me this is the closest I've come to producing a visually-pleasing presentation; you can amuse yourself with the PDF slides.

This talk actually went a little beyond what was in the PRL, incorporating work done this summer with Kris, Rob Haslinger, and Jean-Baptiste Rouquier, the summer intern I shared with Cris Moore. This is mostly about picking out the interesting ("coherent", "emergent", etc.) structures in the system automatically, by looking at the spatial distribution of complexity. In the interest of time, and not stealing the paper's thunder, I didn't go too much into that, but I think people got the message from the last three figures.

Now I'm off to stock up on Peet's, get some decent Thai food, and check out the poster session.

Complexity; The Eternal Silence of These Infinite Spaces; Physics; Postcards; Self-Centered

Posted at December 14, 2004 12:15 | permanent link

Three-Toed Sloth