Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The next step

So, I can now officially announce that I have accepted a new job starting at the end of my current 12-month contract with York University. It's an NSERC Fellowship, under the Canadian Astrobiology Training Program and I'll be working at the University of Western Ontario with Dr. Gordon "Oz" Osinski. Oz and I knew each other, briefly, when I was a PhD student at Arizona and he was there working as a postdoc under Jay Melosh (now at Purdue). It's a 2-year fellowship and I'm really looking forward to starting! But before that happens, there is still much work to be done here at York. Hopefully that will include some publications and perhaps even a first conference since I started this blog, 13 months ago.

This fellowship caps off a successful couple of months for me, as I also recently took home a prize from the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS) for my publication "Atmospheric Dynamics at the Phoenix Landing site, as seen by the Surface Stereo Imager."



I've never won anything like this before and it was a happy moment. A long-time friend and colleague on the Phoenix Mission told me that my smile said it all. (The complete list of winners at that banquet can be found here ).
The award I received is named after Roger Daly. It's an interesting coincidence that the biography highlights some of his early work in Newfoundland and Labrador, my home province. But beyond that, his is an interesting story and a testament to the twisting, turning path that led many of his era into careers in Science. I have to wonder whether this kind of a career path would be possible today.

So while the near future looks bright, I also have to begin looking past this upcoming fellowship. And there lie dragons...

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As a footnote, a great little website operated by musician John Boswell (www.symphonyofscience.com) has just recently put out a piece on my favourite planet, Mars which samples heavily from Robert Zubrin. While Zubrin has been criticized in the past, he is a tireless advocate for a rapid, near-term crewed mission to Mars. Two of his books, "The Case for Mars" and very especially "Entering Space" were significant influences on me as I first entered this field as an Aerospace Engineer and later as a Planetary Scientist.

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