Wednesday, November 16, 2016

An Uncharted Journey: How I Became an Atmospheric Scientist Rather than a Cowboy or a Farmer



Dr. Michael J. Kurylo: "This story describes the path that took me from post-WW II housing projects to and through a rural Connecticut neighborhood, how I became convinced about the unrealistic nature of some early naive career dreams, and how I eventually arrived at a career in atmospheric science (research and program management, and their interface with international environmental policy). My journey was somewhat unpredictable and, at times, unexpected since the path was occasionally altered by some rather harrowing events. Fortunately, my decisions at various forks in the road were influenced by several people to whom I am most indebted. Without their intervention and guidance, I might have chosen differently and arrived at another journey’s end. I hope that my story will serve to inform early-to-mid career colleagues that anything is possible if you apply yourself and are not afraid to take “the road less traveled".”

Dr. Michael J. Kurylo, USRA and Code 614, Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Lab

Thursday, November 3, 2016

From physics to the science of weather and climate: The fun and excitement of scaling the boundaries across disciplines



Dr. Venkatachalam Ramaswamy: "I am convinced that I really did not have a definitive dream when I was growing up in India, with perhaps only the vaguest notion of being a scientific researcher. Now, it feels different. I will reflect on the journey it has been through the academic and professional career – an adventure that has comprised crossing disciplinary perimeters involving multiple types of scaling. As I have wandered into the disciplines of climate and weather, the challenges encountered have been revelations in the interface between science and society."

Dr. Venkatachalam Ramaswamy, Director, NOAA/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton University

Friday, September 30, 2016

How I Planned to Travel to Space and got to Study it Instead: a personal journey through 6 different countries in a changing world



Dr. Alexander Kashlinsky: "I was born in the former Soviet Union, just as the space era got underway with the Sputnik launch. As a result of a random childhood encounter, I resolutely decided to travel to space, but instead ended up studying how stars formed and how the Universe evolved. Following my participation in the dissident movement in the USSR, I moved to Israel alone at the age of 18, where my physics upbringing occurred. I will talk about my scientific journey from pre-PhD studies in Riga (USSR/Latvia), Tel Aviv (Israel), PhD research in Cambridge (England) and post-PhD work in Israel, USA and Denmark as seen from many angles. I came to Goddard as the remarkable COBE project, led by John Mather, turned cosmology from a heavily theoretical and speculative field into precision science, which also transformed me and my way of thinking. I will then describe the origin of LIBRAE (Looking at Infrared Background Radiation Anisotropies with Euclid) and its potential as the project is designated to run through 2030+ with the Dark Energy European space mission Euclid."

Dr. Alexander Kashlinsky, NASA/GSFC/Astrophysics, Code 665, and SSAI

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

My Intellectual Journey from “Idiot” to “Savant"



Dr. Stephen Ungar: "I will share with you my Journey from a somewhat problematic childhood, spanning World War 2, through early formative years leading to my six decades of association with NASA. Come learn why, although race, religion and ethnicity play a role in my identity, I self-identify myself as a Physicist. NASA has served as a safe harbor for those of us afflicted with this mental condition and provides us with an opportunity to make meaningful contributions to society. I will also describe my good fortune in serving as the initial Mission Scientist for EO-1, “NASA’s Science and Technology Pathfinder to the 21st Century”.

Dr. Stephen Ungar, USRA & EO-1 Scientist Emeritus - NASA/GSFC

Monday, July 25, 2016

Reminiscences of a scientist’s journey from Nawfia to NASA



Dr. Charles Ichoku: "Born in a small town in Nigeria, my journey to NASA Goddard, with a decade-long detour through France, Israel, and Germany, was long and challenging, but has been extremely rewarding. Working at NASA is the dream of many scientists from across the world, and I consider myself very fortunate to have this privilege. In this talk, I will trace my life/professional journey, which is somehow meshed with my geographic trajectory, and relate my experiences with the great people I met and interacted with along the way, as well as some of the work we did together. As regards the meaning of ‘Nawfia’, your guess is as good as mine, but we’ll figure it out together during the talk."

Dr. Charles Ichoku, NASA/GSFC, Climate and Radiation Laboratory

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What If and So What? Climate Change and Corn/Wheat/Rice/Soybeans (and a few words on Cities)



Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig: "When I first came to GISS, Jim Hansen (who is from Iowa) posed a question that filtered down to me, then the only agronomist in the building on 112th St. in Manhattan (New York, not Kansas). The question was: Given the projections from the GISS global climate model for how climate would change with increased carbon dioxide, what would happen to food? Jim's question set me on the research path that I am still following, lo these years later. Look-outs along the way include temperature and water interactions, role of carbon dioxide, climate extremes, multi-model intercomparisons, and now nutrition, diet, and food security. NASA missions and models have been valuable at every step of the way. I will touch briefly on climate change and cities (where the food consumers mostly live), since GISS, after all, is located in New York City."

Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Seventh Cycle—What I Needed to Know and Learned from the Secrets of the Japanese Garden



Dr. Richard R. Fisher: "As in the case of learning how to perform in any specialized context, I found there were a number of issues I was neither taught nor did I learn from life experience. Over the course of a 50-year career that transitioned from ground-based to space-based, I came to understand that there are specific tools and values that proved vital. Using my own journey, I shall summarize a few of the more useful, to identify and make available things and ideas that helped me with my time with NASA."

Dr. Richard R. Fisher, Director, Heliophysics Division (Emeritus), NASA HQ

Monday, May 2, 2016

From Ballia to Boston: A Village Boy Goes to MIT and Goddard



Dr. Jagadish Shukla: "This is the story of a boy who was born in a small village in the Ballia District of India, walked barefoot while grazing cattle, learned Sanskrit and Math under a kerosene lamp, used bullock carts and elephants for transportation, and somehow ended up at MIT and Goddard. The lecture will also include a personal retrospective of the origins of the idea of predictability in the midst of chaos, and the evolution from Numerical Weather Prediction to Numerical Climate Prediction."

Dr. Jagadish Shukla, NASA/GSFC, Professor, George Mason University

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

From Malaysia to Mars



Dr. Florence W. Tan: "My journey from Malaysia to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center working on planetary mass spectrometers has been challenging, frustrating, exciting, and rewarding. I parlayed an undergrad internship into a career at Goddard. I learned to work and to communicate in a new culture. As a member of the Goddard Women’s Advisory committee in the 90s, I had an active role in developing Goddard’s strong support of women’s rights through the beginnings of the NASA GSFC lactation program. I had multiple mentors who influenced and shaped me and who gave me chances to build, launch, and operate multiple spaceflight mass spectrometers. I had the opportunity to learn and to work with the best engineers in the world. It has been an amazing ride."

Dr. Florence Tan, NASA/GSFC, ExoMars Rover Project

Friday, February 26, 2016

Journey from Chemistry to (who would have thought it) Meteorology



Dr. Joel Susskind: "This talk describes the twists and turns of my professional career, starting as a young child who loved to mix household chemicals together and wanting to become a chemist, and continuing through my current 38 years as a Civil Servant at GSFC doing meteorological research. This path included getting AB and PhD degrees in Chemistry, being a Post-Doc doing molecular Quantum Mechanics research first in a Chemistry Department at one University, and later in a Physics Department at another University. I completed that position having no employment prospects whatsoever, after having unsuccessfully applied for many Academic positions. A combination of unlikely events brought me to GISS in New York, still without a job, and led me to obtain another Post Doc position at GISS, again doing research in molecular Quantum Mechanics. This position naturally flowed into where I am now. I will take the opportunity of this talk to also briefly show some of what I consider to be exciting meteorological results I, and my research group here at Goddard, have been getting lately."

Dr. Joel Susskind, NASA/GSFC, Earth Sciences Division

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Stories Data Tell



Dr. Ralph Kahn: "Separating causality from coincidence can be the linchpin of understanding, and at times can help identify prerogatives or highlight the path toward the better options. Yet making this distinction is frequently a challenge for me, and I think often for others as well, especially those of us currently engaged in studying and explaining aspects of Earth’s climate system. At an early age, I found that data can help address this challenge, providing evidence one way or the other — sometimes. I will share experiences, professional and personal, and at the intersection of the two, where the difference seemed to matter. In some cases the data offered at least a partial resolution. In others, not so much."

Dr. Ralph Kahn, Climate and Radiation Laboratory, NASA/GSFC