#SciCommSunday: The reason why I choose to post selfies on my #SciComm Social Media

“I don’t want my face on the internet!”, “My science should speak for itself, it shouldn’t matter who I am as a person!”, “I just don’t like what I look like in pictures!”, “People won’t perceive me as professional when I include selfies in my science communication work!”: There are many reasons for not posting selfies on the internet, and I sympathise with many of them. However, I have chosen (and continue to choose) to post the occasional selfie. Why is that?

My main goal I am trying to achieve with my scicomm Instagram @fascinocean_kiel is to show that exciting science (specifically ocean physics) can be discovered EVERYWHERE if you are open to seeing it. This means that I post pictures of water that I take on walks along any kind of river, lake, ocean, but also in puddles, sinks, or tea cups, pretty much daily.

#ThisIsWhatAScientistLooksLike

But in order to make my Insta relatable to other people, I find it important to put these pictures in the context of my life. Yes, I live on the Baltic Sea coast and therefore have the opportunity to see “the ocean” (well, kinda) on an almost daily basis, which is reflected in my Insta. But I commute to work in Hamburg (where I see Elbe river and the Port of Hamburg, which you also see quite a lot), and I travel a lot throughout Germany and beyond. Some days I’m on the train — on those days you’ll often see pictures of water taken from the train window. Or if I am giving workshops in locations with fancy taps, you will see those. My point is: You can discover oceanography everywhere. If you choose to look for it.

But then who does get this excited about this kind of stuff? Well, I do. And this is where #ThisIsWhatAScientistLooksLike comes in. I’m not wearing a lab coat, and I am not even observing this science as part of my job. I’m not even employed as a scientist any more, nor do I want to be. But I didn’t loose my identity as a scientist when I decided to stop pursuing an academic career. That was a huge fear I had when I was in the process of wanting out of academia — that I would be a failed scientist if I left, even if I left because I would rather be somewhere else. So for me, showing that I am still a scientist even if that’s not my day job anymore is my way of offering myself as the role model that I wish I had during that time, showing that leaving academia doesn’t make you any less of a scientist.

Of course, #ThisIsWhatAScientistLooksLike also includes other aspects, for example making women or other minorities in science more visible. Or showing that there is no one “correct” way of being a scientist. For example the clothes you wear or how much effort you put into looking put together are in no way correlated to how serious you are about your science. Contributing to spreading that message is a nice side effect for me.

But does posting selfies do anything to how people perceive scientists?

#ScientistsWhoSelfie

There is a 2019 study by Jarreau et al. that looked at this. They compared different kinds of Instagram posts, some showing selfies of scientists, some showing only lab equipment or other pictures of the work only. And they found that posting selfies does actually have an impact on how scientists are perceived.

Scientists posting selfies (as opposed to those only posting “work stuff”) were perceived as significantly warmer. Appearing warm is definitely desirable in this context, as warmth is a component of trustworthiness. Obviously, as a scientist we want to be, but also be perceived as, trustworthy. This perception is created in this study when selfies were used.

Another finding is that posting selfies does not result in scientists being perceived as less competent, both for male and female scientists. So here goes the fear mentioned above that posting selfies will make you appear less serious about your work! Or does it? Note that of course this study does not guarantee that nobody ever will think less of you because you are posting selfies. Of course there might be people you are working with, or more generally, that see your selfies online and think any number of weird things. In general, this does not appear to be the case. But you know your bosses, your community, your life best, so ultimately if this is a concern you have, you need to weigh the potential benefits of posting selfies against that risk. In my case, I have decided that I can totally live with what some people might think about me posting selfies because I know that the people who matter to me don’t think less of me because of it. Additionally, I have gotten a lot of feedback that people actually enjoy seeing selfies on my Insta occasionally, because it does make it more relatable.

As a women, I also find it important that I post selfies, because the study showed that this can contribute to making science be perceived less as “exclusively male”. The common stereotype of what a scientist looks like is still to this day an old white male (in a lab coat and with messy hair). Of course there are plenty of those around, but there are so many brilliant and inspiring women out there, too, that I’d like to see that stereotype change.

In total, results of the study are that showing selfies can potentially help change attitudes towards scientists towards the better. The study doesn’t explore the mechanisms through which this happens (so it might depend on, for example, facial expressions, features of the background, or tons of other things), so it is by no means guaranteed to work for every selfie being posted on the internet (and also how many selfies do people need to see for this effect to kick in, or what does the ratio to “science stuff only” pictures need to be? And how long does the effect last?). In any case, to me, this study is indication enough that me posting selfies might have all the intended consequences, and that’s reason enough for me to choose to post selfies. And I encourage you to check out the study and consider posting selfies, too!

P.S.: This picture is clearly not a selfie, it was taken by my brilliant colleague Sebi Berens (www.sebiberensphoto.com / @sebiberensphoto). Thank you, Sebi!

Literature:

Jarreau PB, Cancellare IA, Carmichael BJ, Porter L, Toker D, Yammine SZ (2019) Using selfies to challenge public stereotypes of scientists. PLoS ONE 14(5): e0216625. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0216625

Playing for #FlumeFriday

Yesterday, we’ve had four rotating tables operating simultaneously, for three different experiments. The one that everybody is gathering around in the picture above is our favourite experiment: a slowly rotating tank with cooling in the middle that shows a nice 2D circulation instead of an overturning as we would expect in a non-rotating system.

A second group was doing an Ekman spiral experiment similar to this one.

If you are interested in observing the bottom boundary layer of a tank, it might look a bit weird to people who don’t know what you are up to…

And the other two experiments were the planetary Rossby wave experiments that I’ve written about so much before that it doesn’t really matter that I didn’t take any pictures this time round.

Recap of my #WaveWatching Insta for #WaveWatchingWednesday

Yay! Another recap of my wave watching Insta!

The year started off in the very best company — watching ships and waves and flowers with Astrid!

But of course there is also actual wave watching happening: Here we see a ship’s wake arriving. I find it fascinating how there are the stripes where you can look into the water and then those where you can’t! Total reflection in action. When I learned about that in physics class I never thought that was a phenomenon I would ever see in real life!

When the waves from the picture above meet the curved sea wall, they get reflected into this pretty pattern.

Another day, foggy and very windy! That day,  my focus was on how there are no waves in the lee obstacles. Only after sufficiently long fetch do waves start to grow.

See how the surface roughness changes with distance from the obstacle?

Oh, and then there was a sunny day! The Oslo ferry is leaving in the distance. See the stripes in different blue tones? In the foreground you can see how the colors are related to surface roughness. Areas that are more exposed to wind are rougher with more waves and different wavelengths, and look darker. More sheltered areas in the lee of structures have fewer waves and appear in a lighter blue.

Oh, and then I had a great day with my nephew in the port of Hamburg with harbour boat trips, walks on the beach, and tons of wave watching. He was very impressed by my skill to know how far each wave would run up the beach, especially since we saw lots of people who either ran away screaming or got wet feet :-D

Another picture from the same day with my nephew: Here is a wave train from a ship’s wake arriving at the beach. I love watching this kind of stuff!

And then one day, I went#WakeWatching! On all three pictures below, you see waves made by the same little ferry. On the right is the turbulent wake where the ship just moved through the water, and on the left some of the feathers that form the V.


Here the ship is turning so we see water that is disturbed by the ship moving through, but doesn’t have the „boiling“ like where the propeller stirred up everything.


Now we see how the wind waves seem to be bunching up at the boundary between the wake and the area that wasn’t affected by the ship moving through.

Then, for #SciCommSunday, I posted a picture of a book that I think is a brilliant introduction to the science of communicating science that I also wrote a blogpost on.

And surprise: Bonus pic for my dear readers that I didn’t post on Instagram but that I think is cool (will definitely experiment with this kind of pictures more! Except panorama mode does weird things to waves, so on second thought maybe not…)

What we are looking at in the picture above is a really low-water day in Kiel. Which leads to interesting wave watching opportunities!

See how waves that arrive with straight crests somewhere offshore get bent as they reach the shallow water? That’s because the velocity of a wave depends on water depth. The deeper the water, the faster the wave can move. The shallower the water, the more the wave is slowed down. Therefore, waves get slowed down first in regions where the water is shallower, and the parts of the wave crest that are still in deeper water wrap around the shallower part. Kinda like when you are slipping on an icy road, you fall in the direction of the foot that didn’t slip because your body spins in that direction.

When there is really low water in Kiel fjord, we can observe the influence of topography on waves much better than we usually can! For example here we see how on one part of the “beach”, there are several wave crests behind each other, all breaking, whereas on the other part on the other side of the headland there is only one wave crest at the water’s edge. Why is that?

Wave crests get steeper and start to break when the water is shallow enough for the wave to “feel” the bottom. On the left side of the picture, depth is increasing faster towards the open ocean: The wave only feels the bottom right before it has reached the water’s edge. On the right side of the picture, on the other hand, the depth changes very gradually. Therefore waves feel the bottom already much earlier and many wave crests are steepening, preparing to break and finally breaking at the same time.

And then I just thought this picture was fun :-)

And a rainy day at work!

I actually don’t mind all the rain: It makes the flow in all the storm drains so much more interesting! Here we see how water shoots out of a pipe into a little lake. Note that I’m saying the water is shooting rather than flowing: That means that it is moving so fast that any disturbance is washed away with the water.

As the water shoots into the much slower flowing lake, it pulls water from the sides with it. This water obviously needs to be replaced from further away, so a recirculation is set up.

Here is an annotated version of the picture to see the recirculation going on:

So that’s what has been going on over on my wave watching Insta @fascinocean_kiel! :-)

Fastest way to read up on the science of science communication? This book!

(Werbung ohne Auftrag // This blogpost is not sponsored)

I strongly believe that all scicomm efforts should be grounded in the science of science communication. That means reading a lot of original literature, or … reading this book that I recently found. It’s a quick and fun overview over the current understanding of what works and why: “The Science of Communicating Science — The Ultimate Guide” by Craig Cormick.

The Science of Communicating Science

The book is structured in four parts: “The ground rules”, “communication tools”, “when things get hard”, and “science communication issues”. It is a really easy and enjoyable read. It’s full of funny stories and cute sketches that illustrate key concepts, and despite it being pretty much a review of the relevant literature, it’s written in a conversational style. The author brings in a lot of stories that make his points. For example to stress the importance of story telling, he talks about how every last tired student woke up in a lecture once he paused his usual lecturing and said “let me tell you a story!”. Very relatable.

“The ground rules”

This part provides a lot of the background knowledge on scicomm. Why do we need to communicate science? What makes science communication good science communication? What is it that the public knows and believes about science, and how much do they care about science? And is there even such a thing as “the public”? (Spoiler alert: of course not!)

It for example tackles one of the big problems I see in science communication: People believing that they will change other people’s minds with more information (and, it’s quite interesting that in my experience, those people’s minds usually aren’t changed by all the data that contradicts them on that).

This part of the book should definitely be required reading for anyone doing scicomm.

“Communication tools”

In this part, the author deals with many different ways to communicate with audiences, and what is known about them — both the communication tools themselves and what audiences might be reached with which tool. For example for social media, it is important to understand who for example has internet access and who is actually using what channel for what purpose, in order to find the best way to reach your specific audience. Or for TED talks, turns out that the gestures and way you present yourself are super important for how you are being perceived so that it basically doesn’t matter to the ratings whether people watch you with sound on or off. How scary is this?

This part of the book is definitely interesting to browse for an overview over many different tools, and looking at chances and challenges of each. And if you are planning to use, or already using, any of the tools described there, it will be super helpful to look into what the author has to say about it.

“When things get hard”

Now we are getting into the really difficult issues, like for example beliefs. Why do people believe what they believe? And  how can we respectfully and constructively deal with people who hold beliefs different from ours? (How) can we change beliefs?

Or another example that I found really interesting because I hadn’t thought about it before, or at least not in those terms, was communicating risk. For risk communication, there are different strategies recommended for audiences that are defined depending on how much they are concerned about a specific risk on the one hand, and how much they are affected by that risk on the other. People in the low concern & low affected corner are an audience that can be communicated with in the way you would normally do scicomm. However, as soon as there is high concern or high risk, things change. For audiences that are highly concerned despite not being highly affected, listening is the key, both to make them feel understood as well as to understand what exactly their concerns are so that you can eventually help them see that despite the concerns they might not be as much as risk as they think they are. But then for people with low levels of concerns but high risk, a completely different approach is needed, one that educates people about the risks they are at. Lastly, people who are both highly concerned and highly at risk are the group that you need to engage with the most. And there are a lot of pointers for how to do that in the book, that I can’t all spill here ;-)

Another chapter in this part of the book that I found really interesting is on changing people’s behaviours. In a nutshell, you don’t change people’s behaviours by changing what they think they should be doing, you change behaviours first and that will lead to a change in attitudes towards the behaviour they are now employing. It’s all about cognitive dissonance and how we are trying to avoid a mismatch between what we say we want to do and what we actually do — usually by changing our attitudes, not our behaviours. So make it easy for people to behave in the way you want them to behave and their attitudes will follow (one of the reasons why I think taxing and fines as tools to influence behaviours should be used a lot more; attitudes will follow…).

This part of the book then concludes with chapters on “communicating controversies” (lots of helpful strategies for if/when you get caught in a shit storm!) and “debunking bunkum” about dealing with pseudoscience.

“Science communication issues”

I really loved this part of the book, because here issues get addressed that we don’t talk about enough, like ethics of scicomm. When we talk about “what works in scicomm”, in a way it’s fair to say that we are talking about ways of manipulating people. We do this with the best intentions, but still, we are basically employing and sharing techniques to make people believe what we believe and act in ways that we think are the right ones. And once in a while it’s good to stop and think about what exactly it is that we are doing there and if we want to adopt existing or develop new guidelines or a code of conduct.

Then there is a chapter on all the caveats of scicomm research. How valid is all the stuff that we think we know about how scicomm works? Very important read!

And lastly, the author ends with an appeal to scicomm researchers to make their findings accessible to practitioners, and for practitioners to dig around if there might already be research available on their formats and topics. To sum it up: “Go and do brilliant things”!

Post scriptum

In my old job in scicomm research, I had the time to read a lot of scientific articles as well as reports, blog posts, etc, and go to workshops, watch youtube, browse social media, etc, to inform myself about the cutting edge science and practice of scicomm. And that’s pretty much a full-time job. Now, with my current job, I still try to keep up to date, but I am really glad I have this foundation of two years full-time focus on scicomm research & practice to fall back on. So I am very much aware of how much there is to learn about scicomm, and how difficult it is to do when that isn’t your primary focus.

I received this book last year, two days before giving an introductory scicomm workshop, and binge-read it to make sure I wasn’t missing anything super important in my workshop. Turns out that the first part of this book, “the ground rules”, is a very good match with what I chose to include as a foundation for my workshop, citing many of the same articles and focusing on very similar topics. If you can’t spend a huge amount of time on diving into the science of scicomm (or attend one of my workshops, obviously ;-)), reading this book is really the best way to get started that I am aware of, and I highly highly recommend reading it! And even if you think you know all there is to know, it’s really refreshing to get a new perspective on things. Still go read the book! :-)

P.S.: A quick overview over the main message of the book (and including some of the fun sketches!) is also given here, by the author himself. So go check that out, too!

P.P.S.: Looking for more to read? Another book I liked a lot and recommended on here about a year ago (when it had just come out): Communicating Climate Change by Armstrong, Krasny & Schuldt.

Literature

“The Science of Communicating Science — The Ultimate Guide” by C. Cormick (2019).

Communicating Climate Change” by A. K. Armstrong, M. E. Krasny, J. P. Schuldt (2018).

New rotating table on #FlumeFriday! Welcome to the family!

In addition to our four DIYnamics-inspired rotating tanks, we now have a highly professional rotating table with SO MANY options! And also so much unboxing and constructing and trouble-shooting to do before it works. But we finished the first successful test: wanna see some rotating coffee in which milk is added? Then check this out!

Luckily Torge is patient enough to deal with me bossing him around, but it took forever to get the whole thing to work and I wanted my movie ;-)

Before we got to that point, though, did I mention that we had a lot of unboxing and constructing to do? But it was a bit like Christmas… And I can’t wait to play with every last piece of equipment! So many new and fun options for experiments I’ve always been wanting to do!

Happy #FlumeFriday! :-)

#WaveWatching Insta recap: December 2019

There was a lot of wave watching going on on my Insta @fascinocean_kiel this last December! Partly because I had decided that I wanted my feed to consist of both my 24 days of kitchen oceanography advent calendar and my usual wave watching content. And once I had started the pattern, I wasn’t going to break it… But here I will only recap the wave watching part, check out the advent calendar on its own page.

December started off with what has become a bit of a pattern recently: wave watching from the train. It’s always surprising to me how much you can actually see from a train window! Below, for example, the reflection of the bridge in the water helps see the prevalent wave lengths.

Next: wave watching on my way to work! My commute is pretty awesome for sight seeing!

Here we see a wake hitting the pier.

In early December, I went to Nuremberg for work. But of course I managed to squeeze in a little wave watching there, too! The river Pegnitz is very much tamed inside the city, which leads to very pretty flow pattern. For example this submerged hydraulic jump below.

Doesn’t it look spooky how the reflection of the houses is deformed where the water shoots down the weir?

And here is a different hydraulic jump. I love the little wakes that show up around the disturbances on the weir!

My friend Nena took this picture of me wave watching in Nuremberg. You bet I will manage to find waves!

And then some more conventional sight seeing…

Getting distracted by drops falling into the Pegnitz… Isn’t it cool how the wave rings are being advected with the current, so that despite the drops all falling on the same spot in space, the wave rings don’t end up concentric?

And some rapids — with hydraulic jumps! — on the Pegnitz.

Back in Kiel!

The different colors in the sky make it very easy to observe pattern in the waves. The sides of the waves that are sloping towards us reflect the bright sky above us, the slopes facing away from us the dark clouds.

Windy day! See the foam that has been blown with the wind and collected at the shore?

We also see the stripes that form when strong winds blow in a consistent manner for a long period of time: Langmuir circulation!

Then, one day, I saw really cool ripple pattern in the sand. At the very top, ripples in the waves. At the very bottom, ripples in the sand. In between, slightly larger breaking waves, and at the top right stripes of darker matter aligning with the waves‘ direction of travel. I wish I knew more about the transition between the light material being sorted into stripes and the the whole sandy sea floor being shaped into ripples. I guess it’s a function of water depth as well as wave length (so how much energy actually reaches the bottom), can anyone explain it?

And I got this comment by @coastalgeology.kiel: “Dear Mirjam, the beautiful ubiquitous regular bedform structures sure are fascinating in their regularity. Note the long symmetric ripple crests that merge and diverge (=bifurcations). This is a nice question about stability: The sea bed moves if it can… And fine sand may form symmetric ripples if the back and forth motion of the waves is strong enough to move, but not too strong to wash away the structures. The wavelength of the ripples scales with the orbital velocity and the period of the waves and the bed sediment characteristics (grain size and roughness). If no sand is available, if it is too coarse, or the bed and wave characterists change, ripples cannot form. In your photo this is the case in the vicinity of the algae, and in the region of shell hash, which is transported (partly in strikes) but does not form ripples itself…”

Next day: Watching swans and their wakes.

And then: back to work. Watching the rain on a puddle…

And I guess the next day I wasn’t feeling like grey Hamburg weather, so I dreamt myself back to sunny Bergen!

Then, more wave watching from the train. Today with a ship’s wake as well as the wake that forms at the bridge’s pylon because there is a strong current on Elbe river.

And then, I went on a trip with my godson & his family to Möhnesee. We’ve been there before (you might remember the very cool hoar frost we saw there), but it’s always worth a trip!

It was a very windy day, so we got to see some nice wave action.

The gusts of wind ran over the surface of the lake, making the weirdest pattern.

Fun to see how in the lee of the land the water surface is absolutely flat, but the further out of the lee you move, the more wave action happens!

Also really interesting to see how little water there is in the reservoir, and how previous water levels are still archived in the stripes of debris on the shore.

And: A foam stripe parallel to the wall!

This is always such an interesting place to visit!

Here the downstream side of the reservoir. Quite impressive!

And then: Some gold fish watching!

I didn’t use any filters or anything on these pictures, the fish were really that colorful! Here with some waves after a pebble happened to drop into the pond…

And some wind waves.

And the super spooky reflection of the dark, naked tree skeletons in the back…

I love how there are so many layers visible here from the reflection at the surface to fish at different depths. This might actually be one of my favourite wave watching pics of all times!

But then I of course always love water running into water, making waves…

Some more layers here: Reflections, surface waves, stuff floating in the water, ripples on the ground…

Oh, and then the one day where I only managed to see the water by proxy of seeing the cranes at the port of Kiel across the city.

But making up for it with my porthole back home, and my Christmas tableware that I found a couple of years ago and that I loooove despite (or because of?) its horrible kitschyness.

But: Back to proper waves!

I love how you can see all these different stages of wave breaking at once: Waves that are still far out don’t seem to have distinct crests, but the closer they get to shore, the more pronounced the crests become. Steeper and steeper, until they finally break and a water-and-foam mixture is pushed up on the sand.

Below, what I find most fascinating is this really smooth-looking stripe parallel to the wave crests, in between the one that is breaking and the one that is about to break. Of course there can’t be wind waves on water that has just been through a wave-break, but still! Fascinating!

Similar thing here.

I also think it’s super cool to watch the foam vanish on the sand. It doesn’t get pulled back into the sea, it just seeps down into the shore.

Looking back at these pictures makes me really happy. Such a great day :-)

Below, you can see the little foam-free circles, where large bubbles just popped.

More wave stages: In the very front the left-over foam, then foam just being pushed on shore, and then a wave juuuust about to break. So cool!

And now properly breaking!

So cool how far the water is being pushed up the beach even after the wake already broke!

It’s just sooooo beautiful!

Meeting up with some scicomm friends! Of course this had to include some wave watching…

What I find super fascinating here is how a sharp gradient in the sea floor makes waves break instantaneously, leaving this turbulent pattern that looks so much like lace!

More wave watching from the train: The bridge’s pylon’s wake!

And water wrapping around a stone in a very cool way.

Rainy Christmas morning.

And: Throwing a pebble into a small stream. See the first splash?

And then the pillar?

And then all the wave rings?

And growing wave rings?

And even larger wave rings?

And a wave riddle for you: Why is there such a bow wave on a ship that is clearly moored?

More port of Hamburg!

And a little wave watching in the dark. See how the reflection of the Christmas tree looks very different depending on how many waves there are on the water’s surface?

More wave watching from the train!

Beautiful wake!

And here we go with my Instagram’s “top 9 of 2019” pictures (according to how many likes they got):

  • two pictures of the port of Hamburg (thanks to my beautiful commute!)
  • two pictures taken from the ferry on my way home after 2019’s Bergen month
  • and a lot of Kiel fjord pics with wave watching, cloud watching, and ship watching!

Funnily enough, a different algorithm (because I was too impatient to wait for the first one I tried) came up with a slightly different selection. Love that seagull!

So here we go, that was my December 2019 wave watching Insta!

New #WaveWatching series happening over on Elin’s blog: #BergenWaveWatching!

Kjersti, Steffi, Elin and I recently discussed ways to better integrate the GEOF105 student cruise into the course. Right now,  even though students write a report about their work on the student cruise, it’s pretty much a one-off event with little connection to what happens before and after, which is a pity. Having a whole research ship for a whole day for a group of 6-8 students (or possibly 10 next year) is such an amazing opportunity! We want to help students make the most of it by attempting to foster a curious mindset before they board the ship.

One idea is to ask the students to observe things throughout the whole duration of the semester, and then have them relate their own “time series” of those observations with what they observe on the student cruise. Ideally, students will be observing their chosen topic for a couple of weeks before the cruise, then go on the cruise looking at everything there with a focus on that topic, and then continue to observe it in their daily lives after the cruise. But even if it’s not connected to the student cruise or this specific class, I think giving students the task to make regular observations over the course of a whole semester would be a really good way to connect their studies better with their regular lives outside of university.

Do I have ideas of what the topics could be? Of course! And I have scheduled posts over the next two months, in which my ideas will be presented one by one. But today, I want to talk about what I think what purpose this assignment would serve.

The goal is not to collect data that will advance science or to work on original research questions. It is rather to help students get into the practice of focussing on details in the world around them that might otherwise go unnoticed. To collect observations using only minimal resources (like for example stopping on their commute for seconds only, taking pictures with their smartphones, using the readily available weather forecast for context). To try and explain pattern they observe using their theoretical background from university. I want to help students get into the habit of actively observing what is going on around them, to become fascinated with discovering things related to their studies in their everyday lives.

I myself, for example, am absolutely fascinated with waves, and I notice them anywhere (read more about that on my blog, if you are interested). On the most recent GEOF105 student cruise, there was a bucket that was used to bring seawater up on the deck for salinity to be measured. And what jumped out on me? The standing waves in that bucket! You see them in the picture below, but what struck me was that most people really didn’t seem to notice what was going on there, and how FASCINATING it was. Someone even commented to the effect that they would have never noticed the waves in the bucket if I hadn’t pointed them out to them, even though they were sticking probes right into the waves. And while I spent the better part of two days moving the bucket around to see all the different wave pattern that occurred on different spots on deck, most other people didn’t even seem curious to find out why myself and a handful of other people were staring into a blue plastic bucket. And that makes me sad. Does everybody need to find waves fascinating? Of course not. But should students at least be a little curious about science topics that clearly fascinate their instructors? Yes, I believe so.

More about the cool waves in the blue bucket in this blog post!

So my mission with this series of blog posts is to give examples of where you can easily observe oceanography-related phenomena in and around Bergen, hoping that you might start looking at those spots with different eyes. And maybe you will find a specific topic that you become fascinated with. Because once you start focussing on something that seems random and rare, the very thing seems to appear everywhere in your daily life. Like for example hydraulic jumps. As shown in the picture below — once you start focussing on those, you see them appear everywhere as if out of thin air.

Hydraulic jumps. Picture from this blog post

This kind of curiosity around physics phenomena is — in my opinion — absolutely desirable, especially in students. It makes dry theory or seemingly obscure topics become more relevant. As you start noticing phenomena, you also start noticing more about them, for example understanding the conditions under which the appear. And you also start anticipating where they might occur, so you will look to see whether your prediction is correct. It’s a vicious circle, but one that I would encourage you — and especially students — to enter. To me, it’s part of my identity as a scientist — to use my initial understanding of processes to continuously want to learn more and more about them.

Wave watching has definitely become a part of my life that I don’t want to miss. What will you start seeing everywhere? Or what is it that you are maybe already seeing everywhere that most people don’t? I am anticipating that my suggestions in this #BergenWaveWatching series will be strongly biased towards #wavewatching, so if you have any other suggestions (maybe even with pictures already?), I would love to hear about them! :-)

24 Days of #KitchenOceanography — Melting ice cubes that are forced to the bottom of a beaker

Welcome to 24 days of #KitchenOceanography! Both English and German instructions below.

Herzlich Willkommen zu 24 Tagen Küchen-Ozeanographie! Deutsche und Englische Anleitungen weiter unten.

24 Days of #KitchenOceanography — Sea level rise

Welcome to 24 days of #KitchenOceanography! Both English and German instructions below.

Herzlich Willkommen zu 24 Tagen Küchen-Ozeanographie! Deutsche und Englische Anleitungen weiter unten.