Monday, September 28, 2009

2009 NCCR Climate Summer School – Grindelwald, Switzerland

I have just returned to the US following a week at the NCCR Climate Summer School in Grindelwald followed by two weeks of travel in Switzerland, France and Italy. I am so grateful to ThinkSwiss to have given me to opportunity to travel to Grindelwald to attend this summer school. From the keynote speakers to the poster sessions to discussing science and academia with my peers at dinner, the entire week was an invaluable experience. I really liked the breadth of keynote speakers that presented. I find it is very easy to get wrapped up in one’s small area of research and specialty and having a broad range of speakers from observationalists, to modelers, to economists helps to put the theme of climate change into a “big picture” perspective.

I really enjoyed meeting and talking with my peers (and likely future colleagues) from around the globe not only about the science but about how the academic system works outside of the US. I was particularly amazed by the number of languages the typical European speaks. I can barely find myself a beer and a bathroom in Mexico and most of the other participants were fluent in at least two languages and many were fluent in three or four languages.

Towards the middle of the week, we had a break from the classroom and took a half-day excursion to explore some of the gorgeous Grindelwald countryside. I went on the “Tree coring trip” led by Jan Esper, Ed Cook and David Frank. We took the cable cars above tree-line and began hiking back down into the valley. Along the way, we stopped to discuss proper tree coring techniques and took a couple of core samples. It was really fun and interesting to see the process and learn about how tree-ring data is generated. The opportunity to spend a beautiful afternoon hiking in the mountains was also great, especially since it got cold and raining the next day!

Thank you ThinkSwiss for the opportunity to attend the 2009 NCCR Climate Summer School! I hope to return to Switzerland again someday soon!



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