Twitter is a great place. Not only is it full of memes and GIFs, but I can also follow all of my favorite scientists! Okay, so sometimes, it is a labyrinth of chaos and trolls. But other times, it is glorious.
Today, it was glorious.
Adam Kent, one of my geology professors in 2005 at Oregon State University, seemingly out of nowhere followed me on Twitter, today. And decided to say hi.
@NickLilja Great to see a former Geochemistry student doing well!
— Adam Kent (@geowhateverist) May 20, 2017
Adam is a smart man. A very smart man. He specializes in high temperature geochemistry, Igneous petrology, In-situ elemental and isotopic analysis.
He is also involved with Laser Ablation ICP-MS Analysis. What does that do / mean? No idea.
As you can imagine, any class he could teach would be pretty in-depth. And his Geology 430 class was no different. It was difficult for me to wrap my brain around.
It was the Charles Dickens of classes. It like the Tale of Two Cities. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The class was fascinating. The class was difficult.
His random tweet got me thinking. I knew I saved the audio from his lectures. And after about 15 minutes of digging – BOOM! Found them.
Here is a sample lecture from the class talking about the formation of the universe:
That was the third lecture of the class. It covered the Nebula Hypothesis, Iron and nickel condensation, the creation of the moon, and meteorite dissection.
My favorite line in the lecture is “Not much happens out there in space unless they run into each other” while referencing why there are older meteorites than anything we have on Earth.
In another lecture he talked about “solubalizing” something, only to stop and laugh.
“I felt like John Madden right there. Solubalizing? Like saying audiblizing. Is that even a word?”
Or another time when he compared Zircons to Superman and Kryptonite.
For more lectures from this class, go here
Adam was one of my favorite professors, too. Because he was one of two professors I had during my time at OSU that took an extremely difficult subject matter (at least to me) and broke it down into terms and analogies that I could follow and understand.
I had no business passing that class. But with his help, I did.
It is something that I try to do every day when I give a forecast. MY goal is to teach people something through the use of analogies and examples. Using comparisons to everyday life, I try to break down the complex into the simple. Then I try to deliver the complex forecast – with an educational angle – to everyone on terms they can follow.
So, for those that watch my forecasts and think, “Why does he talk about all of this stuff. No one could ever have any idea what he is talking about. We’re not meteorologists…”
I promise it isn’t just to waste my breath. My hope is that there are people – and a lot of kids – out there gaining a better understanding about how the atmosphere works through my efforts.
From the looks of things, a lot of people are. For some, learning about weather is fun, for others learning about the weather helps curb their anxiety.
And for me (and probably for Adam, too), it is nice knowing I’ve helped to educate someone – even just a little – about something I love so much. It is glorious.