social

Hank Stommel wrote in his autobiography, “The discoveries that take place at the blackboard are usually marked by sudden inspiration. After all, the blackboard is a social medium, at least two persons are involved, and they get tired standing before it. This means that the blackboard sessions are relatively short.” I couldn’t agree more, and I love short, sometimes intense, sessions at the board with my students and colleagues.

Here are a few snapshots of our favorite social media:

I recently replaced the old whiteboard in my office with a blackboard (a high quality Quartet chalkboard). This is the last boardwork on the old whiteboard from a weekly check-in meeting with Ph.D. student Paban Bhuyan. On it, a Fourier series from a teaching session with Paban and some brainstorming of tasks for Paban's dissertation. On the top left, two quotations to keep us humble. They paraphrase messages on Feynman's last board.
On the left, the remnants of a session with a Brazilian colleague on the relationship between vorticity and angular velocity (the classical example of the distortion of an infinitesimal material line by a laterally varying flow). On the right, the boardwork from an office hours session with a student in my undergrad course, in which we did a quick-and-dirty estimation of sea-level rise due to continental ice melt.
Morning espresso time in the lab provides a good opportunity to teach students some GFD. In this session, we briefly discussed PV conservation in the single-layer flat-bottomed shallow water model. On the top left, a reminder that whiteboards suck: the remnants of the heading of an S-MODE Pilot planning session defy dry-erasing.