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
: the remnants of the
heading of an S-MODE Pilot planning session defy dry-erasing.