Welcome to SciencePensieve: an Introductory Post

Welcome to the inaugural post of SciencePensieve! The purpose of this first post is to provide you, the reader, with the basic background on what SciencePensieve is, why it exists, and what you can expect to see over the course of its existence.

The first question you may be asking yourself is: what exactly is SciencePensieve? Bear with me as I quickly explain who we are.

My name is Kari Pohl and I am a postdoctoral researcher at NOAA and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) at Horn Point. Over the course of the next few years, I will be working and collaborating closely with scientists from the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserves (CBNERRS, MD and VA), UMCES, NOAA, and Chesapeake Environmental Communications (CEC) on a NOAA/NCCOS funded project to address how climate change will affect ecosystems in Chesapeake Bay.
(This broad and complex topic will be the primary subject covered in this blog.)

What is SciencePensieve?

Source: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/File:Pensieve.jpg

Source: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/File:Pensieve.jpg

We chose this name because it perfectly encompasses our mission. Any fan of the Harry Potter universe may remember the Pensieve as that mystical, silver liquid-filled basin that allows the user to see memories in a detailed, 3rd person point of view.

As Dumbledore said: “I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one’s mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one’s leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form.”

This blog is just that: a transparent view, of the scientific method as it unfolds. Many people have become accustomed to seeing only the end result of a science experiment. SciencePensieve aims to show you all those steps along the way. It’s great to eat a cake, but that cake is even more appreciated and understood when you see all the ingredients and steps that went into baking it!

Why does SciencePensieve Exists?

Source: http://libraryguides.unh.edu/content.php?pid=350369&sid=3969939

Source: http://libraryguides.unh.edu/content.php?pid=350369&sid=3969939

This collaborative project to investigate climate change on the ecosystem services of Chesapeake Bay is innovative. As a group, we want to approach this topic in a new way. More importantly, we want our products to be usable and exciting to the general public, and not just other scientists.

This blog is something new. We will show you what it is we are doing…including all the highs and lows! As Einstein said: “If we knew what we were doing, it would not be called research…” The nature of the scientific method is that if at first you don’t succeed, you reevaluate your approach and try again. This process is integral to research, and we want to transparently show how we are progressing through this project.

For the duration of this project, SciencePensieve will be a real-time, regularly updated blog. This means that you can comment and provide input to the progress. In this sense, not only is SciencePensieve a clear view of science at work, and an educational tool of how collaborative research is carried out, but we are interested in your ideas too!

What can you expect to see?

Source: http://www.feralinteractive.com/en/mac-games/legoharrypotter2/media/

Source: http://www.feralinteractive.com/en/mac-games/legoharrypotter2/media/

In its present state, SciencePensieve will be updated on a weekly basis. Some posts may be on interesting findings while others may be on calculations that did not work (example, a wrong R script). Some weeks may be on bullets from meetings and ideas we develop. Every image posted will be a work-in-progress and could change with further investigation. This process is part of the job for scientists. We question everything so that when we publish a result, we are confident that it is not a mistake.

We hope you find this introduction informative and now understand why SciencePensieve is an exciting and new approach to climate change research. In the upcoming weeks, you can look out for posts with more details on the actual project and some initial hypotheses we have constructed.

Kari Pohl

About Kari Pohl

I am a post-doctoral researcher at NOAA and the University of Maryland (Center for Environmental Science at Horn Point Laboratory). My work investigates how climate variability and extremes affect the diverse ecosystems in Chesapeake Bay. I received a Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of Rhode Island (2014) and received a B.S. in Environmental Science and a B.A. in Chemistry from Roger Williams University (2009). When I am not busy being a scientist, my hobbies include running, watching (and often yelling at) the Boston Bruins, and taking photos of my cat.
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4 Responses to Welcome to SciencePensieve: an Introductory Post

  1. Annie Hartwell says:

    This is totally awesome Kari!

  2. William Reay says:

    Dear Kari:

    Just wanted to make sure I could login and read the current content. Look forward to our investigative partnership.

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