14 September 2005

Fieldwork in strange and exotic localities.

There are lots of scientists, particularly in fields like geology and zoology, who choose their fields because of the opportunities for fieldwork. There is a romance to the idea of the rugged scientist wandering out in the deserted field looking for the evidence that will lead to the next big discovery. There is the lure of strange places, and untamed wilderness. There is a fascination with the wild. In the summer, the mind of the young scientist turns to the field. And then you learn about the need for funding, and hopes and dreams come to a crashing halt.

A very interesting article in today's New York Times reminds us that nature doesn't actually end where human occupation begins, or even in places where human occupation is at its most dense. There are geologists doing fieldwork deep in the wilds of New York City, where the glacial terrain of Central Park continues to yield new lines of evidence that may help us learn about some of the climate changes that marked the end of the last major glaciation.
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