Awesome outreach collaborations to continue: We won a Bjerknes Visiting Fellowship 2018!

We are excited and grateful for a great opportunity for continued collaboration that has recently presented itself: Elin won a Bjerknes Visiting Fellowship 2018 for me (Mirjam) to visit Elin and the rest of her team in Bergen for a month in 2018!

We have several goals for that visit, but the main one is to develop more hands-on experiments (which we lovingly call “kitchen oceanography”), which parents, teachers, and other educators can use to get children excited about oceanography (and obviously for the grown-ups to play with, too :-)). Between Elin and me, we do already have a lot of experiments which we use regularly and recommend (for Elin’s, check out this site, and mine are here). But we would love to bring them in a different format so that they are easy to find and use, and are well integrated with the ekte data project. And then, obviously, we want to let everybody in Bergen (and all of our faithful readers) know where to find the experiments, and how to use them in science communication.

So plenty of stuff to stay tuned for! We’ll absolutely keep you posted on our progress on here!

Scrolling back memory lane: Reminiscing of rotation

Hei, remember we were in Grenoble and did exciting experiments on the 13-m-dimeter pool on a merry-go-round only last autumn? Feels like a long time ago already. But here are two ways for you to scroll back memory lane:

  1. Check out the new way we’ve created to access to Elin & her team’s previous adventures on our “previous adventures” page. Did you know we have posts in English, Norwegian and Swedish, addressing audiences from primary school kids, over high school pupils, to teachers, our fellow oceanographers and friends and family? Quite impressive how much Elin has written over the years, and fascinating to read, too! And also check out her ongoing adventures like the student cruise to Bjørnafjorden!

2. Read the award-winning* poem below which I just found somewhere in my files. Yes, we did feel not quiiiite well when we were working on the platform at high rotation rates, but we still loved the whole experience, every minute of it! 🙂

*Yes, this poem really won an award in a competition run by @IAmSciComm on Twitter back in October. And here is the awesome bag and sea horse card we won 🙂

We discovered a new galaxy! Or at least a very pretty vortex

When we move our wall back and forth, we create very strong wing tip vortices that persist for quite a long time.

Above, you see the vortex, lit by a laser sheet close to the surface. You can see the whole column rotating as one, that bright smudge below the swirl is the lower part of the column. There are so many of our neutrally buoyant particles in there that the column looks bright even though it isn’t directly lit by the laser.

And in the picture above, you see those bright smudges on the left of the picture? That’s particles that the vortex hoovered up and then dumped in its path, pretty much like a hurricane would.

And that’s what it looks like as a gif:

Visit of VIPs for the opening of the “Fête de la Science”

“Fête de la Science” is a national event that promotes French science to the general public and gives access to research institutes and laboratories, including hands-on experiments, activities for the whole family and screening of movies. LÉGI is an important contributor for the region Isère and welcomed many important French people at the opening of the event on Thursday.

Here you can see the big crowd squeezed onto the surrounding platforms gazing at the rotating Coriolis tank, while Samuel and the director of the laboratory explained what kind of experiments they conduct in the lab. Unfortunately the tank was not filled with water yet, but the topography for our experiments that will start next week was mounted in the tank.

The laboratory with the Coriolis platform was filled with people glazing at the rotating platform during the opening of the “Fête de la Science”.

Among the visitors there were also journalists that interviewed Céline afterwards. It was screened on the local TV channel France3 and is available online:

A short translation of what the journalists says in the beginning and what Céline explains about the background of the experiment:

Journalist: It looks like a big merry-go-round. Its name is Coriolis. With 13-m diameter, it’s the largest platform of its kind in the world. People come from all around the world to use it. Here, Swedish scientists are preparing their experiments that they will perform with a lot of instrumentation and nearly 1m of water height. They are studying the melting of Antarctic glaciers.

Céline: « Once the glaciers have melted, and have produced a relatively fresh water, what does this freshwater do ? To which depth does it sink, where does it go to, how does it mix with the rest of the water column, and which consequences does that have on the whole global ocean circulation ? »


Fairy dust sprinkler, or: more neutrally buoyant particles!

What happens when the almost neutrally buoyant particles that we use to visualize the flow field have sunken out of the surface layer?

The fairy-dust sprinkler comes and sprinkles more fairy dust! 🙂

And that produces all these cute little swirls that glow bright green. So pretty! 🙂

It’s European Researchers’ Night tonight! Go look at some cool science! :-)

If you are still sitting at your desk right now, we think it’s great that you are procrastinating by reading our blog. And there is definitely some cool stuff on here! But today there is actually a pretty good alternative: It’s the European Researchers’ Night!

Find events near you here. “Discover science, meet researchers, and enjoy yourself!” 🙂

The rotating swimming experience

Yesterday was the last day of experiments with the shelf break setup, before we will continue ice front experiments next week. To celebrate a (hopefully) successful series of many experiments without any big troubles (we’ve heard stories about a leaking tank, shut off electricity etc), we just couldn’t resist to go swimming in the rotating pool! Here you see how we were having fun!

Apparently, we are the first people that went swimming in the tank! It was not only fun, but we also got our personal experience of the Coriolis force that deflected us to the left while swimming. In addition, the water was mixed up for the following last two experiments, in which we induced fluorescent dye to get shiny pretty pictures of the current. Those photos will be coming next week…