Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Enter the Newbie

I've been poking around the geoblogosphere for a while, first as a silent reader, then as a sparse commenter describing myself as a "blogless newbie." I've enjoyed watching this internet discourse, and I have definitely learned a lot about both the science and the academic profession from reading all these different perspectives. The more I read online and the more I learn both here and in class, the more I've felt I wanted to say and the more I've wanted to talk geo-nerdy with people rather than just reading, so I'm making good on a New Year's resolution to do away with the "blogless" part of my self-description and engage a little more. Sure, I'm technically nine days late for a proper resolution, but the fact that today's the anniversary of the Fort Tejon earthquake has to count for something, right?

The "newbie" part of the description, however, is definitely still in place. I'm not just new to blogging, but new to studying the earth sciences as well. Despite the fact that I've been interested in earthquakes and volcanoes since I was very little (and safely away from those things, living on the east coast of the US), I didn't entertain the idea of professionally studying them until fairly recently. I moved to California to work on a Master's in music composition, and that persistent interest in things geological prompted me to start reading more seriously about earthquakes and faults, as I felt I should know about them if I was to be living near them. The more I read - in the popular science realm though it was - the more my interest was reinforced and the more I wanted to know. I want to understand things well beyond those popular science books, and I'm finding those unanswered questions to be far more compelling and interesting than just reading what people already do know. At the same time, I'm growing increasingly disenchanted with music academia and don't see myself as continuing to enjoy the music itself if I continue to study it in the way I have been. I've therefore started taking geology classes while working on my music thesis, and have applied to formally study seismology after finishing my MA this spring. I'm getting good impressions about admissions from the department where I currently go to school - they've been inviting me to participate in all sorts of department events since I expressed interest - though I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high because of my unusual background. At the time being, I'm particularly interested in the interactions between faults, though I'm still too early into my studies to narrow it down to a specific focus or methodology within that. (I realize that's not in line with the decidedly volcanic title of this blog, but it seemed like the obvious term for a wannabe seismologist with a music background to use!)

And so here's my blog. I'm looking forward to getting more involved in the geoblogosphere, and I can hope that I'll eventually be posting things on par with the insightful, original, and exciting discourse I've been reading thus far.

10 comments:

BrianR said...

Julian ... welcome! You should post about music once in a while too...that is an interesting combination of interests, music and earth science. I'm a geologist and a wannabe musician (i.e., drummer)!

Tuff Cookie said...

All right! I was hoping you'd start up your own blog. The Geoblogosphere needs more geo-musicians.

Now we definitely have to start up a band.

Tuff Cookie said...

PS - I love the blog name. My favorite intersection of volcanology, seismology, AND music - what could be better?

Kim said...

I agree with Tuff Cookie - great blog title! And welcome to the geoblogosphere.

Mel said...

Welcome! I may not post as often as I should, but I am a frequent reader. I'll look forward to your blog.

dmonte said...

Great name and interesting to join music and seismic waves. I once attended a lecture by Paul Olsen of LDEO who studies Rift Basins. He did extensive drilling on the Mesozoic Newark basin in New Jersey and found the sedimentology controlled by Milankovitch cyclicity. For the talk he put the cycles to music. It was quite interesting.

MJC Rocks said...

Welcome! For what it is worth, your academic quandry reminds me of an old film from the 70's, "What's Up Doc?". Ryan O'Neal played a sort of geologist/musicologist who studied the musical tones of ancient stone tools or something like that.

Enjoy blogging! Great site name.

CJR said...

I'm starting to think we should refer to ourselves as the "geopunosphere"...

Looking forward to reading your thoughts!

Julian said...

Thanks so much to all of you for the warm welcome! I'm also glad a bunch of you like the title.

I'm sure there will be plenty of music posts in here too, since I have no plans to cut off all of my involvement in things musical just because I'm not going to be studying it anymore.

Tuff Cookie: This band would definitely need a clever/horrible geology pun name. I am in favor of expanding the number of geo-musicians and the geopunosphere.

Dmonte: That sounds like a very interesting presentation! Do you know whether Olsen chose existing music that fit the cycles or whether he/someone came up with the music based on the cycles themselves?

MJC: You're not the first to recommend that movie to me. My mom kept talking about it over the holidays, but we never got around to actually renting it. I have to say, I'm pretty surprised that there are any movies at all that feature regular musicologists, let alone geo-musicologists!

BrianR said...

speaking of data sonification ... I posted about that topic in a very cursory way several months ago ... see here.

Someday when I have the time, it would be fun to make some sounds out of my data (not sure it would be "music" though).