Mon, 18/Dec/2017 11:29

As an undergrad I was privileged to work in a university lab. I worked doing some real science and we even had fun doing it. I worked for Dr. Scott Jones at Utah State University in Soil Physics.

We worked on various projects. One was sponsored by Pioneer Seed Corporation in which we used TDR's to determine moisture content of dry cobs in ovens. I got to see that project move from modeling the cobs with green floral foam in the lab to room sized drying ovens. Bill Mace provided me with a lot of experience in making scientific instruments. A shame that we never did get to try this out at the big drying ovens in Hawaii.

Another fun project of which I took part was fluid movement in porous media in reduced gravity. In other words, measuring how water moves when there isn't much gravity to make it run downhill. This was to help understand water delivery systems in order to better grow plants in space. For this project I got to fly on NASA's vomit comet. I have a page that describes more of that research and more about the flights.

Another project I got to work on was comparing how various soil moisture instruments change at various levels of electrical conductivity. I was privileged to also work with David Robinson and closely with Mark Blonquist on this. We had a lot of fun in the lab mixing solutions and making measurements.

This is only a few of the projects on which I worked while in the soils physics lab. I learned a lot about science in those days. I think the only downside to my work there was that I was not interested in helping write and publish the work. At the time, it just did not impress upon me how important it was to let others know the work you have done.

 

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