Liveryman Ben Fernando reports on his time at the AGU

The Company helped Ben with a grant to support his attendance at the American Geophysical Union conference in California.

I was very grateful to receive a grant of £500 from WCSIM toward the cost of attending the American Geophysical Union (AGU) fall meeting in San Francisco, California, in December. As a first time attendee, the conference (with over 25,000 people) was at first a daunting experience, but I found it to be an extremely useful and productive meeting.

Whilst there, I presented a first-author poster contribution entitled “High frequency seismic modelling with realistic ocean layers”, which detailed my work on development of methods to simulate wave propagation in Earth models which have a realistic surface ocean, something which is at present challenging. I was able to include visualisations of the models in question, which proved extremely popular with those who stopped at my poster session.

In addition, I also presented a second-author poster “Modelling the effects of 3D crustal scatterers and atmospheric sources on detected Martian seismic signals at high frequencies”, which was an extension of some of these techniques to trying to model the atmospheric sources observed by the InSight spacecraft on Mars; and was a co-author on an “Up-goer five” talk which described the InSight mission using only the 1000 most common words in the English language. These two contributions came about from my membership of the Science Team for NASA’s InSight mission to Mars.

Alongside these contributions I was also able to undertake a number of meetings with collaborators, both with regard to my work on the oceans and my involvement in the InSight mission. Given that we work with a geographically disparate team, being able to meet and engage with them in a central location was extremely useful to my studies. I am confident that from my attendance at the meeting, a number of new avenues of research will be explored and at least one new collaboration developed.

I also made a number of short, non-technical videos about my contributions whilst at AGU to try and share my science with a wider audience; and assisted with outreach and public engagement by volunteering to run tours of the Research Vessel Sally Ride, which was docked in San Francisco Harbour during the conference.

Upon returning back to the UK, I was surprised but proud to receive notification that I had won an Outstanding Student Presentation Award for my work from the meeting organisers, which was a real privilege given how competitive the awards are! Once again, many thanks to WCSIM for making this possible!

Liveryman, Ben Fernando