Sounding Out Seattle

For the third year in a row, I had the opportunity to attend the American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting. Two years ago it was in Phoenix, last year it was in Atlanta, and this year it was in Seattle (next year it’ll be in New Orleans). Seattle’s been a place I’ve always wanted to visit someday, so I was really looking forward to going to AMS this year.

Another reason why I like going to is because it’s great to see so many friends that I’ve made at Penn State and other places (even high school and college!). It’s a great place to catch up with people, and I was able to get lunch and dinner with some friends I hadn’t seen since last year at AMS. It’s a good time!

For the second year in a row I represented Penn State at the student conference’s Career Fair, answering questions from undergrads who were interested in grad school in Meteorology at PSU. Luna & I both found it amusing that the two of us representing PSU were no longer physically in State College, but rather working at NCAR.

After Luna & I got the Career Fair table set up (but before the Career Fair itself started), I took a couple hours to wander around downtown by myself, mainly by the waterfront. Seattle has done a really nice job with benches, tables, and boardwalks along the shores of Puget Sound. I grabbed a muffin and coffee from a place called Alaskan Sourdough Bakery and simply sat at a picnic table next to the water for an hour and a half, watching the sun set.


On Sunday, before settling in to watch the NFC and AFC Championship Games, I wandered around Seattle a bit more, mainly checking out Pike Place Market. Unfortunately the fish-tossing place is closed for renovations until early February. I would’ve loved to have gone there, because when I think of Seattle, I think of three things: Puget Sound, the Space Needle, and the fish-tossing at Pike Place Market.


The annual Harris/GOES-R party was held this year at the Museum of Flight (last year it was at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta). The party was still good, but not quite as good as in Phoenix or Atlanta. They had a lot of casino games (craps, blackjack, etc) that were popular with a lot of people, but instead I spent most of the time wandering around by myself, taking a look at all the planes and various space exhibits they had. I figure I can play casino games pretty much anytime I want, but I won’t get free admission to the Museum of Flight just any day. They had some really cool stuff there, too, including the SR-71, which still holds the altitude and speed records for an airplane (85,000 feet and Mach 3.2, if I recall correctly). They also had a “car plane,” which was sold back in the 1950s (and FAA-approved!). Apparently back then the thought was that every family would have a small plane in their garage.


I did some more sight-seeing on Thursday, with Dan & Kerrie to go see the “Gum Wall” in Post Alley (probably the most disgusting tourist attraction I’ve ever been to), get some of the “world’s best” mac & cheese at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese in Pike Place Market (and it was quite good!), and get a caffé mocha at the original Starbucks (my only visit to a Starbucks in Seattle, despite there being one seemingly on every block).



And with only a couple hours left before I needed to head to the airport to fly back to Colorado, I went up to the Space Needle by myself, but ran into Rich from the State College NWS office when I got there. It turned out to be a great afternoon for going up to the top of the Space Needle — we could even see Mt St Helens from up there, which we were told is only visible on about four days per year. That was pretty neat.


As for the conference itself, it went well. Initially I was disappointed a few months ago when I found out I was to give a poster presentation instead of an oral presentation (I had talks at AMS the last two years), because I’ve been to other conferences with a poster where there’s been very little interest in my work. But this year at AMS there was lots of interest in my poster, with a steady stream of people during both poster sessions. In fact, 19 of the 20 single-page copies of my poster that I made were taken. So while I don’t know if a talk would’ve had more impact, I think this poster enabled me to have a decent amount of impact, through quite a few one-on-one conversations about my research. I saw several other talks and posters on topics pretty similar to mine, too. They aren’t doing the exact same thing that I am, but because ensemble configuration is such a hot topic in the numerical weather prediction community, attending the conference helped to give me a little extra motivation to move more quickly on my research. Hopefully that extra motivation lasts!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.