Monday, December 21, 2020

Happy Zooming Holidays


Son Evan and Dog Stella in Riverside--the red sky tells it all

The corona virus has kicked us in the butt this year. Usually this week, we’re attending Christmas parties, after spending the week at the 20,000-person American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting. At home, we’d be planning the guest list for Christmas Day—usually neighbors Dan, Mark, and Angus, and Chris’s cousin, Eric. In the lab, we’d be putting instruments on “soft” standby ready to jump back in the first week of January. The holiday break would come just in time for everyone, because we’d have been working hard and getting a lot done.


‘Rona has changed all that. I am so thankful that husband Chris and I held a wedding renewal for friends and family last year and that I spent a week at AGU in 2019.  AGU was virtual this year—I didn’t bother to attend. Our isotope instruments have been running almost every day with Academic coordinator Ying Lin, but she’s been working alone pretty much every day, also managing the home schooling for her three children. Bobby “Mr. POM” is working remotely—but needs to return to finish up his PhD. Meanwhile the virus is raging in Riverside California, so maybe this isn’t such a good idea right now.


AGU session I helped plan, 2019


Zoom, the Chat, and Share your screen, are the words of the day. Even as a retired professor, I spend time working with colleagues on Zoom. We started the year with Zoom cocktail parties—now I zoom in at noon everyday to monitor my 93-year old mother’s COVID-19 progress. [She’s made it through the worst of it and officially “OK”.]


I think even the Isotope Gremlins are social distancing.  It is my hope that as the vaccine rolls out, we’ll be able to enjoy people in real life once again.


So, below are links to all of the different people I’ve written about in this blog. People I’ve known in the flesh, so to speak, and care about. Some of them departed.


Meeting with students at AGU


Let’s all hope that all of us keep healthy this holiday season and will return soon to the joy of seeing actual human faces—without masks!


Merry Isotope Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!


Highlights of Women:


Fran Kasen—brash, standup comedian, lawyer and childhood friend for life (Franny)


Franny and Matt McCarthy, 2019



Noreen Tuross—distinguished, big ideas (Isotope Contessa)


Katherine Freeman—from youth to National Academy (Kate)


Sue Ziegler—loves her estuaries and biogeochemistry (Sue Ziegler)


Carmen Aguilar—to the ship, a field scientist (Carmen Aguilar)


Valery Terwilliger—deep thinker and different (Valery)


Liane Benning—big plans and on top of things-- and Pamela Conrad—biogeophysics and Mars (Babes of Science)


Anat Shahar—non-traditional isotopes and mom (Lucky Seven)



Highlights of Guys I’ve worked with:


Brian Fry—famous for ecology and old clothes (Isotope Prince of Ecology)


Doug Rumble—wine, good food, and isotopes (Doug)


Ron Benner—perfectionist and critical (Ron)


Steve Macko—many ideas and lots of energy-- and Michael Engel—behind the scenes isotopes (Macko and Engel)


Paul Koch—from postdoc to Dean, Zach Sharp—from postdoc to Isotope Guru (GL Postdocs)


Richard Tax—rainmaker and artist (Richard Tax)


Matthew Wooller—concrete spatial and builder (Mat Wooller 1) and (Wooller 2)


Andrew Steele—astrobiologist and musician (Steelie)


Seth Newsome—making isotopes look good (Seth)


Bobby Nakamoto—great hopes for an isotope future (Mr. POM)




Departed Friends and Colleagues:


Thomas Hoering—endless stories of mentoring and glassblowing (Tom Hoering)


Ed Hare—amino acids were his thing (Ed Hare)


Margie Imlay—she could predict the future (Margie)


Patrick Parker—wandered through lots of isotope studies (The Chief)


James Scott—wicked smart but bad luck (GL Postdocs)


Barbara Fogel Lis—unselfish but troubled (Sister)


David Freeman—Kate’s dad and serious thinker (Dave Freeman)


Chuck Douthitt—every body knew him, a great promoter of isotopes (Jolly Chuck)









Rounding Third Base and Heading Home

Cards from Franny and Flowers the Rumbles   My daughter Dana is marrying George Goryan on June 25 at our home in Mariposa...