Thursday, July 17, 2008

ET's continuing adventures with Norwegian soil microbiology

Here's photographic evidence that Elizabeth is working hard in Norway with her Arctic soil microbiology course!She says:
Week 2 was a full one with both science and recreation playing a big part.

We went to two different valleys (Bjorndalen and Adventdalen) and took soil samples from 2 different plant communities in each valley and then did a series of measurements on them in the lab. We measured pH, % water content, and Nitrogen content in NH4 (ammonium) and NO3 (nitrate) forms (which are the forms of nitrogen that organisms living in the soil can use - learn more about the nitrogen cycle with the basic info or a more involved description).

My class of students put together a Friday night group dinner of pizza, with homemade dough, directed by the Italians. We took two really wonderful hikes, one was to the highest peak around the area-- Nordenskioldfjellet. And I did some swimming in the very nice, 25 m, pool here.

Then, I got to meet former President Jimmy Carter. He was here with some climate change scientists discussing what was happening locally and globally and cruising around on the National Geographic (ship) Endeavour. He came to the local museum, which is next door to the school, so I and another student walked up to the Secret Service and asked if we could meet him. He was very nice, looking a bit old, but still sprightly and cordial. He also visited the Global Seed Vault.