Friday, May 21, 2010

Networking within a small net

Wow, another day of small-world-ness. I went to a GEER (Geo-Engineering Earthquake Reconnaissance) talk/dinner meeting for the SFGI (San Francisco Geo-Institute). They do reconnaissance trips after earthquakes in order to learn more about geology, geotechnical engineering, and hopefully find things that can help the engineering community. I arrived for the social chit-chatting before the dinner and after I introduced myself to two people, one of the asked me if I went to MIT. I was a little surprised (I wasn’t wearing a brass rat or anything), and said yes. Turns out he’s a friend of Xiumin’s! He said that Xiumin mentioned that she has a friend named Lucy. I also vaguely remember Xiumin talking about a friend who did his Masters at MIT. Such an interesting coincidence. I also remember seeing him at an ASCE event last month and had wanted to talk to him because he works at Geomatrix, a pretty big geotech firm. I didn’t get a chance that time. Very glad I did this time though.

The actual presentation was really interesting. The two guys giving the presentation went to Haiti on a recon trip with a team of geologists and geotechnical engineers. They spent 6 days in the country about 2 weeks after the earthquake. They basically went around looking at structural and geological features for damage trying to find evidence of faulting. Their conclusion was that the earthquake did not happened on the well known fault in Haiti but that it actually happened on a fault that has not been mapped yet. Very, very interesting, mystery solving trip. They’re still analyzing data from the trip to map figure out the actual fault that had ruptured. They also did a lot of simple geotechnical tests with hand instruments. I really wanted to ask them about that stuff to see if its feasible/appropriate to do in Padang this summer. But I didn’t get a chance because I was trying to get a ride to a BART station. I think I’ll email the guy though.

They are also talking about holding a geotech recon training sometime in the fall. That would be so awesome. I need to join this organization (GEER)! I wrote about professional organizations in a previous post. And I’ve always thought that I would get more involved later, when I have an actual job and settle down and such. But maybe not since I get really good deals at events as a student. Companies will pay for professional society memberships but usually only one or two, not the four or five that I would like to join.

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