Diverse group discusses how to proceed

Monday, May 21, 2012

One of the great halls at the Lingyin Temple stands tall among the trees. (Photo by Christian Heck).

After a solid night’s rest (I mean that literally…these beds are hard as rock), we ventured out into Hangzhou to grab a bearing as to where we were and gain familiarity with the city. We ended up at the Lingyin Temple after a frightening cab ride. The Buddhist temple contains many amazing pagodas, grand halls, architecture beyond belief, and statues that one can’t help but admire. Throughout these temples many people took time to divulge into prayers with incense. With every temple we passed through, another seemed to appear further up the hill until we had finally arrived at the last great hall which overlooked the countryside. We were also able to stumble upon the Buddhist monk’s basketball court which at first seemed out of place. The landscape and the temples all added to this grand feeling that we were amid a country that had roots deeper than even we could imagine.

The research team at the Lingyin Temple. Clockwise from back are Danna Barta, Michael Bustamante, Bob Rader, Ian Underwood, Anita Moore-Nall, Hannah Wilson, Heather Davis, Christian Heck and Paul Germano.

In the afternoon, we arrived back into the hotel to have a group discussion about the research at hand and some of the issues we should be addressing. With such a diverse group of students and researchers, we carried the discussion through many various pathways and touched upon some content that led us to dead ends of all kinds. Of course, this is to be expected when having a round table to tackle the issues at hand. There are topics of interest with these eggs that have been touched upon by the previous research teams, but still need refinement and framework in order to further develop solutions. Hatching windows are a matter which has confounded us, but after our discussion a better view of defining a possible hatching window was developed. There are also issues of crushing, finding up/down orientation of the eggs, solving the “geode” eggs, and measuring sections in the field (which will be done much further down the road). It’s really satisfying hashing out all of these topics ahead of time, and it gives us all a loose grasp on what we are about to do. This isn’t to say that we are 100 percent prepared because anything can happen and observations may force us to change our views on certain matters. This is all in accordance with the evolution of a research idea, one question at the beginning of the scientific process may end up as something completely different by the end. We have a diverse group of researchers who are all willing to lend a hand as well as ask the all important question….”why?” Why should we measure this? Why do we need this data? What can this observation tell us? Why is it important?

Well, you’ll just have to stay tuned if you want the answers…

Blog post by Christian Heck.

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