Thursday, April 19, 2012


My laptop died on Monday. It was quick, and unexpected, and it happened in its sleep. The good news is that I have become almost fanatical about backing up my MSc research and thesis lately (I must submit my corrections by the end of this month to graduate and stop paying tuition) so I was only missing one day of work on my backup.  Even better news is that only the motherboard is dead--the hard drive is in good shape and has been converted to an external usb drive.

This morning I picked up my old laptop, which my parents shipped up to me as soon as I knew my laptop would not recover. It is a temporary fix; I've already ordered a replacement laptop, and it should ship in ten days.  I've spent most of today installing software on the old laptop, transferring my files from my external hard drive, and creating more backups of everything.  This is still going on in the background, so it gives me time to post about GeoREX.

GeoREX was the initiative of myself and three other graduate students in the Department of Geoscience at the University of Calgary. It was a one-day research symposium where graduate students gave talks about their research. In a department of nearly 200 grad students, it's hard to know what kind of research other people are doing, and we wanted to facilitate that. We also wanted grad students to have an opportunity to give a talk in front of an audience of peers. GeoREX is short for "Geoscience Research EXchange."

The event ran on Tuesday, and it was a successful day. Even without a computer, I managed to live-tweet from the @Geo_REX twitter account (although it was challenging to keep up from a smartphone with not many geology words in its dictionary and no full keyboard). There were only a few times during the day when I tweeted from my personal account instead of the GeoREX one, but I pulled them all together in storify below:

I'm not going to lie--even with four of us working together this was a lot of work to organize. But it was worth it. I loved seeing people from different research groups learning about what each other does. I  loved seeing people who have been in the department for several years giving a talk about their own research for the very first time. We had a great "keynote address" from Dr. Phil Simony, a Professor Emeritus in our department. I really hope that this will continue on next year, even though half of our committee are graduating this spring.

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