Center For Ocean Sciences Education Excellence COSEE Island Earth
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Featured Scientist: Brian Powell - 03.31.2014

Hometown: Born in California, but lived all over the US. I moved to Colorado to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder and stayed for a long time so, I consider that to be my "hometown”.

Occupation: Assistant Professor of Oceanography at the University of Hawai?i

Research Interests: I am interested in a simple question: how predictable is the ocean? As with many simple questions, the answer is complex. To answer the question, I have become interested in the way that different scales of energy in the ocean interact (from planetary to mesoscale to internal waves) and how these interactions influence the way we observe, estimate, and predict the ocean. Finally, if we can do this for the physics, is it then possible for the chemistry and biology?

Interests Growing up: In solitude, I was interested in science and technology. I would build radios, analog devices for early 1980's 8-bit computers, write computer games, and model rocketry. With friends, we would predominantly spend our days exploring Albuquerque, NM on our skateboards.

How I got into Marine Science: I was always scientifically inclined, but not towards marine science. As a child, I eagerly watched the development of the Space Shuttle program from Enterprise to the first launch. I went to University to design satellites; however, there I was hired by Dr. Bill Emery (a UH graduate) to work on remote sensing of the ocean and I fell in love with the science of the ocean.

Scientific Mission: My goal is to improve our understanding of how a complex, dynamical system behaves in the short-term. We hope to have ocean forecasts as ubiquitous as for the weather.

Advice for Young Scientists: Two key points: 1) find a seemingly simple questions and don't discard it because it is simple. Your whole career can be shaped around the complexities of simplicity. 2) Modern scientific careers are long arcs of minor success and setback. We compare ourselves to great scientists before us, but most of them labored for years and built the foundations of their great works. Be patient: incrementally, you can become great.

Questions for Brian? Contact him here:

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