I am now more than mid-way through my year as the 2009 Richard H. Jahns Distinguished Lecturer in Engineering Geology, awarded by the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists and the Geological Society of America (Engineering Geology Division). I was awarded the honor in October, 2008 and my year ends in October, 2009.
To date I have presented 56 Lectures, not counting about half a dozen side frolics at noon brown bags lectures at various firms. For the most part I have organized Lectures as series in one geographical area. I call them Jahns Jaunts. The Jaunts have been as short as one day or as long as 17 days (Phoenix-Albuquerque-Austin-Dallas-Charleston, SC-Raleigh, NC-Blacksburg, VA). The listing at the end of this post is of venues where I have presented Jahns Lectures. It is current to the end of May. I am taking a break from presenting Jahns Lectures until late August-early September. I have no problem saying “NO” anymore to late-comers asking for a Jahns Lectures – I am now pretty well fully booked until the end of my Lectureship in late October.
The AEG and GSA provide a $10,000 stipend toward expenses. My employer, Geosyntec Consultants, also very generously supports my time and another $10,000. But to date by far the greatest financial contribution has been from individual Universities and AEG Sections who kindly support me in-kind: checks, meals, chauffeur services, lodging, and many, many lovely big smiles and hugs.
The award is more than a handsome wall plaque. It is a job – that of lecturing to university students and professional groups across North America. I offer 7 Jahns Lectures, some with funny titles, like The Comforts of Ignorance and the Benefits of Arrogance, which is the most popular. The most useful are not requested very often: An Introduction to the Use of Ground-Based Stereo Photography in Geopractice and (The Least You Should Know About Characterizing Geological Chaos. But the latter Lecture is for a technical specialty in which I have some international reputation: bimrocks!. Perhaps bimrocks take too much effort for people to understand. Yet – that is the point of presenting Jahns Lectures: to make people think in terms of the useful bits of the Applied Earth Sciences…
I have traveled a great deal, mostly in February to May. For the greater period I had to travel with crutches, since I had knee surgery in the beginning of December which pretty severely interfered with my Jahns schedule for few weeks. Before the surgery, travel was painful, too. It is amazing how fast and far university professors want to hustle the Jahns Lecturer when he is hobbling. Anyway, I have traveled by plane, plane, plane, plane…, bus, car and train. I shall estimate the distance I have traveled in my idle moments, but right now it feels like way more than 10,000 miles.
I started my Jahns year as a novice. I do not care for long distance driving but had a few jaunts where I had to drive everywhere like a gypsy. I am now much smarter: I have become spoiled by the many kind people who have driven from venue to venue. The Carolinas Section of the AEG showed the way how to treat the Jahns Distinguished Lecturer with Distinction: they organized a wonderful 6-day, 7-Lecture Jahns Jaunt from Charleston, SC to Blacksburg, VA, relaying me from place to place with a team of drivers. It was splendid to be a sightseer and not to have to worry about getting to strange University campuses on time after a 300 mile drive. Really: the last 2 blocks and 10 minutes are the most stressful when rushing to a venue, especially in driving rain.
Most amazingly: I have put on little weight, if any. Hospitality from AEG Sections and Universities has invariably required me to eat lunches, breakfasts, dinner and sundry snacks on the road and at venues. I do not normally eat that much when not traveling. But on Jahns Jaunts I have eaten so much pizza that when we were in Italy recently I declined to even look at pizza….
I have met so many wonderful, clever, friendly and, yes, beautiful people. I have had much practice at not just small-talk, but real talk, even soulful sharing, with like-minded folk. it is the people that I shall remember the most when I am finished. Oh, and the snapshots I have been able to take once I was able to start early-morning hobbling on my crutches in late March. Several photos are shown in this post and more can be seen at my photo site at Flickr.
Nov. 10 2008: Oxford MS, U. Mississippi, Dept Geological Engineering and AEG Student Section
Nov 11 2008: Starksville, MS at Mississippi State University at Dept Geological Sciences
Nov 12 2008: Hattiesburg, MS, Lectures at University of Southern Mississippi
Nov. 13 2008: Vicksburg, MS, USACE Water Ways Experimental Station
Nov, 19 2008: Vancouver, BC, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby; Brit. Columbia Inst of Technology, Mining Technology Program, Burnaby; University of British Columbia/Vancouver Geotechnical Society, Vancouver
Jan. 8 2009: Boulder, CO Colorado School of Mines Geol. Eng.; AEG Rocky Mt Section and AEG Student Section
Jan. 14 2009: San Leandro, CA California Land Surveyors Association Dinner Meeting East Bay Chapter
Jan. 27 2009: Los Angeles, CA at Univ CA at Los Angeles, Geotechnical Group
Feb. 10 2009: Huntington Beach, CA at Geosyntec Consultants all-firm Web Seminar
Feb. 19 2009: Fresno CA Cal. State Univ at Fresno, Geology Dept-Grad Students and Assoc Eng Geologists – Dinner Meeting Fresno Chapter
Feb. 24 2009: Chico CA: Cal. State Univ at Chico Geology Students/AEG Student Section
Feb. 24 2009: Folsom CA: Assoc Eng Geologists – Dinner Meeting Sacramento Section
Feb. 25 2009: Davis CA: Univ California at Davis- Geotechnical Engineering
Feb. 26 2009: Reno NV: Univ Nevada at Reno- Geological Engineering Grad Students
Feb. 26 2009: Reno NV: Assoc Eng Geologists – Dinner Meeting -Great Basin Section
March 10 2009: Los Angeles, CA at Assoc Eng Geologists/ASCE – Annual Joint Dinner Meeting
March 12 2009: Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah, Geology Grad Students and Assoc Eng Geologist Dinner Meeting
March 16 2009: St Louis, MO Assoc Eng Geologists Dinner Meeting St Louis-MO Section
March 17 2009: Rolla, MO: MO Inst Science and Tech, Geological Engineering- Colloquium and AEG Student Seminar
March 18 2009: Kansas City, MO: Assoc Eng Geologists Dinner Meeting AEG-Kansas City-Omaha Section
March 19 2009: Kansas City, MO Univ Missouri at KC, 16th Environmental Forum
April 6 2009: Charleston, SC: College of Charleston, Geology Grads
April 6 2009: Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, Geol. Grads
April 7 2009: Boone, NC: Appalachian State University – Geol. Grads
April 8 2009: Greensboro, NC: Guilford College, Geology Dept
April 8 2009: Chapel Hill, NC: University North Carolina Geology Dept.
April 14 2009: Riverside, CA: UC Riverside- UCR Hewitt Club
April 15 2009: San Bernardino, CA: CSU- San Bernardino Geology Dept.
April 15 2009: Pomona, CA : Cal Poly Pomona, AEG Inland Empire Dinner Meeting
April 16 2009: Pomona, CA: Cal Poly Pomona Geology Department
April 16 2009: Northridge, CA: CSU-Northridge Geology Grad Seminar
April 28 2009: Atlanta, GA: Fernbank Museum; AEG, Atlanta Geol Soc, AIPG, ASCE and Georgia Tech grad students
May 20 2009: Portland OR: Portland State University Geology Dept Seminar and AEG Portland Section Dinner Meeting
May 21 2009: Seattle WA, Univ Washington Geotech Eng. Seminar and Dinner Meeting of AEG Washington Section