Jahns Jottings/Numerical Analysis

With my Jahns Jahr (October 2008-October 2009) as the Richard H. Jahns Lecturer in Engineering Geology now ended I offer a few Jahns jottings – some statistics and final thoughts. (If you care to ramble through a tangle of more Jahns-related stuff on this website then do so at your peril by clicking here…)

JEG and Moo 1998 Picture1Thank You Julie and Maggie!: The Jahns Distinguished Lecturer Award is not just wall candy. It was a time-consuming, energy-sapping/energy-giving experience of a lifetime. It was a great honor for this Jahns Lecturer. But besides the considerable commitment required by the Lecturer (and the Lecturer’s employer and colleagues), much commitment and patience is required of the Lecturer’s family. In my case I could not have performed as well as I did without the care and loving support of my wife Julie Grau (and our Maggie.)

Bottom Line: It is regrettably a custom for geoengineering lectures to contain mathematical equations with integral signs, “curly d’s”, and colorful printouts of geomechanical numerical analysis. My Jahns Lectures were not technical. But at the conclusion of my Jahns Jahr I did generate a few numbers, which are presented here for those interested in numerical analysis:

~ 24 Jahns Jaunts (a few hours to 17 days duration)
~ 42 Colleges visited, many with more than 1 Lecture
~ 25 Prof. Dinner Meetings
~ 2,000-2500 folk attended lectures (audiences 3 to ~200 people)
~ 1500 emails back and forth to organize lectures and Jaunts
~ 45,000 miles traveled
~ 67 days of travel
~ 2000-3000 snapshots (pretty selection here).
~ 2 crutches (mandatory to optional)
~ $25,000 of support from Colleges/AEG Sections and Geosyntec
– 85 Jahns Lectures presented (includes 8 side frolics to consultants)

The Lectures are intended for Students. AEG Section attention should be on liaising with Universities to encourage AEG/Student Member recruitment. The Jahns Lecturer can be helpful in recruitment. On the other hand, AEG Sections are also vital in organizing Lectures at those schools they consider important in recruitment efforts. The AEG Carolinas Section is exemplary in both these regards.

Mix Engineers and the Geologists. Jahns Lecturers are Engineering Geologists. Several are Geological Engineers, too, including me. So: Jahns Lectures are effective in bridging the Geology-Engineering chasm when they are presented to Joint Engineer-Geologist university and professional audiences. Indeed, I was happiest when I had mixed audiences. But many university Geology and Engineering departments have so little contact with each other that joint Engineer-Geologist venues require much more effort on the part of both the Lecturer and local organizers.

Follow Up Jahns Lectures with Visiting Professional Lectures: Although the Jahns Lecturer can be an effective ambassador for practice, the AEG Visiting Professionals Program is an essential and ongoing adjunct to Jahns Lectures, with the added advantage of it involving local practitioners who can develop ties with colleges in their areas.

Treat the Lecturer with Distinction! I have been overwhelmed by the hospitality and thoughtfulness of many individuals during my Jahns Jahr. But there were also a few less than distinguished interactions. If you have an opportunity to drive the Lecturer somewhere then do so – that made this Lecturer feel both Distinguished and less stressed!

Provide maps! Arrange parking! In my experience the last 10 minutes and the last 2 blocks were the worst when trying to get to a venue, particularly at universities. I know now all too well the significance of the advice given me by Prof. John Clague (2008 Jahns Lecturer): “Avoid driving in Chicago in rush hour during rain”. So: if there is any chance at all – pick up the Lecturer from the nice hotel you arranged for her/him.

Her/him? Not enough hers!. Of the 22 Jahns Lecturers, only one has been a her (Mavis Kent). But based on my interactions during my travels, there is potential for future women Jahns Lecturers.

AEG Section initiative is essential There is no AEG or GSA national support or coordination for the Jahns Lecturer. I am not saying there should be – the executive of these organizations have enough on their plate. But local support in organizing Lectures should be willingly offered. Also: registration fees for the AEG and GSA Annual Meetings should be waived for Jahns Lecturers invited to accept their Jahns Awards and to present their Final Jahns Lectures.

No: the Jahns Lecturer is not paid! There is no financial compensation for the Lecturer’s time spent preparing for Lectures, organizing them, communicating (over 1500 emails to and fro’, for this Lecturer), traveling etc. in my case part of my time was covered by Geosyntec Consultants.

The Lecturer should not have to beg for $upport. It cost me about $300 per lecture in expenses. Contrary to what some folk may think, Lectures are not “paid for already” although they are partially funded by the AEG/GSA. My Jahns Jahr cost over $25,000 in expenses, of which $10,000 could have been covered by the AEG/GSA through the available Award stipend. (In may case Geosyntec Consultants provided the very substantial significant support of $10,000, freeing the available $10,000 AEG/GSA stipend I could have used, for future Lecturers who may need it.) The remaining $15,000 of financial support came in the form of cash contributions, honaria, and “in-kind” support such as hotel rooms, meals, chauffeuring, and so on from universities and professional groups. Unfortunately I had to be (sometimes overly) aggressive in seeking that in-kind support. So: Lessen the Lecturer’s stress by agreeing on support well ahead. And if official expense reimbursement forms are required, have them ready for the Lecturer to sign. Don’t be shy to give the Lecturer gift cards, or a check: they are more portable than coffee cups, big picture books, T-shirt or other well-intended, kind gifts, occupying less room in the Lecturer’s carry-on bag.

There is little Jahns Lecturer legacy. I inherited some good tips from some Lecturers, but there is no archive or legacy useful for a newbie Jahns Lecturer. Maybe the stuff I write here will become part of the that legacy – so I plan to keep it on this website.

About Ed Medley

Ed Medley has been on a random walk for over 50 years. Many scribbles and snapshots at this site are from his vagabond transits; others are from his decades of international experience in geological and geotechnical engineering, academia, and mineral exploration prospecting.
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