The faculty, graduate students, postdocs and staff of MIT’s Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate (PAOC) begin each year with a retreat generously supported by the Houghton Fund. The 2005 PAOC Retreat took place at the Provincetown Inn in Provincetown, MA over the weekend of October 7-9th.
Each year, the PAOC retreat centers its discussions and lectures around a particular theme; this year's was "Society and Our Science." In order to help guide the conversation, the PAOC Retreat Committee invited a broad array of engaging speakers, who each addressed how atmospheric, oceanic and climate sciences interact with the society. In part owing to societal expectations, research conducted in PAOC covers various issues with potentially substantial social impacts, including air pollution, global climate change, the carbon cycle, and weather prediction. On the other hand, science done in these fields has changed the way we (scientists and society) look at the world, with recent discoveries opening up a mode of thinking that sees the Earth as a complex, nonlinear system interacting with human activity. Ed Boyle (MIT), Raffaele Ferrari (MIT), Jim Hansen (MIT), Jian Lin (WHOI), Loretta Mickley (Harvard Univ), Mark Roulston (Penn State) and Andy Solow (WHOI) accepted invitations to speak on these topics during the retreat. Ferrari gave "A physical oceanographer's apology".
Taking a break from the rigor of research discussions, PAOC members indulged in a social events around town as well as at the Inn. One game included matching the PAOC member to photo of them as a child.
Refreshed from conversation and enjoyment of the New England fall, the MIT's PAOC group departed for Cambridge early Sunday afternoon.