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 2008 PAOC Retreat took place at the Red Jacket Resort in Falmouth, Cape Cod, MA over the weekend of October 3-5th.
Each year, the PAOC retreat centers its discussions and lectures around a particular theme; this year's was "Where do we go from here? Challenging frontiers in atmosphere, ocean and climate research." Guiding the conversation were a group of engaging speakers from MIT and elsewhere selected by the PAOC Retreat Committee. Paul O'Gorman (MIT), Ray Pierrehumbert (U. Chicago), Ron Prinn (MIT), Jorge Sarmiento (Princeton), Peter Stone (MIT), Eli Tzipperman (Harvard) and Steve Wofsy (Harvard) were tasked with seeing their roll as scientists in the following light: "We aimed to identify the areas in our field that are poised to provide the greatest increases in understanding in the coming years. We identified the technical, theoretical and intellectual challenges impeding progress, as well as the major ideas that will help us move forward." And then they focused discussions with the PAOC audience around these core questions: What are the biggest, most important scientific questions we face? What do we need to know in order to move forward? What should we focus on in the future? Are we on the right path today?
When PAOC members weren't dialed into issues of the Earth, they had the opportunity to enjoy its offerings -- basking in the New England fall. Organized events like kayaking on the Bass River, biking on the Cape Cod Rail Trail, and a very gentle, guided nature hike and bird watching tour through local natural areas including marshes, working cranberry bogs, and Cape woodlands kept the MIT group busy. And for others, there was volleyball, basketball, horseshoes, shuffleboard, tennis and, of course, the beach.
PAOC appreciates all the work that went into arranging this Cape Cod getaway! Neil Zimmerman, Malte Jansen, Andrew Barton, Cimarron Wortham, Laura Meredith, Ryan Abernathey, Diane Ivy and Brian Rose, thank you!