This week at Davis an interview with the AAD LIDAR operator, a brief look back at a year, a hydroponics update, and a birthday celebration.

Doc’s Dozen with Nick Chang

Climate Processes and Change LIDAR Operator / Emergency Response Team / Hydroponics Team / Unofficial Davis Winter Weather Forecaster

Nick, is this your first trip to Antarctica? What brought you here?

Yes, this is my first trip to Antarctica. People say this is a science wonderland but I hoped it was a place to hide away from my PhD thesis.

What is it like being a LIDAR scientist here?

“It feels like you are communicating with the mother ship” said my supervisor. (aka Dr Fluffy)

Science brought me down here and it helps me to observe and know more about the world. If I wasn’t a scientist I wouldn’t mind being a mechanical engineer or a teacher. My father and grandfather used to own a machine shop.

What has been your best experience so far in Antarctica?

Walking in the darkness under the stars watching an aurora, the heavenly light (with a green beam). This is the end of the world, the most pristine place on earth.

Who inspires you?

My senior Dr Fluffy, also known as Laser Dave, Dr Hosken etc. If not for him, I wouldn’t be here.

What have you learned or enjoyed about living in a small community?

Every day is so different. I especially enjoy listening to people, there are always great stories to hear.

My favourite question, if you were a car, what would you be Nick?

Difficult question, maybe a ‘Terrafugia Transition’, a concept car, and it flies! (Very groovy!)

If you were granted one wish, what would it be?

Please, no more wars. (I couldn’t wish for anything better either Nick)

If you could be someone else, who would it be?

Maybe a doctor to save lives. Otherwise I would like to be a musician, a teacher or an NBA basketball player.

(Excellent choice Nick. With a little bit of coaching I reckon you could step into my shoes for a couple of weeks or so and I could have an extended jolly. What could possibly go wrong?)

Nick, could you explain your thesis to me in plain English in not more than two sentences?

It involves the development of eye-safe lasers for remote sensing of atmospheric winds fields. Wind power saves the world.

(Wow! I understood that!)

I have noticed if people want to know what the weather is going to be like, they ask you and not the Met people. Do you secretly work for the BOM as well?

OK, but you can’t tell the others. I know where the Met people hide the weather remote control.

Your fellow LIDAR scientist Timo  believes that we should be prepared for intergalactic battle. What are your views on this?

Being the laser safety officer on station, I need to ensure that people wear safety goggles for such occasions. The green laser on the mother ship is prepared for any offence.

What is in store for you when you return home Nick?

A lot of family love and a Farmers Union Iced Coffee.

Nick, I know that after years of very hard work you are about to submit your thesis. Your work could possibly save the planet. I would make you a real doctor tomorrow. May the force be with you.

Cathie’s cat cake

Cathie arrived back late this afternoon from her trip up to Woop Woop just in time to celebrate her birthday with us all.

As Cathie has been missing her cats at home, Brigid made her a special birthday cake to help celebrate. We hadn’t had a birthday for a while so the cake cutting was well attended! 

Hydroponics update

Last week we brought you an article about the hydroponics vegetables and herbs grown at Davis.

Darryl, the Hydroponics Manager on station, also sent off a similar article about our operation to ‘Fine Gardening’ magazine in the US. They were so interested in what we were doing down here that they published this as an online story, and Darryl has been asked to do an interview for a podcast on the subject.

Check it out!

I spent a few hours pruning up in Hydroponics myself this week. It’s hard work that requires rest and recuperation afterwards and what better place!

Week 52

For some of us here at Davis, this is week marks 52 since we left our homes to start this amazing adventure.

As the next season’s expeditioners begin training in Kingston, we reminisce on some of our past experiences. It started with training in Kingston and then our trip down on the ship, followed by Christmas and New Year’s, then Australia Day and beyond.

I’m one of the plumbers at Davis and the following images represent some of these highlights.