No, I haven’t forgotten about my blog nor my readers (all two or three of you). I figured after the end of the Fall Term I would have more time to write and get back to spreading the joys of meteorites, science, and whatever else caught my attention. Something I didn’t take into account was a little thing called an abstract. I’m at the point in my research where I have enough data to finally start telling a story about my meteorite. The goal is to have an abstract submitted for a poster and accepted for the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston in March. The dead line is January 9th and with me being gone in San Francisco from December 23rd to January 3rd, I’m under a lot of pressure to get it out of the way.
I still have my basic duties in the meteorite lab, too. Primarily that of responding to e-mails when people think they might have a meteorite. This is a task where I can easily just say “no, you don’t have one” and move on, but I use it as a chance to tell them what they possibly have and why it’s not a meteorite. Some of the e-mails get kinda long as there are some people who like to argue that their river rock is indeed a meteorite. Or better yet, argue with me as to why they believe they have a martian meteorite. It’s science outreach and something I do take seriously. Even when someone tells me that they’ve buried half of their meteorite because they don’t want NASA coming to take it (true e-mail).
But most of my time has been spent processing data from the SEM and learning geochemistry on the fly. I’ve probably learned more from my work in the meteorite lab than I have any other class. I’m starting to become familiar with cooling rates as ascertained from Fe-Mg diffusion distances and now I’m reading a paper on the solidification of metal-troilite grains in chondrites. All of which is needed for the completion of my abstract and to give me a general background of meteorite fundamentals. I’ve enjoyed my project so far, but it’s also been very intimidating. I keep thinking one day I’m going to get exposed as a fraud who really has no clue what the hell he’s talking about. In my head, that conversation revolves around not knowing the difference between lodranites and acapulcoites. Or, even worse, differentiating between LL3.1 and LL3.2. Okay… So, I’m being a bit dramatic, but that imposter feeling is still there.
I just keep repeating to myself that I’m never going to amount to anything if I’m not willing to look stupid from time to time. It’s in that spirit that I keep moving forward even when I think I would have been better off in a squishy major.