Friday, December 9, 2016

SEN DataThon this Sunday at UC Berkeley

In collaboration with SEAD (Sustainable Environment Actionable Data), the NSF EarthCube-sponsored (Sediment Experimentalist Network (SEN) will be hosting a "DataThon" this Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016, at UC Berkeley to advance the cause of data sharing and reproducibility. A core group of early-career and more senior scientists, we will spend the afternoon uploading our datasets to SEAD 2.0 project spaces and describing our datasets and methods on the SEN Knowledge Base (SEN-KB). Let's make open data a reality!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

More SEN and EarthCube events at AGU 2016

If you are attending the AGU 2016 Fall Meeting, here are some events in addition to the SEN-related presentations we recently posted.

  • Raleigh Martin of SEN will be at the EarthCube booth #509, Wednesday 11:30a-12:30p if you'd like to chat about sediment experiments and the tools and resources we are trying to share.

SEN-related presentations at the 2016 Fall AGU Meeting

An incomplete listing of SEN related presentations at the 2016 Fall AGU Meeting. We tried to crowdsource this, but ended up searching the AGU Fall Meeting Schedule by ourselves and simultaneously (1) got a headache and (2) was amazed at all of the experimental work going on.

Is your presentation missing? Email














Experimentalist of the Month: Joel P. Johnson

SEN is starting up a new segment with featured experimentalists!

This month:

Joel P. Johnson

Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Austin

Joel with first-generation smartrocks in 2009

How did you first get involved with SEN?

I first attended a SEN-organized workshop a few years ago which was excellent!

What different types of experiments have you worked with?

Working in many cases with students, I have conducted experiments on bedrock erosion, flash flood sediment transport and sorting, tsunami deposition of suspended sediments, disequilibrium gravel transport and step-pool experiments, hillslope diffusion experiments that didn't entirely work, and of course debris flow experiments with smartrocks. I am currently working with a Masters student on experiments to compare dissolution vs. abrasion of bedrock rates and erosional morphologies. 

What is a favorite memory of yours in the lab?

Building a flume-within-a-flume, modifying a shopping cart to catch sediment, and throwing my first smartrocks into experimental debris flows with Leslie Hsu.

What do you hope SEN will help the experimental community to achieve?

We as a community have been both lazy and selfish about sharing data, and that should change.  Making sharing data the expectation, and also incentivizing doing so, is important.

Thanks for being part of SEN, Joel!

Send nominations for featured experimentalists to

Tips for student presenters at AGU

Are you a student presenting at the Fall AGU Meeting?

Here are some tips from the EPSP Outstanding Student Paper Award organizers in 2014:

Thanks to the judges for their tremendous volunteer effort in the 2014 OSPA program! And thanks to our EPSP student community, you did a great job presenting your science. Here is a round-up of the 2014 AGU OSPA judging comments, which may help for future presentations:

Common judging comments:

  1. Get people excited about your work. Enthusiasm, liveliness, and spark about your presentation help make a good impression and generally help earn higher scores.
  2. Be able to answer the question "Why does it matter?" Know how your project will advance the field, how it fits into the already published literature, and your hypothesis. This was one of the most common issues that judges noted, either because it was successfully or not successfully addressed.
  3. At a poster presentation, try to acknowledge and talk to all visitors. You don't know who might be your judge and don't want to keep them waiting too long! When discussing, it helps to make eye contact to everyone standing at the poster. Try to treat visitors equally and acknowledge them when speaking. When presenting, try to allow time for your audience to ask questions.
  4. Don't overwhelm your audience with poster or slide text or content. At a poster, if asked for a five minute summary, aim for that and don't give your 15 minute speech. Too much text or figures that are too small are commonly noted by judges.
  5. Be at your poster when you say you'll be, or leave a note. The judges use your specified time slot to make their schedules. Judges are busy, and if you are not there, you miss out on the chance to be evaluated (and you might make your judge a little agitated.)

Other notes from the judging comments:

  1. Even if your project is still in the beginning stages, you can make a good impression by knowing the context of your work and your vision for the future of the project.
  2. Emphasize the summary/take home points early and end strongly on them.
  3. Phrase things in a positive light (without going overboard), as opposed to saying disparaging or inconclusive things about your findings.
  4. Try to gauge audience knowledge - don't assume they know all about your technique unless it is extremely common, give appropriate background information.
  5. Speak loudly enough for judges to hear you.
  6. Several judges wished there were maps for context of the study.
  7. If for some reason you cannot attend, withdraw your poster from the OSPA competition.

Ken Ferrier and Leslie Hsu - OSPA coordinators 2014