In essence, it went like this: Getting to and from Ithaca was a !!%$^# nightmare.
But once I got there, the talk went extremely well.
I won’t bother you with all the details about how my flight to Ithaca from LaGuardia, and my back-up flight to Syracuse, were both canceled. About how I then decided to rent a car and drive the 234 miles between New York City and the Cornell Campus. About how I met a vicious snow storm/flurry along I-81 N somewhere in the Poconos between Scranton and Binghamton that forced me off the road–I couldn’t see two inches in front of me. About how I then found a Holiday Inn, walked through the door and said, “Where am I?”
“Gibson, Pennsylvania,” was the answer, and man did it suck. On my way to deliver my first talk about weather, weather had seriously whupped my butt.
Nevertheless, I managed to get to Cornell the next morning, once the roads had been cleared. I met with lots of folks and then delivered my new talk for the first time, to an audience whose size amazed me. I didn’t know what to expect, really. I’d long since learned that the “war on science” could be a sexy topic, but hurricanes and global warming on a freezing day in upstate New York…that’s a subject whose popularity I wouldn’t have bet on.
Nevertheless, the seminar room kept filling until all the seats were taken and people were arrayed on the floor in neat rows. There were over 100 present, we estimate. I couldn’t move much near the podium lest I step on someone.
I have decided not to make an online version of the talk itself available yet, for a variety of reasons (logistical included). However, suffice it to say that the audience a) laughed (including when I didn’t expect them to); b) learned something about hurricanes; and then c) launched a long discussion about how scientists can better communicate their findings in politically fraught areas. Smart questions abounded. Some comments on the blog give a sense of what was said.
I was thrilled by the opportunity to deliver this first presentation about Storm World and gratified by the reception. Again, I’d like to thank the Cornell Department of Communication, as well as the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology, the Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, and the Ethical, Legal, & Social Issues focus area of New Life Sciences Initiative.
And then, I headed to the Ithaca airport where my flight was delayed, causing me to miss my connection….