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  • Writer's pictureIce in Motion

Meet the team: Jim Thomson

Dr. Jim Thomson is the head honcho (or, in science research lingo, the "Principal Investigator"). He is a gifted Oceanographer at the University of Washington's Applied Physics Lab and an impressive leader. He orchestrated the 30-day expedition last November for 26 scientists and will lead the scaled-back team of four this September - October.

Background Questions

1. Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?

Coastal Maine -> Seattle

2. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Lego designer or shipwright

3. Do you have any pets? If so, tell us about them – breed, name, age, personality quirks…

Chickens & an awesome cat named Jackson (after the ski area) -> the cat thinks he is a golden retriever

4. Who is someone you admire and why?

My grandfather, a wise and kind man

5. Write a haiku to describe your work (3 lines with 5, 7 and 5 syllables respectively)

The forecast changes

The ocean has no master Sometimes I am wrong

A few Science questions

1. What is your title? What would you say you do here?

On ship: Chief Scientist… coordinate this mess

Regular: Oceanographer & professor … study waves

2. What motivated you to choose this particular field?

I like boats and I like figuring out how things work (including the ocean)

3. How many years have you been studying or working in this field?


4. What’s the best part of your work?

Getting to generate new ideas & test them

5. What are the main challenges you face in your work?

Balancing management role (funding, people) with time to do technical work (science)

6. What is one aspect of your work that you think the public should know more about?

That we know enough to act on climate issues, even though we do not know everything

7. If you could know the definitive answer to one question in your field, what would that question be?

What really happens when a wave breaks

8. What are 3 things you learned on the CODA expedition last year?

There are little tiny fish under the ice

Arctic mud is alive

Open water areas can close in with ice really fast (I actually already knew this, but clearly needed a reminder)

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