Hello World + Bio
An amalgam of words, pictures, etc.
Welcome to my blog. In case you skipped over the About section, my name is Blake, and I am currently a doctoral candidate in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program. My high-level research objective is to improve the performance, reliability, and useability of autonomous sailing vessels. I am incredibly excited about this project, and will try to post incremental updates over the course of the next year.
However, the primary purpose of this blog is not to disseminate my thesis research; rather, I hope it will serve as a repository for discussions about my non-academic interests and side-projects. I will focus mostly on the projects and experiences I think other people might find useful or illuminating. Though I will do my best to make sure the information contained herein is as accurate as possible, I might make mistakes, and am counting on you (yes, you!) to bring them to my attention. I will also try to keep these posts consise, but basically anyone who has ever emailed or texted me knows that brevity is not exactly my strong suit. There’s a lot of words out there, and I intend to use them all.
In 2013, long before I began learning how to build ocean robots, I wanted to learn how to build ocean models. As a lifelong surfer, I had relied extensively upon wave forecasts to determine where and when I should try to hop in the ocean, but I had no clue how these forecasts worked. I found the prospect of using math to predict the movement of seemingly chaotic ocean waves and currents completely fascinating. At some point, I watched the video Waves Across The Pacific, a short documentary describing the pioneering ocean wave research conducted by Walter Munk in the 1950s, and I was hooked!
Soon thereafter, I began working toward a masters degree at the Stanford Environental Fluid Mechanics Laboratory, under the tutelage of professors Stephen Monismith and Oliver Fringer. These two teachers really changed my life, and taught me a useful framework for approaching numerical integration problems, and “life problems” more broadly. I owe them both a debt of gratitude.
Reaching back even further into the distant past, long before I learned how to build ocean models, I was basically just a kid who loved the ocean. I grew up in Redondo Beach, CA, and spent most of my teenage years at the beach surfing, swimming, and playing volleyball. It wasn’t until my 3rd year at UCSD that I began seriously considering the possibility of pursuing ocean science as a carreer.
Fortunately, the good folks at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s (SIO) Coral Reef Ecology Lab gave me a shot, and let me volunteer a few hours per week in the lab. My PI, Jen Smith, sponsored my AAUS Scientific Diving training, which was one of the most fun, memorable experiences of my entire life. I fell in love with the culture, people, and mission at SIO, and my experience there set me off on an ocean science career trajectory upon which I remain comfortably situated today!
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the blog. Please feel free to contact me with any feedback or questions.