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What's Up in the Environment?

Roger Peebles
   I am a hydrologist, which means I study the properties, distribution, and circulation of water. The field is fairly broad. Some hydrologists study groundwater, the water that supplies springs and wells. Others study how water moves in the atmosphere, like how different clouds form and precipitate water.

   In the past, I've worked on the hydrology of strip coal mining in the western U.S. and consulted on the cleanup of freshwater resources. I've also conducted hydrology studies on a nuclear waste storage facility in salt beds several thousand feet below the ground.

   Curiosity. I was interested first in freshwater, especially groundwater. I wanted to know where groundwater came from, how safe it was for human use, and how vulnerable this resource is to contamination.

   Separating facts from opinion. Getting competing interests to agree on the same set of facts. We are entitled to our own opinions, but not to our own facts! Improving environmental decision-making through better presentation of technical information to the regulatory community and public.

Roger Peebles:    
8:00 AM Read and reply to a ton of e-mail. The rest of morning usually spent reading technical documents and writing comments. Make the usual phone calls; attend Monday staff meeting. Nothing too exciting.

11:30 AM During the summer, I go for a swim in the outdoor pool here at Brooks AFB. During the (short) winter, I get lazy.

1:00 PM Recently, I have been doing computer simulations of groundwater flow and contaminant transport. I'm also working with a Geographic Information System called ArcView, which provides 2- and 3-dimensional visualizations (pretty pictures) of the computer model results. I make more of the usual phone calls. Oh yes, I can't forget yakking it up with my colleagues (a couple of engineers and a risk assessor/toxicologist).

5:00 PM Jump in the car for the boring drive home.

Work on your writing skills. If you can't communicate your ideas clearly, how are you going to convince others to support your cause? Also, don't be afraid to ask dumb questions.

For more details about my career path, look through my resume. (pdf file)
Learn more about the topic of WATER
Go to the Class Projects Roger Peebles designed: Contaminated Water and Watershed
Check out the other mentor whose career is related to WATER: Whitney Montague
Check out WATER Resources

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