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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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IODP brings research opportunities to A&M

 
 

Junior geology major Andrew Fair said research employment is one of the advantages of being a geology student at Texas A&M.
While Fair does not know what his long-term career goals are, the College of Geosciences has several opportunities available to its students.
Many of these opportunities are provided by the college’s participation in innovative programs such as the recently-implemented Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP).
The College of Geosciences has teamed up with Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University and Joint Oceanographic Institutions Inc. to form the JOI Alliance.
This partnership of scientists and research institutions was organized to explore the history and structure of the earth through scientific ocean drilling. This type of teamwork makes joint research projects available, and opens new research opportunities with Lamont-Doherty scientists, said Paul Fox, professor and director of IODP.
IODP is the largest contract A&M has ever undertaken, Fox said.Replacing the current ocean drilling program, the new contract plans to bring $450-500 million to the University during the next 10 years, Fox said.
IODP, he said, is the largest earth science initiative on the planet and places a large number of A&M students and faculty on center stage.
“(The contract) is a jewel in the University’s crown,” Fox said.
The program, he said, contributes to the University’s Vision 2020 goal in a very important way.
“The money will contribute to our total research budget and is expected to place Texas A&M among the top-20 research universities,” he said.
The JOI Alliance is responsible for program management, planning for scientific services, drill ship operations and many other duties throughout the scientific exploration, said Steven Bohlen, JOI president.
“The Alliance looks forward to building upon our past successes with the ocean drilling program and reaching future science goals with innovative approaches, ” he said.
IODP started new research projects in October 2003, and sea expeditions are scheduled to begin in June, Fox said.
These expeditions to preserve the earth’s history will take scientists and researchers on an international endeavor to locations including the mid-Atlantic Ridge, Iceland, Newfoundland and British Columbia, Fox said.
By analyzing crystal rock below the sea floor, scientists involved in the program will be able to study Earth’s climate changes over the last 75 million years and possibly gain insight into future climate changes and what is driving those changes. There is also the chance of finding alternative fuel sources hundreds of meters below the sea floor, Fox said.
As many as 50 scientists and technicians and 65 crew members will participate in the exploration.
Fair said he is glad to have the opportunity to explore these options as he tries to find direction in his life and career path.
“IODP provides opportunity for advancement both in the science and industry fields and helps bridge the two,” he said

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