The Great Plotnik

Monday, July 08, 2013

Doc Beezie

It's over. The Great BZWZ rocked. In her black slinky dress with her pointer and slides projected on a screen in back of her, in the same room she showed us when she first got to Brown, the planetary room, an old-boy looking venue if ever there were one, where the planetary geologists gather to discuss the vulcanology of the eighth moon of Neptune, BZ calmly took an assembled group of forty, including her parents, on a voyage that described her last five years' research, studying weather patterns, East Indian and African monsoons, cores extracted from lakes, data from weather stations and from the geochemistry of deuterium-heavy paleolithic plant waxes. 

She was calm, assured and never rushed anything. She smiled, laughed a little and explained a lot in her forty-five minutes in front of the group.

Afterwards there were questions from the audience, and the very first one was from a professor who walked with the aid of two walking sticks, and who was trying to stump her: "How would you describe everything you just said to a five year-old?" 

He was starting to explain how "it's very important that we be able to be able to sum up..." when BZ cut him off. "Here's what I'd say to that five year old," she said. "Look up in the sky. Weather changes all the time. There are lots of reasons.  We need to learn about those reasons." The questioner smiled, nodded and sat back down.

She knows her stuff. Of course, this has been her pattern since the fifth grade: do the work. Do more than you have to, so when you have to describe it, or write it, or sing it or play it, you'll have plenty to draw upon.

This is the kid who would wake herself up early to make sure her homework was done, the kid who went to Space Camp, who hung with the outcasts in high school, who took the plunge to go across the country to another world for college, and who got to Manhattan five days before 9-11, who prospered in the low-key academic world of Barnard College, then got out and chose to stay East and work for several years, finally figuring out what she might do with a PhD -- and then going out and getting it.

Right now she is being grilled by her committee about how to refine her thesis. We are to return in two hours for champagne. We are not allowed to say the D-word until then. Fingers still crossed.

But it's a lock. She had 'em when she picked up the pointer. As for Pops, she had me at Minute One. Committee, Shmamittee: Remember, I saw her first.


At 2:23 PM, Blogger notthatlucas said...

This is so cool! And it's so cool you get to see it unfold! A huge congrats to her, but Doc Beezie sounds a lot like a character from the old Andy Griffith show.

At 4:38 PM, Anonymous jj-aka-pp said...


I like the 5 yr old version!!!

Yipee! I bet you've been grinin' all day!

oxoxo to all

At 10:33 PM, Anonymous Cousin Seattle said...

As someone who is stuck in this same process, you really hit it on the head. The question from the guy with the two crutches sounds like something my adviser would ask. )

At 4:20 AM, Anonymous Finch said...

Such a wonderful and heartfelt description. Still vividly remember the comparable day and same process in La Jolla. Much love to Dr. Konecky.

At 5:20 AM, Blogger Karen said...

Yay! Give Bronnie a big hug for me. It's so great that you were (are) there.

At 10:56 AM, Blogger mary ann said...

wonderful ~ how proud you deserve to be

At 7:02 PM, Anonymous Blond Bombshell said...

congrats to bronnie! what a big achievement!!


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