UPDATED! Professor, Paleoclimate Dynamics, Martin H. Trauth @MartinHTrauth: A Day in the GeoLife Series

Martin Trauth

UPDATED 3/16/20

NAME: Martin H. Trauth

CURRENT TITLE: Apl. Professor of Paleoclimate Dynamics, University of Potsdam, Germany

AREA OF EXPERTISE: Paleoclimate dynamics of the lower latitudes, data analysis, and statistics in earth sciences.

YEARS OF EXPERIENCE: Apl. Professor, University of Potsdam (since 2011), senior staff research scientist and senior lecturer, University of Potsdam (2003-2011), staff research scientist and lecturer (1995-2003).

EDUCATION: Diploma in geology and paleontology, University of Karlsruhe, Germany (1992), doctor of natural sciences in geology and paleontology, University of Kiel, Germany (1995), habilitation in geosciences, University of Potsdam, Germany (2003).

WEBSITE: http://martinhtrauth.de

Whats your job like?

I am leading the paleoclimate dynamics group at the University of Potsdam. I am currently Co-PI of the Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project, wherein I am – together with three colleagues – leading the Chew Bahir Drilling Project in Southern Ethiopia. Within these, and other projects, Im mostly involved in data analysis of all kinds, from time series analysis, multivariate statistics, to remote sensing. I teach eight hours a week, mostly courses on the two textbooks I wrote, MATLAB Recipes for Earth Sciences, 5th Edition (Springer 2020) and Collecting, Processing and Presenting Geoscientific Information, 2nd Edition (together with Elisabeth Sillmann, Springer 2018), and I currently writing my third book Signal and Noise in Geosciences, MATLAB Recipes for Data Acquisition in Earth Sciences(Springer 2021). I am directing summer schools in Eastern Africa and Germany on two areas of interest including, tectonics, climate, and human evolution in Africa” and data analysis in earth sciences.” These summer schools are for doctoral students, usually with 20-25 participants from up to 15 different countries, which gives me – and my 10 co-lecturers – a lot of pleasure. I am also involved in many administrative things, e.g. I have been a member for a long time, for many years also the chairman of the examination board of our department, and here I am, among many other things, campaigning for the rights of students in examination matters.

Whats a typical day like?

During the semester, Im mostly preparing lectures, teaching, and doing administrative work, including many emails and phone calls, meetings and all these things. During the semester break, I enjoy writing papers and books, reading other peoples work, going to conferences and workshops, and even going into the field (Ethiopia, Kenya mostly).

Whats fun?

Creating new courses, such as the one described on my blog! Its a new course on data analysis, using LEGO MINDSTORMS with MATLAB, teaching students in programming but also simply to better understand data acquisition with all kinds of sensors, cameras, etc. This course has received much attention recently in the media and both students and instructors really enjoy this course very much (http://mres.uni-potsdam.de).

What’s challenging?

Trying to convince earth scientists, in particular, geographers, that a deeper understanding of mathematics is required to do good sciences. We get master’s applications from people having a geography bachelor degree without any math – a disaster! Where should I start explaining a principal component analysis if someone never heard about an eigenvector?

What’s your advice to students?

Never give up, ask your professor! They are usually much more accessible than is generally assumed. On a nice request by email you always get a nice answer. And if not, then forget about the professor – there are many of us!

Suguta Rift Valley
Martin H. Trauth in Suguta. Photo copyright: Martin H. Trauth

%d bloggers like this: