David Farmer

Senior Scientist, Institute of Ocean Sciences

Audio File

What is was your first job, was it a physics job, did you use your physics background?

How did you get your first job? Was it a physics job? Did you use your physics background?

I developed a computer model that helped me reconcile various observations of wind and current with the motion of an ice floe in the Gulf of St Lawrence. I also explored the effect of solar radiation absorbed beneath lake ice.

This peculiar situation, in which convection was occurring beneath ice without the complications of wind effects, made the results applicable in other areas of research.

So, yes, I used my physics background - and a lot of subsequent physics reading - in my work and this continues to be the case.

Some interesting web sites describing our work are identified by number below. Since then I have worked on a wide range of problems, including stratified flow over topography; the atmospheric analog is air-flow over mountains, but I do my research in the ocean [1], [2] and [3] shows an instrument for measuring flow speeds near the ocean surface in extreme waves, [4] shows an acoustical resonator for studying bubble clouds. [5] shows the study of ice mechanics from naturally occurring sound in the arctic ocean [6], wave breaking [7], acoustic propagation through turbulence [8] and the influence of ship noise on communication between whales [9]. Working with students has become the part of my work I most enjoy.

What makes ocean physics so interesting to me?

The observations motivate new theoretical approaches, the theory provides the mathematical framework for interpreting the observations.

Check out the dedication page [10] on one of our publications!

Memorable physics moments

What was your most memorable physics moment?

This list could go on!

Courses you wish had been available

Courses you wish had been available...

I found the course on partial differential equations the most difficult, but looking back on it, I realize that what I learned has since been the most useful.

Differences between jobs that a person with a MSc can get versus BSc, or PhD vs MSc etc

Differences between jobs for graduates with MSc vs BSc or PhD vs MSc?

As in any profession, if you want the best employment opportunities you can expect to have to move to a different location.

If I were starting again I would certainly choose this field!

The picture of me in a red jacket was taken on a small boat in Dent Rapids, BC, where a movie producer was checking out the environment in preparation for shooting a film on whirlpools.