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How Scientists Are Keeping Irreplaceable Research Going During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Mar 20, 2020   |   Smithsonian Magazine

An article from Smithsonian Magazine details "many researchers scrambling to find ways to continue their research in a rapidly changing world where travel is difficult if not impossible and many university campuses are closing. The National Science Foundation and other agencies are working with scientists to adapt research plans and funding schedules, but many questions remain unanswered." ...

..."Some scientists bridge the gaps with technology. When the COVID-19 crisis began, Mary Albert, professor of engineering at Dartmouth College, had just begun a four-year project to collaborate with the 600-person community of Qaanaaq, Greenland, to create sustainable energy solutions. The NSF-funded project is slated to begin in April when Albert and her team were set to visit Qaanaaq to learn about the community’s goals and vision.

"Because of the remote area’s limited medical resources, however, Albert and her Greenlandic colleagues were concerned about the chance of inadvertently introducing the coronavirus to the community and agreed to postpone the trip to late August or September. In the meantime, the team focuses on emails, phone calls, and teleconferencing to exchange information and gather preliminary data. The researchers had hoped in April to install meteorological stations with sensors and instrumentation to chart soil temperature, wind speed and solar radiation, but that component will have to wait.

"'We’ll lose the summer data from that and so it will put us back that way… but it’s definitely not a show-stopper,' Albert says."

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