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Hello World: Meet Sam Silva

Hello World: Meet Sam Silva

Hello World! My name is Sam Silva, and I am a new ESIP student fellow.

I work as a PhD student at MIT in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics working with Colette Heald. I’m currently trying to understand interactions between the biosphere and the chemical composition of the atmosphere, which (enter: ESIP) involves wading through all sorts of data!

Right now I’m studying the impact that the expansion of oil palm plantations has on air quality in Southeast Asia. Oil palm trees emit highly reactive chemicals into the atmosphere that can go on to form ozone and particulate matter, which collectively kill more than 3 million people per year globally. So this stuff matters.

To actually do this work, I dug through at least 10 different satellite data products, a bunch of surface stations, a few meteorological reanalyses, and I’m even trying to grow an oil palm tree in my apartment here in Boston (no luck yet). For all these datasets, I had to find them, download them, learn how to unpack them, and quality screen the data before I could even determine if they were useful. Experiences like this make me appreciate the work that ESIP (and the Discovery Cluster) does to streamline the data gathering process!

I’m just getting started with the Discovery cluster, learning all about Open Search and the ESIP Best Practices. At times, all the jargon makes it feel like learning a foreign language, but everyone is super helpful and I think I’m finally starting to catch on!

In my abundant free time, I like to read up on the ISO 19115 metadata standards, watch good (bad) sci-fi TV shows, hang out with my lovely girlfriend and dog, and refine my craft beer palette.