Underwater lectures: A class you literally can't fall alsleep in

Credit: University of Essex

If the sea truly is Earth's final frontier, then marine biologists are the astronauts of the seas. One professor from the University of Essex has decided that there's no better way to teach the up-and-coming researchers and explorers of marine biology about their field than by actually diving in — to a depth of about 60 feet.

To that end, Professor David Smith took the opportunity of an annual field trip to the Wakatobi Marine National Park in Indonesia to hold a few dimly lit, fluid-encapsulated lectures.

As those with a bit of dive experience know, audio can be a bit of a challenge when dealing with oxygen tanks and respirators. Professor Smith got around that issue with a full-face mask and microphone, while each student received a headset. A hydrophone (or water-microphone) was also used to record the lecture and send the recording topside.

The series of lecture-dives took place amidst an Indonesian coral reef, the focus of Professor Smith's course. Students were able to observe the actual corals they were learning about as the lectures went on. Those who attended, as well as taking over 15 hours of video for posterity, described the lectures as "an experience you simply cannot get with traditional lectures." We whole-heartedly agree. Now, if only we could get the field of astronomy to follow suit.

Via Science Daily

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