Jean-Baptiste Koehl, ARCEx PhD student, particpates in this year’s Forsker Grand Prix – a contest in dissemination and presentation skills for early career scientists.

UiT The Arctic University of Norway invites the public to the event on 20 September, at Hålogaland Teater. 10 selected PhD students will present their research, and the audience and a jury will vote for the best presenter. Read more about the participants.

The doors open at 19:00, and the audience is encouraged to be there early. It is a free event, but registration is mandatory. Register here.

The top two will participate in the national finale together with researchers from other regions. 

Below is a presentation of Jean-Baptiste, published on

Geology takes me beyond my wildest dreams.

Studying …

the study of faults, cracks in the Earth crust.

What is your motivation to do this particular research? 

I wanted to become a geologist since I was 10 years old. Geology takes me beyond my wildest dreams, a natural continuity in the evolution of planets and solar systems. The quest for planets with similar surface conditions as the Earth has never been so intense. Scientists may eventually look into moving humankind to other planets and perhaps other galaxies, because of limited resources from the Earth. My explorer dreams are comparable to those of people who wanted to land a man on the Moon or to those who are currently looking for potential traces of extra-terrestrial life on Jupiter and Saturn’s moons.

Is there a concrete event, experience or inspiration that made you interested in the field?

Not that I can recall.

Have you experienced any resistance or doubt about your own research?

Yes, I have experienced doubts and resistance about my own research. More experienced researchers that have worked with same study areas as me, for example, are very restrained to communicate with me, because they think there is nothing left to do in these areas and they believed they figured it all. However, geology is a rather uncertain science that is based on numerous assumptions and hypotheses we believe to be true but we know are only partly true or completely wrong. I think ego may sometimes be a huge obstacle to scientific progress. A researcher should pursue his/her own hypothesis exclusively because he or she is genuinely interested in finding an answer that approaches the whole truth. Unfortunately, a few researchers defend a model, a way of thinking, an idea that they created or helped to forge. If this idea, concept, or model collapses it might be an essential part of their research work that collapses with it. Therefore a part of their legacy, a part of their contribution to the world, a part of their time on Earth, a part of their life abruptly thrown to the trash. We all have ego, some of us more than others. I consider myself to have a strong ego and it is not always easy to stop it from taking control of my mouth during a passionate scientific debate. I believe my strength resides in my genuine curiosity for what I work with and study. My thirst of knowledge in my quest of the truth is unlimited. For one to be a good researcher, one has to accept that the quest for the whole truth is vain. And those who do not comply or cannot deal with this aspect of research, should stay away from research, unless they are fine with being utterly disappointed with the outcome of their professional life.