From Mayhem to Knowledge, the Creation of the ERIS Observatory

From Mayhem to Knowledge

by: Juliana Pesavento, Oceanography Undergraduate

In Greek Mythology Eris is the god of chaos, for astronomers it is the largest dwarf planet in the Solar System, for us at the University of Washington Eris is the conversion of chaos into discovery. Eris, or more correctly ERIS (in all CAPS), refers to Exploration and Remote Instrumentation by Students. It is dedicated to discovering how anthropogenic processes mediate natural processes in the aquatic environment. This is done through scientific inquiry and creation of instruments for the cabled observatory in Portage Bay. It is the place where students get the chance to bridge the gap between science and technology and challenge themselves by building the instrument, mechanism, or program that will allow them to create the platform needed to learn more about their passion in the aquatic environment. It is where chaos is unraveled and the patterns are discovered, rendering mayhem into knowledge.

The Ocean Technology course sequence is dedicated to teaching students how to design, build, operate, and maintain a cabled underwater observatory that will have a continuous data-stream for analysis of environmental data. The cabled observatory is located off the University of Washington dock in Portage Bay. The class gives students a chance to get ‘hands-on’ experience, making their ideas become reality.

As a new project of the School of Oceanography , ERIS got to see dreams become a reality for the first time this year! This quarter, the class designed and created seven different sensors, two computer interfaces, and an organized plan for the future of ERIS. The sensors ranged from a thermistor string to a hydrophone and geophone platform, from a moving platform to a bio-fouling sensor. The computer interfaces worked to make data accessible and easily organized for scientist and the public alike to understand. The future of ERIS is still evolving, growing in size and gathering quite the following of students who want to have the chance to see their passion of oceanography taken to a new level!

If you want to learn more about the ERIS Observatory visit our website.