It’s only the second day, and yet I am starting to feel it! It is quite easy to identify the highlight of the day: Bill Gray’s talk – the Langbein lecture. But after that? An awesome discussion around a poster. Some ok precipitation downscaling talks. A good talk by Ty Ferre on hydrogeophysics.
So what did Bill Gray have to say? Of course he gave a very precise introduction into the methodology he developed for upscaling by the thermodynamically constrained averaging theory (TCAT). In addition he made sure to get another point across: the challenges involved in attempting to establish a novel scientific methodology.
In his early career, Gray was actively involved in the change from finite difference methods to finite element methods. Finite elements are superior and it took quite some time and some work until the majority had accepted that finite elements are better. Bill Gray generalized based on this example: according to him most innovations need time and a lot of work by the people behind those new ideas, until they are established. He admitted that obviously not everything new will or can turn later into an established method. But at the same time he appealed to editors of journals to be very careful, and not dismiss something at first sight. Even if a proposed novel method seems to act against whatever current “state of the art” might be.