Costa Rica 2004


Ellen and I went to Costa Rica in August of 2004.
I was invited by Alejandra Leon of Cientec and sponsored by Jack's to be a speaker at the sixth congress of science and mathematics in Liberia, a city in Guanacaste province in northern Costa Rica. I presented the latest discoveries about
Mars at a Cafe Scientifique in San Jose. At the conference I repeated my Mars presentation and also gave my magnetism workshop, and my Patterns in Nature lecture/demonstration show. After the conference Alejandra took the presenters rafting on the Tonorio river, and then took us to spend two nights at San Gerardo Station, in the cloud forest near Monteverde. On this trip, Ellen and I met many wonderful people and saw animals we had never seen before, we also got to watch an incandescent eruption from Arenal volcano.

Here is the rest of the story.

The evening after my arrival in San Jose, I gave a presentation about the latest discoveries from Mars at a Cafe Scientifique. I presented my lecture in a bar to people who were eating and drinking. It was a different venue from any I had ever presented at before, but it was fun, perhaps we should do something similar at the Exploratorium?

Cafe Scientifique, the story

Mars presentation

The morning after the Cafe we departed by bus for the northern city of Liberia. Protests by truckers along the Pan American highway added a five hour delay to our travels, but we got to see backroads of Costa Rica we never would have seen as out expert driver threaded his large bus down narrow back roads to avoid the traffic jam.

We checked in at the conference and immediately departed on a tour of the unique dry tropical forest of Santa Rosa National Park in Guanacaste Province.

Santa Rosa Tour

I returned just in time to give my Patterns in Nature lecture, this was my first presentation using a slideshow I had assembled using Keynote software from Apple. The slideshow went well. I had many demonstrations to accompany the slideshow.

Paul creates crystal patterns by floating aluminum coins on water. The patterns are projected by overhead projector.

Patterns in Nature, just the lecture

The next day I presented my magnetism workshop in the morning.

Magnetism, just the workshop

Then in the afternoon I gave my Mars presentation again.

Mars presentation

That was the end of the conference, in the morning we drove off to adventures.

We started by rafting the class 2 Tonorio river, where we saw many birds and crocodiles.

Rafting the Tonorio

In the afternoon we drove up to Monteverde then hiked in 2.5 miles through the wet cloud forest to the San Gerardo research station. We spent the next day and night at the station. We were guided on a "three hour tour" of the cloud forest which showed us so many new plants, birds, and insects that we stretched the tour to 5 hours. At night we had the special pleasure of watching the Arenal volcano erupt.

San Gerardo

We returned to San Jose where Andres took us on a fantastic tour of the Jacks food processing plant. We got to watch how the snack foods and cereals are made, it was a fascinating tour. Then we were taken to Andres' mountain cabin right on the edge of Braulio Carillo National Park. It was a wonderful way to end our visit to Costa Rica.

Scientific Explorations with Paul Doherty


2 Sep 2004