GO-SHIP IO5: Time Aboard the Roger Revelle

Time’s passage is different aboard a research cruise

I05 Log: Time Aboard the Roger Revelle 

One of the fundamentals of special relativity is (in simplest terms) that time passes differently as an object’s velocity approaches the speed of light. I would like to humbly supplement Einstein’s work and suggest that time’s passage is also different aboard a research cruise. 

My typical days in Miami, FL are arranged around my commute to and from work. Weeks are broken up by the weekends. I have a work life with my fellow Ph.D. students and a personal life with my wife, daughter, and friends. However, once we left port, I no longer had these milestones that marked the passing of time. Daily commute? Nope. Not unless you count the 25-second walk from my berth to the ship’s computer lab (not joking). Weekends? Nope again. We work 12-hour days, 7 days a week. What’s more, the scenery doesn’t change too much in the middle of the Indian Ocean so it’s hard to tell if you’re making any progress. 

I work the night shift as a CTD watchstander. My struggle with time was perpetuated further once I understood my job well enough that I could get into a rhythm. Deploy the CTD, recover the CTD, prepare the CTD for deployment. Deploy, recover, prep. Deploy, recover, prep. Ad infinitum. The work is low-stress and the 12-hour shifts pass quickly, but so do my 12 hours of personal time. All these factors contribute to the feeling that time has simultaneously ceased to exist and is moving very quickly. 

I expect co-authorship of any publications stemming from or related to this new area of special relativity. 

I05 Night Shift Watch Standers

Night Shift Watch Standers

If you’re curious, here’s my daily routine aboard the Roger Revelle:

  • Muster (2300)
  • Coffee / Prep for work (2300 – 0000)
  • Work (0000 – 1200)
  • Lunch (1200 – 1300)
  • Gym (1300 – 1400)
  • Shower / Prep for tomorrow (1400 – 1500)
  • Sleep (1500 – 2300)

~Steven Akin