Science and identity: Your name is everything

In scientific writing, standard convention is referring to a scientist by last name and/or initial of their first name. So let’s say you want to cite a paper I’ve written, you cite it in the text as Skarbø (year) (given that the paper has author-year referencing style, my favourite), or in the references as Skarbø, R.A. + year, name of paper, publication, etc…

As you get to know a topic, you start recognizing names and citations of authorities in that field. After a while, you many times don’t need to look in the reference list to know which paper the author is referring to, you know the article only by the citation.

Thus, as a scientist, your name is your identify and your everything. However, this can yield some problems.

What if your name is very common? Imagine searching for the author “J Smith“, or “J Wang“, which both gives 100+ hits on Google Scholar author search. In a big research field, how will you know which one is the one you want? In nanoscience alone, there are more than 1,200 “J Wang”‘s!

What if you change your name? Back in the days, most scientists were men, and women were the ones changing their names when marrying, so this was not really a big problem. But these days, scientists are both men and women, and both may change their name when marrying. What if author “H Olsen” goes to being “H Olsen-Solvang” or “H Solvang” after marrying — how will you know it’s the same person?

Fortunately, some clever people have thought of this. Just like research papers can have unique digital identifiers, known as a DOIs, researchers can have the same. An ORCID is a permanent digital identifier for researchers.  By associating it with all you publish, you avoid all the name troubles above, and more. If you want to know what it looks like, here is mine.

The people over at Impactstory has written a great summary of more of the benefits of using ORCID. You should check out the post, and of course register to get an ORCID if you’re a researcher! (It literally takes 30 seconds — easier than signing up for Facebook).


My face when problems are solved and the weather is nice


#MusicMonday: I’ll be your icebreaker

I don’t know of many songs about ice management, but Norway’s ESC contribution from 2016, Icebreaker, comes pretty close. Ok, so maybe the lyrics are not meant to be taken that literally, but for me it’s almost hard not to!

Do you know the song? Or any other songs about ice management?


Every night
Before I sleep a shiver down my spine
Thoughts align
What can I do to make you listen

Like a northern light
You’re dancing over every border line
Passing every sign
Between reality and fiction

Every single promise that you ever made
Spinning in my mind like a hurricane
Baby, yes, I hear your mayday

I’ll be your icebreaker 
When you’re stuck in frozen water 
(When you’re stuck in) 
Frozen water 

You go astray
Just like a Polaroid
You fade away
I’ll be you partner
and liberate you from your prison

Baby, yes, I hear your mayday

We’re way too young to say goodbye
Whenever you loose faith just hold the line
It takes a lot of nerve to save a life

#TBT: Visiting Svalbard for the first time

Two years ago, I visited Svalbard and the Arctic for the first time. I had started my PhD just a couple of months before, and given my topic, we knew I would spend some time in field in the Arctic and on Svalbard.

Safety is crucial when spending time in these remote and harsh places, so with my colleagues Martina and Andrei, I went to Svalbard to attend a one-week safety course at UNIS.

Another post is coming up about the safety course, stay tuned!

Follow Maren to Antarctica

Maren, a master’s students in our group, is going to Antarctica in just a few weeks! She will blog about her experience during the journey. Read more about what her work here, and make sure to follow if you are interested to see what a field expedition to Antarctica looks like!

Why Antarctica? — Three weeks in Antarctica

Leker Antarktis i kjelleren på Gløs om dagen ❄⛄🤘 #iceicebaby

A post shared by Maren Salte Kallelid (@marenkallelid) on

First sea trials in ice completed

After three days of sailing, we arrived in the Gulf of Bothnia on Saturday afternoon. This northernmost sea between Sweden and Finland freeze over in winter, and this is where we will conduct the sea trials.


Ice in the Bothnian Bay.


Sunset meeting on the bridge.

We are performing sea trials in ice with two offshore anchor handling tug supply (AHTS) vessels. Magne Viking, the vessel I am on, has ice class but is not an icebreaker. This means it can sail and break ice in light ice conditions, due to its reinforced hull. The other vessel, Tor Viking, is an actual icebreaking AHTS. So we send that one in front when we are sailing to break the ice.

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New offshore adventures: SKT2017

Hey guys! I am writing to you from a ship again! The next three weeks I will spend offshore on vessel Magne Viking, an anchor handler with ice class. We are part of what is going to be sea trials in ice with two ships in the Bothnian Bay, north in the Baltic Sea. Joining us is the vessel Tor Viking, an anchor handling vessel that is also an icebreaker.


Tor Viking and Magne Viking at berth in Landskrona during mobilization.

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New promo video for NTNU, and I’m in it!

Some days my job is more amazing than others. Today, I and all other employees and students at NTNU received an email from the rector Gunnar Bovim launching the new promo video for the university. They have been collecting videos from NTNU people all through the year for this. When we went to the North Pole, I got an email asking us to do a video on the North Pole to use in the video. And not only did they use our clip in the video, rector Bovim chose a still from our clip in the email AND mentioned me by name along side Nobel laureate Edvard Moser.

I’m overwhelmed! I know it’s not a huge thing (I mean, the Moser’s won the Nobel Prize and all, I just sat on a boat going to the North Pole), but even still I was a bit floored, knowing the email went out to over 40.000 people. Bear with me.

I think the video is really good and well made, and it makes me proud to study and work in NTNU.

Can you spot me?

Hint: There is a clip from the North Pole at 1:45.

Best moments of 2016

Gledelig jul and Merry Christmas! I hope everyone has had a peaceful Christmas, and stuffed their faces with all the good food and candy that belongs in this holiday. My Christmas was spent in Oslo (my home town) with my family; my mother, sister, her girlfriend and their dogs. Even though there was no white Cristmas this year, at least we had sun!

Some of you have messaged me and asked if I have quit blogging, since there has not been much activity recently. The answer is definitely no! I enjoy writing, and I get to do so many awesome things during this PhD journey that I love to share with you. In 2017, one of my new year’s resolutions will be to blog more frequently!

2016 has been a great year for me. During this first year of my PhD, I have learned and experienced so much. I wanted to do a recap post of all these moments, but I may do separate posts on some of the highlights later. Some of them definitely deserve that!

The moments and experiences are impossible to rate, so I will just list them in chronological order:

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Feet on land: The Arctic Ocean cruise come to an end

The last Saturday on the cruise was spent dismounting most of the equipment, while the ship laid still and drifting near the ice edge (where the transition from open water to ice is in the sea). The rest of the gear will follow the ship to Helsingborg, and be taken off during demobilization later in October. For myself, my equipment consisted of some cables and a laptop, so I managed to bring it with me in my bag.


On the top of a container on Monkey Island (the deck on top of the bridge), helping Martin dismount equipment.

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