The Beach: A River of Sand

It’s February, which means it’s Coastal Dynamics season again!  5 years ago (time flies!), I  first arrived in the Netherlands as part of my master’s program.  I walked into the classroom for Judith Bosboom’s Coastal Dynamics 1 course, and it really changed everything for me.  CD1 felt like the course I had been waiting for all my life, combining geology, geography, physics, and practical engineering all in one package.  The course was also so well-taught and structured that it seemed like an IV drip of knowledge, pulsing straight to your brain.  I felt like I was truly in the right place and coastal engineering was the field for me.  It cranked my enthusiasm for all things coastal to 11.

After I became a PhD student, I began TAing the course and learned what it was like on the other side of the classroom.  This revealed a hitherto unsuspected enthusiasm for teaching (although perhaps it shouldn’t have been a big surprise, given that I come from a large family of teachers), and has been a big factor in my interest to stay in academia.

Every year, we start the course by showing students the video “River of Sand”, which explains coastal sediment transport in an easily understandable way.  This video is 55 years old now, but it still does a better job of explaining how beaches work than almost anything else I’ve seen.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

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