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Fall 2004
Christiaan Adams


Pic of Christiaan Adams Christiaan Adams is a man of many hats. Which seems to suit him well. Currently a research engineer and GIS (geographic information systems) specialist at MIT Sea Grant, he first came to the program while working on his M.S. in both MIT's Technology and Policy Program and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. At the time, he was searching for a thesis project that combined engineering and policy issues. He found that at MITSG, working with Judy Pederson on e-Site, an interactive web tool that lets stakeholders get involved in an environmental site selection process.

In creating e-Site­which drew on work by an earlier MIT grad student, Scott FitzGerald­Adams explored the hypothetical siting of a marine reserve in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. E-Site gives users a list of criteria to rank in order of importance; that ranking, in turn, generates a map of what would be better and worse sites for a marine reserve. It's a tool that offers myriad applications. "It could be used for terrestrial purposes, or you could use it for the wind farm debate off of Nantucket, anywhere you have a siting problem," says Adams.

Since completing his S.M. in February 2004, Adams has been providing GIS expertise to the MITSG Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Laboratory, which included a June trip to Greece to search the Aegean for archaeological artifacts. "Mapping the sea floor off of a Greek island can be hard work, but the location can't be beat!" he says.

Adams is currently lending technical expertise to MITSG's Sea Perch program, an educational initiative in which students learn about science and math by building their own underwater robots. He's also managing the Department of Ocean Engineering's teaching lab and helping to teach a senior design course for the department. "I like doing the hands-on work with the lab and teaching. In the future, I'd like to mix policy and technical work," he says.

Somehow the workload leaves Adams a little time to pursue other interests: sailing, mountain biking, climbing mountains, and pretty much anything that takes him outdoors. In addition, he works to protect the outdoors by volunteering as an activist for conservation causes. At first blush, it's hard to conceive how he fits it all in. But this is a man who includes his kindergarten on his online resume (Montessori Pre-School, Huizen, Netherlands, 1979). Maybe it is, as they say, all in the details.

—Andrea Cohen, MIT Sea Grant

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