MSciTech in Photonics and Optoelectronics
The idea of living
in Australia for a few years had always appealed to Asbjorn Frisvoll,
so when he found exactly the course he wanted to study at UNSW,
there was no stopping him.
“I wanted to
study science, especially physics, but I also wanted to study
engineering. This was a problem, until I discovered, on the Internet,
the Engineering Physics course at UNSW,” Asbjorn said via e-mail
from Trondheim, on Norway’s west coast.
“Of course I
was in Norway and the course was in Australia but that only made
the idea more attractive. I had always wanted to go to Australia
so I enrolled as an international student and headed south.
“I soon realised
I had made a very good decision. The course was just what I wanted
and I managed to pack in more travelling while I was there – from
Tasmania to the Barrier Reef and a lot of other places in between.
Of course I had to take advantage of UNSW's Study Abroad program
as well. That meant a year at the University of Nottingham, which
was not hard to take, except for the beer.
“Back at UNSW I finished my course at the end of 2001,
then spent another year doing a MSciTech in Photonics and Optoelectronics.
“Then it was
back to Norway and looking for a job in a tough employment market,
but my years of study in Australia helped me get a job working
with a new cutting-edge ocean bottom geophysical surveying technique.
“I am based in
Trondheim, ironically half an hour from where I grew up, and have
a great job as a field geophysicist – even though it is on the
ocean – working on a survey ship, the Geo Angler for a Norwegian
oil survey company called ElectroMagnetic GeoServices. You can
read about it at www.emgs.no
are using a new technique for oil and gas exploration, and I don’t
mean binoculars. With traditional seismic logging of the ocean
floor, one can distinguish between geological layers, and see
where there are potential oil or gas reservoirs.
upon drilling, which is a very expensive affair, these reservoirs
might not contain anything. With our technique we can distinguish
between layers of different electrical resistivity. Oil and gas
have high resistivities and, with the information from seismic
surveying the presence of hydrocarbons can be established with
more certainty before deciding on expensive test drilling.
practice we are towing a 200-metre antenna outputting an electromagnetic
pulse up to 1000 amps in the sea behind the ship, and the data
are collected by independent data loggers that we deploy. The
equipment has been used down to a depth of 2000m.
“I am responsible
for the quality of the data collection and various tasks like
maintaining the onboard collection equipment. We spend five weeks
at sea and five weeks processing the data onshore. Then we have
five weeks’ holiday.
“At the moment
we are mapping the North Sea for Norwegian oil companies but the
company is preparing to do surveys all over the world. Angola,
Brazil and India have been mentioned and I might even turn up
again in Australia.
“I was very lucky
to get this job, as the papers are full of articles about rising
unemployment here [in Norway] and with the offshore additional
bonus they pay a pretty penny too. As you can imagine, this great
job gives me more reasons for having the best memories of my time
in Australia,” Asbjorn said.
appeared in Chaos Magazine, Issue 24, September 2003)