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General Assembly

Townhall and Splinter Meetings at EGU 2016

Townhall and Splinter Meetings at EGU 2016

In addition to the wealth of scientific sessions at the General Assembly (17–22 April 2016), there is also the option to attend other meetings during EGU 2016. These include Townhall and Splinter Meetings, which are organised by conference participants. 

Splinter Meetings

Splinter Meetings can also be organised by participants during the course of the conference and they can be public or by invitation only. To request a Splinter meeting, please complete the online Splinter Meeting Request Form. Splinter Meeting rooms are allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please see the Splinter Meeting Overview to determine room availability before submitting your request.

Please note that splinter meeting rooms are not available for session extensions. Additional information on Splinter Meetings is available on the EGU 2016 website.

Townhall Meetings

Townhall Meetings are meetings open for all participants in the conference. During these meetings new initiatives or decisions are announced to a larger audience following an open discussion on the matter. There are seven Townhall Meetings currently proposed in the provisional conference programme. For an idea of the content that will be covered during these, take a look at the EGU 2016 website.

Anyone may organise a Townhall Meeting, subject to approval by the Programme Committee chair. Townhall Meetings will be scheduled from Monday to Friday from 19:00 to 20:00 in the conference centre’s lecture rooms. You could propose your own Townhall Meeting for the 2017 General Assembly, just stay tuned to next year’s call for sessions if you are interested.

EGU Photo Contest 2016

EGU Photo Contest 2016

If you are pre-registered for the 2016 General Assembly (Vienna, 17 – 22 April), you can take part in our annual photo competition! Winners receive a free registration to next year’s General Assembly!

The seventh annual EGU photo competition opens on 1 February. Up until 1 March, every participant pre-registered for the General Assembly can submit up three original photos and one moving image on any broad theme related to the Earth, planetary, and space sciences. Shortlisted photos will be exhibited at the conference, together with the winning moving image, which will be selected by a panel of judges. General Assembly participants can vote for their favourite photos and the winning images will be announced on the last day of the meeting.

We particularly encourage submissions representing Active Planet, as there will be an additional prize for the photo that best captures the theme of the conference.

If you submit your images to the photo competition, they will also be included in the EGU’s open access photo database, Imaggeo. You retain full rights of use for any photos submitted to the database as they are licensed and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons license.

You will need to register on Imaggeo so that the organisers can appropriately process your photos. For more information, please check the EGU Photo Contest page on Imaggeo.

Previous winning photographs can be seen on the 20102011, 2012,  2013, 2014 and 2015 winners’ pages.

In the meantime, get shooting!

GeoTalk: Meet Zakaria Ghazoui, winner of the Communicate your Science Video Competition in 2015!

GeoTalk: Meet Zakaria Ghazoui, winner of the Communicate your Science Video Competition in 2015!

If you’ve not heard about our Communicate Your Science Video Competition before it gives early career scientists the chance to produce a video up-to-three-minutes long to share their research with the general public. The winning entry receives a free registration to the General Assembly the following year.

In this GeoTalk interview, Laura Roberts talks to Zakaria Ghazoiu, a PhD student whose video following his journey to the Himalayas to collect core samples from lakes was voted as the winning entry of the 2015 Communicate Your Science Video Competition. He’s since produced a longer video in collaboration with his colleague Arnaud Watlet, which will be screened at this year’s GeoCinema. Read on to hear about their top tips for filming a science video and what inspired them to use video to communicate their science in the first instance.

Before we get started, could you introduce yourself and tell our readers a little more about your research?

Z: I’m in a joint PhD with Grenoble University and Ghent University in the iTECC project (investigating Tectonism Erosion Climate Couplings). iTECC is an inter-European research group funded and sponsored by the Marie Curie Actions. We investigate the links between climate, erosion and tectonics in the Himalaya using a variety of tools that span the geoanalytical spectrum. My research topic is on the influence of tectonic versus climatic controls on erosion and exhumation rates in the Quaternary and understanding the Holocene evolution of the monsoon in Western Nepal based on river sediment and lake sediment cores.

A: I am a geologist and I am doing a PhD in hydrogeophysics over groundwater storage related problems in karst environments. Apart from that, I am an old friend of Zakaria and I joined him on his fieldwork in Nepal, together we made “Inside Himalayan Lakes”.

Some of our readers may yet not be familiar with the competition, can you tell us a little more about it and what made you decide to take part in the competition?

A and Z: This competition gave us, as scientists, the opportunity to promote our work and share it to a large audience, broader than our good old scientific community. Making a video is a perfect way to show what our research focuses on and how the environment we study it evolves.

Had you filmed any science videos prior to producing ‘Inside Himalayan Lakes’?

Z: Prior to making “Inside Himalayan Lakes” , I was editing “Pan Tsang”, with Arthur Ancion and Xavier Moucq, two other friends and professional film makers. “Pan Tsang” is a long movie on my first and second field trips to Nepal which tells the story of the human and scientific experience of being part of a long expedition.

A: I had already done some filming during previous fieldwork at an Indonesian volcano. That project was bigger and is still in production, though. I have also completed a master in film writing during my scholarship at the University of Brussels. At that time, I was member of ‘Noyau Mou’, a small association producing short movies.

What inspired you to film your fieldwork and submit the entry to the competition?

Z: We really wanted to share our human and scientific adventure with others. Not only for the outreach aspect of our project but mainly to broadcast our passion.

A: When Zak asked me to join him on his mission to Himalaya, we already knew that we could come back with amazing shots. Then came the idea to make a short clip over the mission itself. It was only a few weeks after we got back from Nepal that we became aware of the Communicate Your Science Competition. After looking at our rushes (unedited footage), we thought that it was possible to make our video fitting for the competition. As we wanted no voice over in the film, we asked Bakthi Mills, a graphic designer friend of ours, to create an animation that could illustrate the core sampling process. As for the rest, we were convinced that the images spoke for themselves.

Meet Zakaria and Arnoud. (Credit: Zakaria Ghazoui)

Meet Zakaria and Arnoud. (Credit: Zakaria Ghazoui)

We can’t go into too much detail here, but how did you go about collecting the footage and turning it into a film?

A: The footage was the most exciting part for us. We had two DSLR cameras, a tripod and an additional GoPro camera. We decided not to bring any microphone as I knew from experience that it is an additional concern that can be difficult to deal with in such an environment.

Z: That was indeed a big challenge during the expedition. Finding the balance between our scientific work and filming as much as we could while being on record. We had plenty of technical problems because of the solar electricity, cold temperatures (-20°C), the humidity, or working on such small boat while we wanted to shoot.

A: Another tricky part was to edit the movie. We had a lot of scenes but the message was not really clear yet. We had to make the movie fit into 3 minutes so it was a kind of inspiring constraint. We decided to make the movie look like the fieldwork in miniature. Then we had the thread that connected our rushes all together.

What’s your top tip for aspiring science filmmakers?

Z: Open your eyes. Feel the environment around you.Take a camera and go.

A: Don’t go too fast, though. My best advice would be to think about your movie, and what you want to say before the footage. Then, once you get a clear and simple message in your mind, start filming. The rest will come with your rushes.

Which part of the filming process did you enjoy the most?

Z: That is a tricky question, shooting is really my passion except when you do not have more battery and you loose the moment you wanted. Editing is really enjoyable but that can be a real nightmare.

A: As the fieldwork was about lakes, it was important to shoot scenes directly from the boat. As we were working on the boat, we had the idea to attach the GoPro directly to the core sampler and the result was amazing. Time-lapse sequences were also nice to capture. We tried a few times in the night and it was actually a really cool way to relax and wash away the stress of the day in the evening.

Would you recommend filmmaking as a way for scientist to reach out to a broad audience?

Z: I think that is one of the best way to reach out to a broad audience but you have to know in advance which audience you want to reach. I think it is really important during the editing process.

A: I believe indeed that it is an excellent way to reach people that you would never reach with classic publication tools. I would even say that it is crucial to use such media to open your research to the public. Somehow, this is part of our moral duty to society and it may awake young people’s interest in becoming researchers.

Would you recommend others taking part in the Communicate your Science Video Competition?

Z: I would warmly recommend to get involve in the Communicate your Science Video Competition. It is a really good introduction and experience for other movie competitions.

A: Go for it! It is an excellent opportunity to encourage you to make the movie you always thought about. Plus, you will have to share it with your friends and family to earn votes. They will love understanding more what you are doing in your research.

Has this interview inspired you to go forth and produce a science video? The Communicate Your Science Video Competition is currently open for submissions.

If you are pre-registered to attend the General Assembly in April, go ahead and produce a video with scenes of you out in the field, or at the lab bench showing how to work out water chemistry; entries can also include cartoons, animations (including stop motion), or music videos, – you name it! To submit your video simply email it to Laura Roberts (networking@egu.eu) by 4 March 2016.

For more information about the competition take a look at this blog post. For inspiration, why not take a look at the finalist videos from the 2014 and 2015 editions?

GeoTalk: Lena Noack, Early Career Scientist Representative

GeoTalk: Lena Noack, Early Career Scientist Representative

In addition to the usual GeoTalk interviews, where we highlight the work and achievements of early career researchers, over the next few months we’ll be introducing the Division early career scientist representatives (ECS). They are responsible for ensuring that the voice of EGU ECS membership is heard. From organising short courses during the General Assembly, through to running Division Blogs and attending regular ECS representative meetings, their tasks in this role are varied. Their role is entirely voluntary and they are all active members of their research community, so we’ll also be touching on their scientific work during the interview.

Today we are talking to Lena Noack , ECS representative for the Planetary and Solar System Sciences (PS) Division and upcoming Union-wide ECS Representative (as of April 2016).

Before we get stuck in, could you introduce yourself and tell us a little more about yourself and your career?

I am currently a post-doc at the Royal Observatory of Belgium. I studied Mathematics in Germany at the Humboldt-University of Berlin, but discovered soon that I would prefer to work in a field that was my hobby for a long time – astrophysics! I found a PhD position at the German Aerospace Center at the Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin, where I could work for four years on the simulation of plate tectonics on Earth-like planets and the general evolution of terrestrial bodies in our Solar System and beyond. My post-doc position in Belgium allows me to pursue this fascinating topic.

Although we touch upon it in the introduction of this post: what does your role as ECS representative involve?

Apart from being the voice of the ECS in my division, for me the task of the ECS representative involves a wide range of other activities, both during the General Assembly and during the whole year. Luckily, my division doesn’t lack enthusiastic PhD students and post-docs, and we organize different events during the EGU and the related EPSC (Earth and Planetary Science Congress) like short courses and competitions, or this year for the first time also a smaller workshop directly dedicated to ECS. We are also responsible for the division’s outreach activities (via the EGU-PS website, the division Facebook page and a twitter account).

Why did you put yourself forward for the role?

My involvement as ECS representative actually started with organising the division’s Outstanding Student Poster award. In this function I started to communicate with other ECS (obtaining also feedback in this way and forwarding it to the PS president). Since I was also interested in different ideas on how to improve the networking between division ECS’s and the division outreach activities, the role of the ECS representative came quite naturally to me.

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What is your vision for the EGU ECS PS community and what do you hope to achieve in the time you hold the position?

Sadly my time as ECS PS representative will come to an end during the next General Assembly (the call for candidates to put themselves forward for the role of PS Division ECS Rep will be opening soon, so keep a look out for that if this is an opportunity you might be interested in!).

Future activities I could imagine include division internal networking events directly at the GA (for example a PS social event in the evening) and more ECS workshops organised outside of the GA. Also as I take on the role of EGU-wide ECS representative in April.

What can your ECS Division members expect from the PS Division in the 2016 General Assembly?
Apart from our usual tasks, including for example a flyer with all important ECS-related activities during the GA, as well as ECS-convened PICO sessions and interesting short courses co-organized with the other divisions, we have a special “bonbon” for the PS division this year. The annual GIFT workshop, bringing teachers to the GA to interact with scientists and for education-related session, will be co-organized in 2016 by the PS division. Under this header, we are organisinge a new contest (SECreT – Scientific Easy Creative Texting), to which every interested scientist can contribute by submitting a short (max 1 page), entertaining, but also informative texts about their research, which will be made available to all GIFT attendants. The contest is of interest to all ECS that want to share their work with non-scientists, and of course there will be awards!

How can those wanting to, get involved with the EGU?

Every ECS related to the PS division is very welcome to get more involved within our division. The easiest way is to get in contact with anyone of the ECS PS group at the GA, or to drop me an e-mail before. Our Facebook page can also be used to contact us, since the page is hosted by the ECS group of the PS division. Also, in 2016 our division is searching for a new ECS representative. If you are interested in that position, best to join the ECS PS group now! To apply as a candidate for the ECS PS representative, you only need to write an e-mail confirming your participation to the PS president Ozgur Karatekin and myself.

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