GeoLog

Vienna

In Vienna for the weekend? Here’s a taste of what’s on offer…

In Vienna for the weekend? Here’s a taste of what’s on offer…

The General Assembly is coming to an end, with only one full day left to go. Many of the participants will make their way home over the weekend, but if you’ve chosen to stay on for a little longer, then this list of cultural activities and things to do in Vienna might just be the ticket!

Electric Spring Festival 2015

A fantastic, free, open-air music festival is taking place in Vienna’s Museumsquartier tonight (Thursday and Friday). Come and enjoy a vibrant mix of electronic music and dance away your end of EGU blues. http://www.wien.info/de/musik-buehne/rock-pop-jazz/electronic-music/electric-spring

Rear of the opera house, showing the stage wings. (Credit: Markus Leupold-Löwenthal, distributed by Wikimedia Commons).

Rear of the opera house, showing the stage wings. (Credit: Markus Leupold-Löwenthal, distributed by Wikimedia Commons).

Opera for All

This event takes great performances out of the opera house and into the open square. This Saturday, you can experience L’Italiana in Algeri for free. The performance starts at 19:00, make sure you’re at the Staatsoper early to get a seat!

http://www.wien.info/en/music-stage-shows/opera-operetta/open-air-opera

Chocolate Emporium

After your busy week at EGU, treat yourselves to something sweet at chocolate emporium Xocolat, a boutique and workshop where you can watch chocolatiers at work and even try your hand at making chocolate yourself! Situated in the 9th district, beneath the stone arches of the Ferstel passage, Xocolat offers the creations of Catalan chocolatier Enric Rovira, Californian Scharffen Berger and Austrian brand Zotter. http://www.xocolat.at/de/

Vienna Residence Orchestra

Spend an evening in Vienna’s most beautiful palaces this week to unwind after your week at EGU. Wiener Residenzorchester, or the Vienna Residence Orchestra, are a chamber orchestra with a long

tradition of playing Viennese classics in Vienna’s most beautiful palaces. The enchanting sounds of the orchestra, accompanied by opera singers and ballet dances will take you on a  journey through Imperial Vienna. http://www.wro.at/vienna-classics/

Eclectic flea market

From buckets of tulips to pickles, wines and plump, and purple-flushed figs, you can find it all at the Naschmarkt. Saturday can be busy, so a early start it best!

http://www.wien-konkret.at/einkaufen/naschmarkt/

Location: 4, Linke und Rechte Wienzeile. U1, U2, U4 Karlsplatz.

Get a view of Vienna

It may be cliche, but no trip to Vienna is complete without a ride on the 19th-century Riesenrad or giant ferris wheel. It’s the only remaining work of British engineer Walter Basset who also built wheels for Blackpool, London and Paris.

http://www.wienerriesenrad.com/de

We hope you enjoy what is left of the conference and that you have a fabulous time in Vienna!

Riesenrad  ferris wheel. Credit: Maatex, distributed via Wikimediacommons)

Riesenrad ferris wheel. (Credit: Maatex, distributed via Wikimediacommons)

 

By the  EGU Press Team  (Nikita Marwaha, Sara Mynott and Stephanie McClellan)

GIFT at the Assembly: Mineral Resources

GIFT at the Assembly: Mineral Resources

The EGU’s Geosciences Information for Teachers (GIFT) programme offers teachers attending the conference the opportunity to hone their Earth science skills. The General Assembly workshop is one of GIFT’s most important activities of the year, combining talks on current research with hands-on activities presented by educators. What’s more, scientists can also come to the sessions – here’s what’s in store…

The theme of this year’s GIFT workshop (EOS1) is Mineral Resources – the event will explore one of the most important challenges faced by modern society: access to raw materials, including base and strategic minerals, in a rapidly developing and growing world. Featuring talks by leading scientists in the field, the workshop will kick off with a discussion on raw materials and their sustainability in the 21st century (at 8:45 in Room G10). This is followed by two great talks on where do minerals come from and how they get there, by Laurence Robb of the University of Oxford, after which you can learn about the role of inorganic chemistry in the formation of ore deposits at the hands of Kliti Grice from Curtin University, Australia. This is just a taster, though – you can find out more about the workshop here.

Where is the EGU General Assembly?

The General Assembly is almost here. Presentations are (hopefully!) complete, posters are printed, bags are packed and all you need to do is get to the conference…

The Austria Center Vienna (ACV), the Assembly venue, is not far from the city centre and can easily be reached from the airport and central train station. You can get there via the U1, the red line in the underground map below:

The ACV is located next to the Kaisermühlen/Vienna Int. Centre metro station (click for larger).

The ACV is located next to the Kaisermühlen/Vienna Int. Centre metro station (click for larger).

The ACV is located next to the Kaisermühlen/Vienna Int. Centre (VIC) U-Bahn station (take the U1 towards Leopoldau if you’re coming from the city centre). Wiener Linien, Vienna’s public transport agency, provides a journey planner on their website, including information about getting to the city centre from the airport by train.

regular bus service connects the airport with the conference centre too. Bus 1183 stops just outside the ACV (Wien Kaisermühlen VIC – Wagramer Straße). Further travel information – including about where to find taxis at the airport – can also be found on the airport’s website.

Once you’re in, you can navigate your way to your first session of the day using these maps of the Austria Center!

The ground floor of the Austria Center Vienna.

The ground floor of the Austria Center Vienna.

 

The EGU General Assembly is taking place in Vienna, Austria from 12 to 17 April. Check out the full session programme on the General Assembly website. 

GeoEd: Lessons from the EGU 2014 GIFT Workshop

Today’s GeoEd post is brought to you by Susan Tate, an 8th grade teacher from Michigan in the USA. Susan attended the GIFT workshop held during the General Assembly last year.  The GIFT programme offers primary school to high school teachers the opportunity to upgrade their knowledge in geophysical themes and to shorten the time between new discoveries and textbook information. After three days supercharging her geosciences knowledge at the 2014 conference, Susan shares her perspective on the GIFT workshops.

What do you get when you combine a three-day Earth science workshop, world-renowned scientists, inspirational fellow teacher-participants, and one of the most beautiful, historical and culturally-rich cities in Europe? Answer: an opportunity of a lifetime for this small town Midwestern teacher, who had never even traveled to Europe before.

As a recipient of the William Goree Award for 2014, I would be experiencing the European Geosciences Union GIFT (Geosciences Information For Teachers) workshop in Vienna, Austria, fully funded by 2G-Enterprises (the company founded by the late William Goree and William Goodman), EDUGEA (an educational association in France), and EGU. I learned of the EGU GIFT workshop and the scholarship opportunity from an announcement in a NESTA newsletter in November of 2013. When I asked my principal for permission to apply—as I would be missing four days of school if selected—I told him that it was definitely a long-shot, but it would be a dream come true to attend. Imagine my excitement when I got an email in mid-December notifying me that I was to receive the Goree Award!

I spent the next few months preparing for my late April trip, and at the recommendation of Dr. Carlo Laj, chairman of the EGU Committee on Education, and Dr. Stephen Macko, a professor at the University of Virginia who serves on the committee, I was in frequent contact with Abigail Morton, a Pennsylvania teacher who had received the Goree Award the previous year. Armed with insider knowledge, abundant excitement to see the beautiful city of Vienna, and growing curiosity about the workshop speakers and participants, I stepped off the plane early on the morning of Sunday, April 27th ready to soak it all in.

Susan at the Rocks of the Earth exhibition at European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2014. (Credit: Susan Tate)

Susan at the Rocks of the Earth exhibition at European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2014. (Credit: Susan Tate)

The program began with a pre-workshop reception and guided tour of the Vienna Museum of Natural History. This museum, celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, is located in the heart of the historic section of the city. As I wandered through the astounding collection of rocks, minerals, and fossils, Dr. Macko informed me that the museum houses the oldest and largest public collection of meteorites in the world! At the museum I met the other American teachers in attendance, including four Einstein fellows who were working with NSF and NOAA. The conference had not yet officially begun and I knew I was going to be inspired as much by my fellow teacher-participants as by the program speakers.

The theme of the 12th annual EGU GIFT workshop was “Our Changing Planet” with an emphasis on climate, and on the first official morning of the conference we got right to business with an engaging talk by Thomas Stocker, IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Working Group 1 Co-Chair, from the University of Bern, Switzerland. Dr. Stocker highlighted the process of the IPCC working groups, the wealth of data supporting anthropogenic climate change, and the serious risks that we face if we do not act to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. This compelling presentation was followed by a talk from Valerie Masson-Delmotte about climate information that can be obtained from ice cores, and hands-on activities from Sally Soria-Dengg and Francesca Ugolini.

I found the experiments on ocean acidification and the role of the ocean in the carbon cycle, demonstrated by Dr. Soria-Dengg, to be very engaging and enlightening, and I cannot wait to use those in my Earth science classes this year as we study the connections between climate and oceans. I especially enjoyed the demonstration of ocean acidification using a glass bowl filled with distilled water and an indicator solution. Lighted floating candles are placed on the water’s surface and then covered with a second glass bowl to make a chamber. As the burning candles release carbon dioxide, the surface water in contact with the air turns yellow, which indicates acidification. This visual demonstration will clearly illustrate for my students how ocean water can become acidic as it absorbs increasing amounts of CO2 from our atmosphere.

Day 2 of the GIFT workshop dawned bright, and all of the teachers were ready to learn more about the evidence for human impact on our climate system. One of the challenges for teachers concerning this topic, especially in the United States where it is fraught with political tension and argument, is presenting the scientific data in a way that is clear, concise, and allows students to connect the dots without forcing conclusions on them. Frequently during the workshop the mood in the room would turn quiet and somber as all of the teachers grasped the sheer amount of scientific evidence for anthropogenic climate change. We learned of evidence from ice cores, ocean chemistry and expansion, sea ice melt, agricultural change, and satellite observations. By the afternoon of the second day, we were ready to lighten the mood with a game called The Carbon Caper. I can definitely see my middle school students getting involved in a game that simulates carbon movement between various sources and sinks by throwing plastic balls into mesh bins. The best kind of learning for many of us is the kind in which we feel like we are playing instead of learning.

Tuesday’s program was shortened to allow us to get ready for the evening’s poster session. Since the GIFT workshop was part of the EGU General Assembly, there were literally thousands of posters being presented during the conference. It was quite overwhelming to even find the section where I was supposed to hang my own poster, which was on water quality research conducted by my students on our local watershed. Thankfully, Dr. Eve Arnold, also a member of the EGU Education Committee, had prepared us well for the event, and we followed a schedule that allowed us to spend some time at our own poster answering questions, and equal time interacting with other teachers and their posters. I was able to get many good ideas for my classroom from other GIFT participants.

On the final day of the workshop, we heard from Dr. Larry Mayer, Director of the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering, Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire, as he discussed his experiences with recent changes in Arctic ice cover. Dr. Mayer entertained us with tales from his voyages mapping sea ice in the Arctic, as well as cautioned us about the implications of diminishing sea ice on both our climate system and our geopolitical system. According to Dr. Mayer, the five coastal nations that border the Arctic—Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia, and the United States—have all engaged in extensive seafloor mapping in the last decade in order to establish their sovereign rights over the resources of the seafloor under the Law of the Sea Treaty. This presentation was very interesting and provided us with great resources to make interdisciplinary connections between science and social studies.

An additional highlight on the final day of the conference was the opportunity for the U.S. teachers to visit a school in Vienna. Claudia Pollach and her administrators at AHS Heustadelgasse were very gracious to open the doors of their school to us. We enjoyed learning more about the education system of Vienna, and the environmentally sustainable design of Ms. Pollach’s school.

I am incredibly grateful that I was able to attend the EGU GIFT workshop last spring with the assistance of the William Goree Award. This opportunity was definitely responsible for expanding my scientific background, which is the purpose of the award. Since returning from Vienna, I have included details of my experience in a presentation at the Michigan Science Teachers Association conference, as well as worked with several extracurricular student groups on climate-related projects. In the next month, I will be teaching units on climate and oceans, and I am excited about incorporating the hands-on lessons that I learned from the GIFT workshop. I owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Carlo Laj (Chairman of the EGU Committee on Education and founder and President of EDUGEA), Lauren Keaton (William Goree’s daughter), and William Goodman (2G Enterprises) for selecting me for this award and for fostering such high-quality teacher professional development.

By Susan Tate, 8th Grade Earth Science Teacher, Whitehall Middle School, Michigan

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