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Geodynamics

Conferences

Postcard from Tokyo: JpGU2018 conference

Postcard from Tokyo: JpGU2018 conference

Konichiwa from Tokyo and JpGU2018!

This week, 20-24 May, the Japanese Geoscience Union (JpGU) is holding its annual union meeting just outside of Tokyo, in Chiba (about 40 minutes by metro). I am fortunate enough to be on a research visit to the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) at Tokyo Tech over on the other side of the city and so attending JpGU was a bonus. It is my first time in attendance and I was very interested to see the program and thematics, and meet some of the wider Japanese geoscience community.

 

JpGU poster and exhibitor hall

 

Being a national body there is naturally a focus on Japanese geoscience specialties and interests. Japanese language also featured heavily – at abstract the author selects which language the presentation will be in, as sessions can be English and/or Japanese – and attendees were notified in advance based on the final program’s language code. Last year there were over 8000 participants and 5,600 presentations, and the meeting is comprised of oral plus poster, and poster-only sessions. The meeting encompasses “all the Earth and Planetary Sciences disciplines and related fields” and would include Geodynamics under the “Solid Earth” section. Within this section there were 15 sessions (all in English), including Planetary cores: Structure, formation, and evolution; Probing the Earth’s interior with geophysical observation and on seafloor; Structure and Dynamics of Earth and Planetary Mantles; and Oceanic and Continental Subduction Processes, to name a few.

As with the EGU General Assembly, it is a five-day conference but notably shifted to run from Sunday to Thursday. While it was at the cost of a Sunday sleep-in, the weekend start meant that high school students were able to attend and even present their own posters. Some of the union sessions were also open to the public free of charge (so no doubt an unexpected windfall for some of the people at what seemed to be a furniture and toy convention next door). The week also included an awards ceremony, including the JpGU Union level “Miyake Prize” which was awarded to Professor Eiji Ohtani from Tohoku University. For the early career attendees, there were 5 minute pop-up bar talks for ECRs under 35 years of age with the lure of a free t-shirt and a beverage, as well as a student lounge.

 

JpGU2018 awardees and new Fellows

 

There were quite a few outreach and skill-building sessions, including “Mental care and Communication Strategies for Researchers”, “Kitchen Earth Science: brain stimulation by hands-on experiments,” “Role of Open Data and Science in the Geosciences,” “Employment and work balance of female geoscientists in Japan”  and an exciting “Collaboration and Co-creation between Geoscience and Art.” There were also a number of exhibitors including our very own Philippe Courtial, Executive Secretary of EGU who was a panel speaker in the AGU/EGU/JpGU joint session “Ethics and the Role of Scientific Societies – Leadership Perspectives”. I also found out there is a relatively new open-access journal for JpGU called Progress in Earth and Planetary Science (PEPS) (note, 1000 EUR APC for non-JpGU members or 200 EUR for members).

 

Left: NASA hyperwall and presentation to high school students. Right: Philippe Courtial at the EGU booth

Science aside, my visit to Japan has been a multi-sensory delight and can only recommend coming back here in a scientific and/or tourist capacity! If you would like to combine your own travels with the next JpGU, the dates are:

  • May 26-30 2019, Chiba
  • May 24-28 2020, Chiba
  • May 30-June 3 2021, Yokohama

ありがとうございます!

Plenty of fabulous sights, sounds and smells!

 

 

 

 

 

EGU 2018: Experience of a first time attendee

EGU 2018: Experience of a first time attendee

Your first time at the General Assembly can be a daunting experience. It’s not easy to navigate the scientific programme and let’s not even mention navigating the building! It becomes even more difficult if you do not know many people in your scientific community yet. Luckily, one of the easiest things to do at EGU is meeting new people. Jyotirmoy Paul, PhD student at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India, shares his experience of attending the EGU GA for the first time this year.

I am a geologist, but I am (slowly) turning into a geodynamicist. My research area is numerical modelling of geodynamical problems. I simulate 3-dimensional models of the spherical earth by solving thermo-chemical convection equations. My present work aims to understand the long-term stability of cratons. The stability of cratons since the Archaean is a hot topic in the geosciences community as it can potentially throw light on some of the key features of Archaean geodynamics. Several studies have already addressed this problem. I had the great opportunity of presenting parts of my work and discussing science with the international community at a large gathering such as the EGU GA. With a lot of different opinions on craton stability, I was able to add some more confusion into the mix! It was nice that I got helpful suggestions and constructive criticism about my research, which was much needed. Apart from discussing with the established scientists, it was really great to talk to my fellow student researchers and have dinner with them. Unfortunately, I was not aware of this ECS GD community before attending EGU, so I missed some of the important courses. I hope to meet the community again during another conference, maybe at AGU 2018!

Apart from helpful scientific discussions, the whole atmosphere at EGU was new to me. This was my first large-scale international conference, so – naturally – I was overwhelmed to meet the pioneers of geosciences. I interacted with those very people whose ideas had influenced my thought processes throughout my student life. Talking and listening to them was intriguing and I developed many new ideas that I will be able to use throughout my career. Besides that – in the multi-cultural environment of the General Assembly – I was representing a minority community from the largest democracy in the world (as it is called): the community of geodynamics researchers in India! The number of geodynamics researchers in India is tiny and may not even reach two digits. The sudden change from a pond to the ocean was overwhelming, intriguing, and terrifying. Phew!

A blog post about my experience at EGU would be incomplete if I didn’t mention Vienna. The beautiful city has witnessed several turning points in world history. As an art history lover, roaming around the city was bliss. The mosaics of Stephansplatz, the medieval baroque architecture of the Habsburg dynasty and the modern city on the left bank of Danube transported me back in time through Europe’s history. Gustav Klimt, the famous Austrian painter, lived in Vienna exactly 100 years ago. His major works are showcased in the Belvedere museum. Despite the tight schedule of EGU from morning to evening, I managed to find one free slot to visit his gallery at Belvedere. I could not leave Vienna without seeing “The Kiss”!

The Kiss, Gustav Klimt
Credit: Jyotirmoy Paul

EGU 2018: convening a session

EGU 2018: convening a session

The European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly 2018 took place in Vienna, Austria, from 8–13 April 2018 and brought together geoscientists from all over the world to one meeting covering all disciplines of the Earth, planetary and space sciences.

If you are an early career research, convening a session at the EGU General Assembly can seem intimidating, especially if you are a first-time convener. However, continued education and keeping up with academic trends is a key focus at EGU General Assembly. After a short discussion with Susanne Buiter — chair of the EGU Programme Committee — I had the opportunity of convening a session for the first time.

Initially, the session programme defined how the EGU General Assembly was organised. It consisted of sessions representing all programme groups of each Division. From there, a skeleton programme was created, based on the programme of previous years, so that each Division had a few sessions in it to kick things off. When the call for sessions was open – usually over the summer preceding the conference – I suggested a new session, by proposing a title, someone to co-convene the session and providing a session description. Once the call closed, the president of each Division evaluated the proposed sessions and decided if they should be included in the programme. They might also suggest modifications to skeleton sessions. Specifically, I indicated that I’d like my session to be co-organised with another Division. My request for a cross Division collaboration was accepted by all relevant chairs.

Meeting point at EGU

Overall, I was impressed by the fact that the EGU General Assembly continues to grow. In 2018, more than 15,000 scientists from over 100 countries participated in it. More than half of these were under the age of 35. But more importantly, the Geodynamic Division (GD) made an impact at the event not just through posters and presentations. There was ample evidence that the Division output continues to be held in very high regard by other scientists.

For me, convening a session at EGU was an important task in bringing people together for networking, starting new projects, and discussing new ideas. And I would like to continue to contribute to making that possible even in the future. The key ingredients are an idea for a session, a couple of co-conveners and a good session description.

The EGU General Assembly serves the geosciences community, through enabling networking, discussions and information sharing. Also, I believe that the meeting is very important for outreach and education as well, through short courses for examples, which are for all participants.

Meeting, mentoring and awards at EGU18

Meeting, mentoring and awards at EGU18

Having just about recovered from the session-packed, networking-fest, coffee-filled, schnitzel-test that was EGU2018 (8-13th April, Vienna), it is now possible to reflect and look towards upcoming dates. Earlier posts in the blog have described some of the GD side event highlights. For this week’s post, I have summarised some key points from the GD Division meeting, the EGU Mentoring program, and the upcoming EGU award nominations.

Geodynamics (GD) Division Meeting

During the Friday lunchtime break GD President Paul Tackley (ETH Zürich) led the session about GD activities and statistics to an eager audience of around 50 attendees. Within the 19 GD-led sessions for EGU2018 there were 481 abstracts (adding co-organized sessions raised this to ~1450 abstracts). As in previous years, the structure of EGU, and meeting fun facts were delivered – this year there were over 15.000 attendees, 17.000 abstracts in the programme, 666 unique sessions and 68 short courses. New to this year’s conference, there was a Cartoonist and Poet-in-residence, re-usable water bottles, and CO2 emission offset initiative.

A portion of the lunchtime meeting was dedicated to discussing the time and space constraints associated with increasing attendance and presentations at the GA. Many rooms are already overcrowded and maximum poster capacity is expected to be reached within the next 2 years (this year 8% of GA presentations were PICOs, 64% posters and 28% orals). As extra space in the Austria Centre Vienna is not a possibility, several ideas were put forward by EGU including increasing the GA from 5 to 6 days, limiting to 1 abstract per person (2 if invited), increasing oral times from 6-8 hours per day, holding different posters in morning and afternoon, and shorter talks (12 minutes). Several audience members expressed opinions regarding the proposed changes, and the audience seemed in favour of more overall oral time-slots but not shorter talks, or moving to a 6 day conference. We shall see what is implemented but there are at least new set of rules for 2019:

Apart from the consumption of free sandwiches, audience arms were put to use when voting for Division Officers (van Hunen, Artemieva, Biggin, Bunge, Karato) and the Medal Committee (Houseman, Parmentier, Parsons, Phipps Morgan) – all approved.

For the GD ECS specifics, we will welcome the new GD Early Career Scientist (ECS) Representative Nicholas Schliffke (U. Durham), as Adina Pusok (UC San Diego) steps into a co-representative position for the next year. Our blog activities over the last year were also presented by our enthusiastic Editor-In-Chief Iris van Zelst (ETH, Zürich). As always, we encourage more ECR members to get in touch with us to be a guest writer.

Some important EGU2019 dates for your calendar:

25 June-13 September 2018
Public call-for-sessions
(the rolling over of sessions will not occur – join forces with your colleagues!)

15 October 2018 – 10 Jan 2019
Abstract submission

7-12 April 2019
EGU2019, Vienna

EGU GD Awards

The Meeting also highlighted the Division’s 2018 award recipients, Edgar Marc Parmentier and Thibault Duretz, which we here congratulate again:

The GD Outstanding Poster/PICO (OSPP) for 2017 was awarded to Ludovic Räss for his poster “M2Di: MATLAB 2D Stokes solvers using the finite difference method.”

In particular, please note the upcoming deadline for award nominations for 2019 on the 15th June.
We encourage you to put forward your colleagues for nominations for both categories! You can read more about the awards and nomination process here.

And with only a single female winner of the GD Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award (<7 years from highest degree; no age limitation), and none for the Augustus Love Medal, I am sure you do not have to look far for worthy candidate(s) to help improve the gender balance of these awards.

Mentoring program – we need you!

In its second year running, EGU organized a mentoring program during the conference. This year the program received double the number of registrations from 2017. The aim is to connect mentors – those who are EGU veterans in terms of multiple attendances – with mentees, prioritized to early-career participants (Masters and PhDs) who are first-time attendees. Matching was primarily based on division affiliations or research keywords, but as there are 22 divisions and over 50 identified research interests, interdisciplinary matches were commonplace.

This year from GD specifically there were 3 mentors and 2 mentees signing up – as EGU Media and Communications Officer Barbara Ferreira said “a rare (and positive) case of more mentors than mentees registering for the programme”. These 3 mentors were eventually matched with 6 mentees. However, across the board around 75 mentees had to be rejected because of insufficient mentors available.

So, if you have attended numerous EGU GAs and know the lay of the land, please do sign up next year! I can highly recommend being a mentor; to sit down for a coffee and a chat is really not taxing and is a good opportunity to meet new faces in your division and from further afield.

 

Tschüss – see you in Vienna next year.

Editorial thanks to GD President Paul Tackley and EGU Media and Communications Officer Bárbara Ferreira (@dinnerpartysci) for summary slides for the GD Meeting and Mentoring programs, respectively. Cheers again to the EGU organizers for a fantastic meeting.