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Arts and culture at EGU 2018

Arts and culture at EGU 2018

As well as a stimulating scientific programme (remember the call-for-abstracts is currently open!), the upcoming General Assembly will also feature exciting cultural activities. Read on for a whistle-stop tour of what to expect, and of course, stay tuned to our social media channels, and follow the official hashtag (#EGU18) for more information on the run-up to the conference.

A poet in residence

You might ask: what on Earth does poetry have to do with science?

Sam Illingworth – Science Communication Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University – is a firm believer that “poetry can be a very effective tool in communicating science to a broader audience, and can even help to enhance the long-term retention of scientific content.”

Since the 2016 edition of the meeting, along with a team of collaborators, Sam has organised the ever-popular ‘Rhyme Your Research’ short course, as well as poetry clinics at the Early Career Scientist Lounge and hosted the EGU Poetry slam (which takes place at the Conveners Reception).

Sam’s efforts to inspire others to take up poetry as a means of communicating their research, as well as his back catalogue of, frankly, brilliant science poems, mean he’ll be the poet in residence at EGU 2018. In this new role, as well as the activities he’s run in the past, Sam will turn some of the research presented during the conference into science poems.

“I am looking forward to the GA, because it is the scientific highlight of every year for me, and because this year I will be able to write even more poetry about the science that I love!” says Sam.

Read on for a taste of what to expect from Sam at EGU 2018:

What is a geoscientist?

We listen to the sounds of hidden lines,

And use them to look back to distant times.

We weigh the Earth to every grain of sand,

And use them to define where we now stand.

We model waves across the air and sea,

And use them to infer what might then be.

We search for answers to how we exist,

That is what makes a geoscientist.

 

Cartoons, cartoons everywhere

Words aren’t for everyone; some, have a much more visual memory, and, if you throw in a little humour in the mix too, then understanding complex science can become so much easier! That is precisely what Matthew Partridge (aka. ErrantScience) is an expert at.

At EGU 2017, Matthew set himself the challenge of keeping a daily diary of his time at the conference. As if that weren’t a tall enough order, the posts featured not only a witty take on his time in Vienna, but also cartoons!

In 2018 we’ve invited Matthew back, but this time, not to document his own conference experience, but rather to bring some of the science presented in the poster halls and presentation rooms to life.

The art (and science) of sound

When conducting research, Earth scientists rely most on what they see and can touch in the environment around them. Less often, sound might come into play too. But what if it could play a bigger part?

Antonio Menghini, a geophysicitst and Stefano Pontani, founders of EMusic (ElectroMagnetic Music) have taken that thought one step further. What if sound could not only play a part in research but turn complex, difficult to grasp electromagnetic data, into beautiful music which brings the science closer to all, not just researchers? What if we could capture the sound of Earth?

Well, at EGU 2018 you’ll be able to find out! Antonio and Stefano are due to perform “Sounds from the Geology of Italy”, during which they’ll play EMusic drawn from electromagnetic data collected in 4 beautiful scenarios: the Phlegrean Fields, Venice Lagoon, Selinunte Temple and Castelluccio Plain. Stefano will be on guitar and loops, while Riccardo Marini will focus on electronics and Marco Guidolotti will play the saxophone.

It promises to be a musical bonanza – absolutely not to be missed!

This is an excerpt of an EMusic show performed in an Ancient Roman Theater the last summer, with a similar musical format:.

Arts and culture in the scientific programme

As well as these Union-wide initiatives, the proposed conference programme of is packed with sessions and short courses which explore the relationship between art and science. If this is a topic which you feel passionately about, or would like to contribute more to, consider submitting an abstract to these sessions or attend the workshops:

·       EOS8: Scientists, artists and the Earth: co-operating for a better planet sustainability

·       EOS9: A pilot-platform for performing your Earth&Art work

·       SC2.5: How to cartoon science

·       While not strictly art, this session seeks contributions on how make large data sets visually appealing, ESSI4.1: State of the Art in Earth Science Data Visualization

This list is not comprehensive, please explore the programme for other similar sessions.

EGU 2018 will take place from 08 to 13 April 2017 in Vienna, Austria. For more information on the General Assembly, see the EGU 2018 website and follow us on Twitter (#EGU18 is the official conference hashtag) and Facebook.

Laura Roberts-Artal
Laura Roberts Artal is the Marketing Manager at PDS Ava (part of PDS Group) and Associate Director of Communications for Geology for Global Development. Laura was the Communications Officer at the European Geosciences Union from the summer of 2014 to the end of 2017. Laura is a geologist by training and holds a PhD in palaeomagnetism from the University of Liverpool. She tweets at @LauRob85.

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