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A young participant’s experience at the 2018 General Assembly: So much to discover!

A young participant’s experience at the 2018 General Assembly: So much to discover!

Today we welcome probably one of the youngest participants who attended the 2018 General Assembly, Pariphat Promduangsri, a 16-year-old science baccalaureate student at Auguste Renoir high school in Cagnes-sur-mer, France, as our guest blogger. With a deep interest in the natural world and in taking care of the environment, Pariphat was a keen participant at the conference. She gave both oral and poster presentations in sessions on Geoscience Games and on Geoethics. She enjoyed particularly the sessions on education and geoscience.

The 2018 EGU conference in April was my first time attending the General Assembly; it was the biggest gathering that I have ever been to, and I think that I was most likely one of the youngest participants ever at the EGU General Assembly.  Last year, my sister, Pimnutcha, went to the 2017 General Assembly with our stepfather, David Crookall.  When she got home, she told me how exciting and interesting the conference was.  She also wrote a blog post for GeoLog about her experience.

This year, it was my chance to attend this conference.  However, the dates were still in the school term time, so I asked my high school teachers and director if they would let me be absent from school.  They agreed, and told me that it would be a great opportunity to learn many things.

My stepfather and I arrived in Vienna on the Saturday before the conference; it was not as cold as I thought it would be.  On Sunday, we went to a pre-conference workshop titled ‘Communicating your research to teachers, schools and the public – interactively’ organized by Eileen van der Flier-Keller and Chris King. It was very interesting.  They helped us to think more clearly about aspects of teaching geoscience and how pupils can learn more effectively.

So began an enriching and wonderful week.  We attended many oral and poster sessions.

During the conference, I had the opportunity to participate in two different sessions, giving two presentations in each – one oral and three poster presentations in all.

David and I doing the oral presentation (Credit: Pariphat and David Crookall)

The first session that I attended was Games for geoscience (EOS17), convened by Christopher Skinner, Sam Illingworth and Rolf Hut.  Here I did one oral presentation and one ready-to-play poster.  This session was the very first one on the topic of geoscience games at the General Assembly, and I was lucky to be part of this momentous event.  Our oral presentation was called ‘Learning from geoscience games through debriefing’.  I did the introduction and some passages in the middle, with the rest done by David.  The main idea of our presentation was to emphasize how we may learn more effectively from games by debriefing properly; it is during the debriefing that the real learning starts. As David says, “the learning starts when the game stops”.

For our poster, ‘Global warming causes and consequences: A poster game+debriefing,’ people were invited to play our GWCC game.  We asked people to participate by drawing lines linking global warming to its causes and effects.  I had a great time talking with some dozen people who came to visit and play.

Left: David and I in front of the poster. Right: Explaining to Marie Piazza how to play the GWCC game. (Credit: Pariphat and David Crookall)

The Geoscience Games Night was organized by the conveners of Games for Geoscience.  Many people brought games of all kinds to share and play, and even more people came to play.  The atmosphere was one of enjoyment, socializing and learning.  I played a game about the water cycle, based on the well-known board game Snakes and Ladders.  It was an exciting time.  At the end of the session, Sam Illingworth came to tell me that earlier in the day I did a great job for the oral presentation.  I felt really happy about his compliment.

Pictures of me playing games in the Geoscience Games Night session. (Credit: Pariphat and David Crookall)

The second session was titled Geoethics: Ethical, social and cultural implications of geoscience knowledge, education, communication, research and practice (EOS4), convened by Silvia Peppoloni, Nic Bilham, Giuseppe Di Capua, Martin Bohle, and Eduardo Marone.  In this session, we presented two interactive posters.  One was called ‘Learning geoethics: A ready-to-play poster’.  This was a game where people are invited to work together in a small group.  The game is in five steps:

  1. Individuals are given a hand of 12 cards each representing an environmental value. Here are four examples of values cards:
    • Water (including waterways, seas) should have similar rights as humans, implying protection by law.
    • Water quality must be protected and guaranteed by all people living in the same watershed. Water polluters should be punished.
    • All people with community responsibility (politicians, mayors, directors, managers, etc) must pass tests for basic geosciences (esp climate science) and geoethics.
    • Families and schools have an ethical and legal obligation to promote respect for others, for the environment, for health, for well-being and for equitable prosperity.
  2. Individually, they then select six of the 12 cards based on importance, urgency, etc.;
  3. Then, in small groups of three participants, they discuss their individually-selected choices from step 2.  Collectively, they achieve consensus and choose only six cards for the group;
  4. The group then continues to reach a consensus in a rank ordering of the six cards;
  5. Debriefing about (a) the values and (b) the group process using consensus.

 

The second poster was titled ‘Geo-edu-ethics: Learning ethics for the Earth’.  In this interactive poster, we asked participants to contribute their ideas for geoethics in education, or as we call it, geo-edu-ethics.  We received excellent feedback from viewers and contributors to this poster.

Participants contributing their ideas to our poster. (Credit: Pariphat and David Crookall)

We must make geoethics a central part of education because it is crucial for future generations.  Indeed our Geo-edu-ethics poster stated, “we need people to learn, and grow up learning, about what is right and wrong in regard to each aspect of our personal earth citizen lives.  That needs nothing short of a recast in educational practice for all educational communities (schools, universities, ministries, NGOs) across the globe.  It is doable, but it is urgent”.

Also, we must all realize that “education is inconceivable without ethics.  Geo-education is impossible without geoethics… Geo-conferences (including the EGU) include ever greater numbers of sessions related to experiential learning.  Experiential learning is at the heart of much in the geo-sciences.  An already large number of simulation/games exist on a wide variety of topics in geoethics,” (extract from Learning Geoethics poster).

This explains why a conference like the General Assembly is so important.  We can learn from the enriching experience provided by the conference itself, and also learn about opportunities for experiences in the field.

During the week, I went to many different sessions; I met many new people, all of whom who were friendly and down-to-earth (so to speak!).  It was a pleasure to be part of the General Assembly and it is also a good opening to the professional world.  The EGU allowed me to discover many great things about several fields in the geosciences and about the Earth.  It was indeed an exciting time!

I would like to thank Silvia Peppoloni, Giuseppe Di Capua and their fellow co-conveners from the International Association for Promoting Geoethics and the Geological Society of London; I admire the work that they are doing.  I enjoyed the evening meal with everybody at the Augustinerkeller Bitzinger in the beautiful city night of Vienna.  I also wish to thank Christopher Skinner, Rolf Hut and Sam Illingworth, co-conveners of the Games for Geoscience session.  They gave a wonderful opportunity to be part of their sessions and to learn more.

I also thank my high school teachers for letting me be learn outside school and in a professional setting.

I hope to see more pupils at the EGU! Please join me on LinkedIn.

by Pariphat Promduangsri

Pariphat Promduangsri is a 16-year-old science baccalaureate student at Auguste Renoir high school in Cagnes-sur-mer, France. Her native country is Thailand. She has lived in France for over four years. She speaks English, French, Italian and Thai. When she is not studying or climbing mountains (she has already done most of the Tour du Mont Blanc), she likes playing the piano. Later she will probably persue a career taking care of the environment and the Earth.

 

Introducing EGU’s new Communications Officer!

Introducing EGU’s new Communications Officer!

Meet the newest member of EGU’s communications team, Olivia Trani! Olivia joined the EGU office in February and since then has been managing GeoLog and the EGU blog network, running our social media channels, and developing EGU networking activities for early career scientists.

Hello from the EGU Executive Office! I have been working as the new EGU Communications Officer for the past few months (you may have seen me at the 2018 General Assembly), but I would like to take the time to officially introduce myself.

I am originally from the United States where I completed my bachelor’s in Biology and Environmental Science at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. As an undergraduate, I had many great research experiences, such as studying crabs and terrapins by canoe in the swamps of Virginia, hunting for American chestnuts in Maine’s hardwood forests, and examining microscopic fungi in the lab.

I then obtained a master’s in Science Journalism from Boston University, and following graduation, I had the opportunity to intern as a science writer for both Inside Science and the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in Washington D.C.

A couple of months ago, I jumped over the Atlantic to join the EGU office team in Munich, and since then I have been managing EGU’s network of blogs and social media channels as well as organising initiatives for early career scientists. I also organised events geared towards science communication and early career scientists at the 2018 General Assembly. To do all this, I’ve been working closely with the EGU Media and Communications Manager, Bárbara Ferreira, and the EGU’s dedicated team of early career scientist representatives. I am very excited to continue sharing science here at the EGU office and collaborate with the EGU community!

Feel free to contact me at networking@egu.eu if you have any questions about EGU’s communication outlets or our early career scientist network. I look forward to hearing from you!

The Assembly documented through art!

The Assembly documented through art!

For the first time, the General Assembly will be documented by EGU’s very own artists in residence! Sam Illingworth, Science Communication Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University (UK), and Matthew Partridge, Senior Research Fellow at Southampton University (UK), have been busy this week producing poems and cartoons to share their conference experiences and communicate science. Why not take a break from the scientific sessions and enjoy the Assembly through a more artistic medium with this collection of poems and cartoons. This page will be updated with more of Sam and Matthew’s work as the week progresses.

Sunday:

A Lesson in Pico by Sam Illingworth

 

Presenting your work

In two minutes of madness

Challenges some and

Overwhelms others.

 

People try to explain every

Iota of detail and so they

Clean forget that it should be an

Overview or even better, a hook.

 

Persuade the audience;

Imbibe your short time with

Clear words and

Original illustrations.

 

Project and annunciate;

Impel them to listen as you

Carefully craft an

Opening statement.

 

Pique their interest, then…

Invite them to

Chat further at the

Oversized screens.

This is a didactic acrostic poem, offering some advice for PICO presenters at EGU. PICO (Presenting Interactive COntent) sessions take place at dedicated PICO spots throughout the EGU General Assembly and begin with each of the authors being given two minutes to present an overview of their work. After these short pitches, the authors each stand next to an assigned screen to show their interactive presentation in further detail to interested audience members, thereby combining the advantages of both oral and poster presentations.

Monday:

Big dataset printouts (SSS114.4) by Matthew Partridge

 

One upping soil carbon models (SSS114.4) by Matthew Partridge

 

Mechanistic relationships (SSS11.8) by Matthew Partridge & accompanying haiku by Sam Illingworth

 

The View from Space by Sam Illingworth

 

Above the clouds they float like distant trains

Surveying moving forms and distant trends,

From blooming growth to violent hurricanes.

 

But every solar cell and compound lens

Has trade-offs that present a patent fact:

They’re simply more effective when with friends.

By working in a symbiotic pact

Nations and private companies can thrive,

Without it, possibilities contract. 

 

With many new conductors set to drive,

The future’s bright if we can realign

Our differences to keep the dream alive.

 

And if we more effectively combine,

We’ll better understand our own design.

This is a terza rima, inspired by the Union Symposium at EGU 2018 about the future of Earth and planetary observations from space. In this session, researchers from a variety of space agencies discussed the challenges of organising space explorations, and highlighted the need for collaboration, both between different space agencies, and also between the public and private sectors.

Tuesday: 

ERC contribution (US1) by Matthew Partridge

 

The Risk of Low-risk Geoengineering by Sam Illingworth

 

Mistakes we’ve made have borne their fruit,

As climate change has taken root;

The rising warmth we must now slow

To two degrees, or just below.

But are such efforts simply moot?

 

Is cleaning air that we pollute,

An action that we should dispute?

Not doing so could help to grow

Mistakes we’ve made.

 

Pour iron down the ocean’s chute!

But to what strength should we dilute?

Sulphuric clouds we can now sow!

But what about the rain and snow?

Do these ideas just substitute

Mistakes we’ve made?

This is a Rondeau, inspired by the EGU 2018 Great Debate on geo-engineering. Geo-engineering is defined as a deliberate large-scale manipulation of the planetary environment to counteract anthropogenic climate change. This debate investigated whether or not low-risk and safe techniques are currently available, weighing up their potential to counteract anthropogenic climate change with the risks that they might prove. Whilst geo-engineering methods exist, none of them are as safe, low-cost, or readily available as taking preventative action to reduce emissions in the first instance. Furthermore, they can lull people into a false sense of security with regards to the real and immediate danger of climate change.

 

Remote sensing kitties (ML10) by Matthew Partridge

 

A Skilled Scientist? by Sam Illingworth

 

When early in the course of our research,

We’re taught how skills can be both soft and hard;

Yet when between postdocs we start to lurch,

The ‘softer’ skills are met with less regard.

 

Design skills do not mean a winning grant,

Teamwork is not protection from the sack;

And whilst good leadership should not be scant,

It doesn’t guarantee a tenure track.

 

Despite what other scientists may say

There’s other jobs in which we could excel,

Where skills are valued for what they portray;

The money’s often better there as well!

 

No matter what new skills you learn or do,

Just find a way to make them work for you.

 

This is a Shakespearian Sonnet, written as a summary of the EGU 2018 Early Career Scientists’ Great Debate. This debate focussed on whether early career scientists should spend time developing transferrable skills and involved over 100 early career scientists working together via several roundtable discussions. This poem was written during the event to capture the overall sentiment of the conversations that took place.

 

Social volcanology (GM1.6/EOS1988) by Matthew Partridge & accompanying haiku by Sam Illingworth

 

 

Wednesday:

Gas leakage (ERE5.3) by Matthew Partridge

 

Half a Century of Drilling by Sam Illingworth

 

In search of riddles hidden deep

A Challenger was built to sweep;

Just off the Southern US shore,

We bore into the Ocean floor.

 

The biosphere was searched with probes,

Unearthing strange deep-sea microbes;

With every gas hydrate or pore,

We bore into the Ocean floor.

 

Revealing methane locked in vents,

Now frozen into sediments;

Assessing every risk and flaw,

We bore into the Ocean floor.

 

By counting all the slips and slides,

We map the planet’s moving tides;

As ancient quakes reveal their lore,

We bore into the Ocean floor.

 

A record of our climate past,

Preserved within a shaly cast;

In search of what went on before,

We bore into the Ocean floor

 

Despite the secrets we now know

More truths are hiding down below;

There’s much to find and so once more,

We bore into the Ocean floor.

This is a Kyrielle, inspired by the EGU 2018 Union Symposium on 50 years of ocean drilling. In March 1968 a ship called the Glomar Challenger was constructed with the purpose of drilling up to 800 m below the seafloor. The Deep Sea Drilling Project began in the Gulf of Mexico in mid-August 1968, using the facilities of the Glomar Challenger and marking the start of 50 years of successful drilling. This session provided an overview of the research that has been made possible by this international and interdisciplinary ocean drilling program.

 

Games for geoscience (EOS17) by Matthew Partridge

 

Games for Geoscience by Sam Illingworth

 

Well-crafted games can be a useful tool

For helping different publics find their way;

As Plato said: “Life must be lived as play”,

From lawmakers to children still at school.

 

But research should help underpin each rule, 

And fun should make the players want to stay;

Well-crafted games can be a useful tool,

For helping different publics find their way.

 

From showing how volcanoes can be cruel,

To helping farmers find a waterway;

Forecasts can be enhanced through good roleplay, 

Whilst Zelda has made batholiths seem cool.

Well-crafted games can be a useful tool.

This is a Rondel, inspired by the Games for Geoscience session that took place at EGU 2018, and the accompanying Geoscience Games Night. During this session, participants presented research on using analogue, digital and/or serious games to communicate geosciences to different audiences. The Games Night presented an opportunity for EGU participants to play a selection of these games, and to provide feedback and playtesting for the game designers. These sessions were organised as a collaboration between the SeriousGeoGames Lab and the Games Research Network.

 

Hairdrying ice (CR5.4/OS1.16) by Matthew Partridge

 

Thursday: 

 

Standadisation of earth science (ESSI2.9) by Matthew Partridge

 

Cassini batty (US3) by Matthew Partridge

 

Cassini by Sam Illingworth

 

You voyaged in the trail of pioneers,

To shed new light on Saturn and its rings;

By imaging its many circling spheres,

We glimpsed into the past of Earthly things.

 

Your Equinox and Solstice both burnt bright,

Revealing lightning in the darkest night;

And through your Grand Finale in the sky,

Your sacrifice means you shall never die.

 

This is an Heroic Rispetto, inspired by the EGU 2018 Union Symposium on the Cassini-Huygens Mission to Saturn, a collaboration between NASA, ESA, and the Italian Space Agency. Over a period of 13 years, Cassini successfully returned a huge amount of data that has since been used to enhance our understanding of Saturn and its system, including in-situ sampling of Saturn’s upper atmosphere, and high-resolution imaging of Saturn, its rings, and several of its many moons. The two different phases of the Cassini mission were termed Equinox and Solstice, ending with a dramatic plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere on September 15, 2017, with the spacecraft continuing to record and transmit data until the very end.

 

Borehole sandpit (ESSI2.9) by Matthew Partridge

 

Regional Impact on a Global Scale by Sam Illingworth

 

We map the future climate of our Earth,

And model global patterns that might be;

By giving different regions certain worth,

These maps might hide the truth we want to see.

The coarse and fine will often disagree,

Improving some and making others worse;

By making all these models fair and free

Research can be inclusive and diverse,

Providing new predictions that are not adverse.

 

This is a Spenserian stanza, inspired by the 2018 Alexander von Humboldt Medal, which this year was won by Filippo Giorgi. This medal, named after Alexander von Humboldt, is awarded to scientists who have performed research in developing regions for the benefit of people and society. Giorgi pioneered the field of regional climate modelling and helped to develop the Regional Climate Model system (RegCM), which is used by a large scientific community worldwide. Regional climate models are needed to enhance the coarse resolution that is offered by global climate models, and the RegCM is flexible, easy to use, and can be applied to any region of the world. The RegCM model is also free to use, and the workshops and feedback that is provided by Giorgi and his team mean that it is particularly attractive to scientists from developing regions. These scientists can then use the model to better understand problems that are of high interest for local conditions in their countries, which in turn can be used to improve the both regional and global climate models.

 

Jelly earthquake model (NH4.2/SM3.06) by Matthew Partridge & accompanying haiku by Sam Illingworth

 

Friday: 

Urban flooding (HS2.1.1) by Matthew Partridge

 

Predicting snow (HS2.2.1) by Matthew Partridge

 

Medical Geology by Sam Illingworth

 

To benefit from minerals underground

And better understand the roles they play,

A balance in our intake must be found.

 

Spewed outwards from a deep volcanic mound

We measure how these clouds disperse away,

To benefit from minerals underground.

 

Effects on human health can be profound,

Abundances and droughts can cause dismay;

A balance in our intake must be found.

 

When traces sink below the safe background

We search for missing parts in soil and clay,

To benefit from minerals underground.

 

The danger of asbestos is renowned,

We toil to better map out its decay;

A balance in our intake must be found.

 

The synergies continue to abound,

The Earth and human system is two-way;

To benefit from minerals underground,

A balance in our intake must be found.

 

This is a Villanelle , inspired by the EGU 2018 session on Medical Geology, and its role as an interdisciplinary field of science for the benefit of the society. Medical Geology is defined as the science dealing with the relationships between geological factors and health (for both humans and animals). This emerging field adopts an interdisciplinary approach, and the session featured presentations from environmental and public health experts, animal health professionals, and geoscientists on topics that ranged from the risk of exposure to humans from naturally occurring asbestos in Southern Nevada, to the healing thermal waters of Ischia—a tiny volcanic island in the Gulf of Naples.

 

Chalky water use (HS2.1.1) by Matthew Partridge

 

Better Together by Sam Illingworth

 

The planet that we live on is a tangled mesh

Of interacting systems and processes;

From fluvial dynamics to sedimentary deposits,

Everything we see and feel

Floats on the Earth’s tectonics.

We map and measure the stresses and strains

Arisen from the risks and hazards

That are naturally occurring,

Then temper this with cold hard fact

That humans have the

Worst IMPACT.

As well as navel-gazing…

We point

Our instruments to the stars,

Grazing the rings of Saturn

And looking for water on Mars.

SPOILER ALERT: we found some.

I don’t mean to whitewash

Our achievements.

I mean we’ve been drilling

The ocean floor for over fifty years

And we still know less about what’s down there

Than the surface of Venus.

Oceanographers: this is heinous!

Geodynamicists: you also need to do better.

Hydrologists: wipe that smile off your face,

I was promised

The scaling law for the threshold function of the unsaturated reservoir;

Sort it out!

But this is all in the past.

Scientific research is changing,

We can no longer be the people who

Simply collect data and say:

‘Oh, fancy that!’

We should turn our hopes and methods into

Good IMPACT.

Diversity and equality are not just

Boxes we must tick

Without different people’s voices

Our science will get sick.

Every year we come together,

To find friends new and old;

Now we need a better method

To help others’ dreams unfold.

Politics will try to divide us,

I say: let it try!

Climate change is anthropogenic,

As sure as the sun sets in the sky.

And even when Brexit

Turns my passport blue,

I’ll still be the first letter in EGU.

With so much accomplished,

And so much to be done,

Let’s make this a home

For me,

You,

Everyone.

 

This poem was written as a summary of EGU 2018, in an attempt to capture the essence of the General Assembly, and the highlights that I experienced whilst poet in residence. Throughout the assembly there were so many positive messages of inclusivity that I wanted to capture those in my final poem. It has been an honour to be the poet in residence, and I hope that my poetry has helped to communicate some of the amazing research that is represented across the whole of the European Geosciences Union.

 

Coffee Haiku by Matthew Partridge and Sam Illingworth

Our poet in residence at the Assembly is Sam Illingworth, Senior Lecturer in Science Communication at Manchester Metropolitan University (UK). In addition to running the short course ‘Rhyme Your Research’, Sam will be organising a series of poetry clinics in the ECS lounge and hosting a poetry slam at the Convener’s Reception. You can find out more about Sam’s research, and read some of his poetry by visiting his website: www.samillingworth.com

Our cartoonist in residence at the Assembly is Matthew Partridge, Senior Research Fellow at Southampton University (UK). Matthew will be leading a short course on ‘How to cartoon science’ as well as creating cartoons that illustrate his experience at the 2018 General Assembly. Learn more about Matthew and read up on his cartoons at https://errantscience.com/