Thursday, 20 December 2012

A Festive Blog

I started this blog about a year ago and have managed more or less one per month. I had a bet (a plate of oysters) with Sarah Nice from the BGS Communications Team, that no one would bother to read it. Well,  I lost my bet as I now have several thousand readers, not a hard price to pay and the oysters were a first for Sarah.

BGS continues to do well despite the hard financial times and tight budgets from government. Nonetheless, our science outputs have increased  this year, both in the conventional literature and on the web and in smart apps.

I encourage you to lake a look at our report for the last financial year and the presentations at our recent 2012 stakeholder meeting at the Geological Society of London.

I wish you all a happy Christmas and all the best for 2013 and thanks for reading the blogs; I will keep them coming in 2013!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The last blog from AGU 2012 (better late than never)!

By Wednesday I was suffering a little from mid week saturation, as there are only a certain number of science presentations that one can take in in a day. Below shows the poster display along with one from BGS in a special session on education in geosciences, where we are producing a digital set of 3Dfossil images with other archives and museums in the UK.

Data and dealing with lots of it, is a big problem that underpins many sessions here. Increasing demand for open data and the ability to mash-up diverse data sets and create new environmental research areas and services is an important part of the mix here. The UK is a leader with its virtual environment observatory concept.  Unifying management protocols and making data transferable, although perhaps not the exciting end of science delivery, is one of the most important aspects of science showcased by BGS here.

I also spent some time in a session on Tsunami where BGS made a number of presentations and where there was a focus on the March 2011 Tohoku-oki tsunami in Japan and how we can learn from this event and plan for future events. We are well respected for our specialist geological role in understanding the geomorphology and sedimentology of these events.

I also attended the honours banquet where senior and mid career scientist are recognised for their contributions to our science. It is always good to celebrate success and this sort of recognition is important for academics who generally work extremely hard and are not as highly paid as industry counterparts.

Our staff have given 48 science presentations which is an excellent showing for BGS at AGU and underpins our increasingly robust role in earth and environmental science.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

More News from AGU 2012

Three days into the meeting and there is a lot going on. Some say that there will be more than 20000 people attending this week. The AGU meeting brings together a very broad group of scientists ranging from planetary science to all aspects of environmental science including the study of the deep earth. In reality although BGS has a broad science remit, we probably do not cover more than 15% of the activity types here.
Nonetheless on Monday and Tuesday, BGS scientists were involved in a number of events. Many were presenting at poster sessions, which is a form of presentation of science, where you stand in front of a display of science ideas. There are hundreds of posters each day, they are well attended and a great way of communicating science.  
Geovisionary at AGU 2012

BGS have been demonstrating geological mapping technology of the UK, how volcanoes formed in Mexico, what are the sources of magnetic anomalies on Earth, redefining the best practice in high resolution geochronology, living with atmospheric electricity, using geophysics to understand the structure of volcanoes and much more.
The meeting is also a good place to bring together planning boards for large projects.  There have been several sessions on the future of scientific drilling, both in the oceans through the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) and the continents with the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program  (ICDP). BGS leads as a science operator in this science and has some key scientific targets which underpin areas such as past climate change as a model for the future high CO2 world, developing deep geothermal energy and understanding the Arctic as a geological province for science discovery and for future resources. As BGS director I sit on a number of management boards that meet at AGU and to an extent I miss out on the fun parts of the science when attending these sessions.
Evenings are punctuated by a number of “townhall” meetings to announce science strategy and US universities bringing their past graduates together: all of these tend to be good events to meet people and exchange scientific ideas in a lively atmosphere.
Me at Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco, on my way to a "townhall" meeting

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

BGS at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in San Francisco is the largest yearly gathering of geoscientists, ranging from those studying the deep interior of the Earth to the envelopes surrounding the Earth. Staff from the British Geological Survey, have from time to time, attended the meeting. Following the BGS strategic push to become more involved in modelling geological and environmental sciences we have seen a significant increased visibility of our staff at this meeting. This year we have numerous presentations involving BGS staff at this top level meeting. A summary of the BGS presentations can be found here.  I will be providing updates throughout the meeting via the blog and on Twitter @BGSBoss #AGU12