Blogs and social media at the Assembly – tune in to the conference action

23 Apr

Blogging

GeoLog will be updated regularly throughout the General Assembly, highlighting some of the meeting’s most interesting sessions, workshops and lectures, as well as featuring interviews with scientists attending the Assembly.

Writers from the EGU Blog Network will also be posting about interesting research and sessions during the Assembly, so you can catch up on any sessions you’ve missed and get a feel for what’s going on in the press room through them!

As in previous years, the EGU will be compiling a list of General Assembly related blogs (the blogroll) and making them available through GeoLog. If you would like to contribute to GeoLog during the event please contact Sara Mynott at mynott@egu.eu. You can also add your blog to the blogroll here.

EGU social media

Tweeting

Participants can keep updated with General Assembly goings on by following the EGU twitter account (@EuroGeosciences) and the conference hashtag (#EGU2014). You can also direct questions to the EGU communications staff and other participants using #EGU2014, or by tweeting to @EuroGeosciences directly. If you’ve got the Assembly app, you can share snippets of great sessions straight from there!

This year, each of the programme groups also has its own hashtag, if you’re in a Geomorphology (GM) session, say GM2.1, you can tweet about it using #EGU14GM, or if you’re in one of the Educational and Outreach Symposia (EOS), use #EGU14EOS – just add the acronym to #EGU14! A full list of conference hashtags is available here, and in the programme book.

Some sessions also have their own hashtag including the Great Debates (GDB1#EGU14mine, GDB2: #EGU14geng), the Union Session on the IPCC results (US4: #EGU14IPCC) and the Face of the Earth Union Symposium (US3: #EGU14face). Make sure to tag your tweets accordingly if you are posting about these sessions! Conveners are welcome to add their own hashtags into the mix to! Just let everyone know at the start of the session.

The view from social media HQ at EGU 2012.

The view from social media HQ at EGU 2012.

And more!

While these will be the main media streams during the Assembly, you can also follow the European Geosciences Union on FacebookGoogle+LinkedIn and YouTube to keep up with us there!

GeoEd: I’m a geoscientist, get me back in there!

22 Apr

There are a lot of ways to learn new things, but little beats putting your questions to the expert and finding out the latest science, straight from the source, which is why we’re running an event to do just that – I’m a Geoscientist, Get me out of here! James Hickey, a volcanologist from the University of Bristol, tells us why he put himself in the firing line and entered a similar competition (I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here!) to use his quick wit and scientific know-how to tackle questions from an army of eager, enquiring school children…

I’m a Geoscientist follows the same format as I’m a Scientist. For those not in the know, what is it?

I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here! (IAS) is an online event pitting the creative minds of school kids against scientists brave enough to answer their questions. The students test the scientists over fast-paced online live chats as well as uploading questions to be answered when time allows. They then judge the scientists and vote for their favourite. Think of an X-Factor-Academia mash-up, leaving the winner with £500 to further communicate their science to the public.

Looking back now, 5 months on, I’ve been able to reflect from a more removed perspective, whilst still keeping an eye on the current goings on (the latest I’m a Scientist event finished last month, and I can only imagine what sort of “how does a plane disappear?” questions might have arisen!).

Enjoying a Vulcanian explosion at Sakurajima volcano during the IAVCEI conference. (Credit: James Hickey)

Enjoying a Vulcanian explosion at Sakurajima volcano during the IAVCEI conference. (Credit: James Hickey)

What made you throw your hard hat into the ring?

It was my enjoyment of outreach events that primarily got me interested in IAS. Kids and adults alike get a little excited when they first ask what I do for a living – I study volcanoes! Translating this initial excitement into a simple scientific understating is a challenge I cherish, not only because I love to talk about the work I do. IAS seemed like the perfect platform for me to explore this further, in a medium that has become second nature to most kids (even if my typing speed wasn’t quite up to scratch!).

What sort of questions spring from the mind of a school kid?

“Why do volcanoes erupt?”, “what caused the typhoon in the Philippines?”, “why do earthquakes occur?” – these are just a minute fraction of the Earth science questions I was asked. There were also a lot of non-Earth science questions: “why do pregnant women get cravings?”, “do you think there are other life forms in space?”, and “how much does a scientist get paid?”, for example. I always thought I had a pretty broad science knowledge base but this event proved me otherwise. I had an awesome time though, and it was all very exciting – as I explained in a blog post shortly after the event.

Combining outreach and fieldwork whilst in Dominica. Photo credit: Rob Watts.

Combining outreach and fieldwork whilst in Dominica. (Credit: Rob Watts)

What were the highlights?

True to expectations, it was almost exactly what I was hoping for, but better! School kids from different classes across England were throwing questions at me and my competitors from topics that were impressively diverse. Answering those questions and satisfying their curiosities was perhaps one of the most rewarding parts of being involved.

The incredibly hectic live chat sessions were by far my favourite though. An entire class of school kids versus a handful of scientists (or in some cases, just me!) in real-time. The questions came faster than I could read, let alone reply to, and on entirely unrelated topics. But once you get over they mayhem and start to build up some speed with the answers (I did shout across the office for help on some occasions…) you can really begin to enjoy it. Particularly when you develop a conversation and witness how the kids build on the answers you give to ask new questions.

I also had the opportunity to share the experiences I’ve had doing my undergraduate and PhD studies (the fieldwork stories were especially well received.). The students seemed quite surprised that a ‘science’ career could take you to volcanoes around the world instead of a laboratory basement! These more personal questions were important for the kids to know that scientists are real people, with real lives. I spent a fair amount of time discussing the comparison of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Gareth Bale for example, much to the annoyance of the IAS moderator who was trying to keep things on a science track (sorry!).

Exploding some Diet Coke with mint Mentos during a volcanology outreach event at the University of Bristol. (Credit: James Hickey)

Exploding some Diet Coke with mint Mentos during a volcanology outreach event at the University of Bristol. (Credit: James Hickey)

And finally, the future. What’s next?

Having won the event I now find myself with a £500 cheque to dedicate to further volcanology outreach. A combination of fieldwork, conferences, workshops and paper-writing have conspired against me so far but my plans are coming together. Inspired by the success of the question-answer format of the IAS event, and knowing how youngsters are becoming increasingly internet and tech-savvy, my plan is to develop an interactive volcanology website for kids worldwide. With exciting videos, simple schematic diagrams and the chance to upload questions for volcanologists to answer I hope to satisfy curious minds for years to come.

I will also be keeping a very close eye on the inaugural, I’m a Geoscientist, Get me out of here! event, which promises to be particularly exciting. I’ve grudgingly resisted the temptation to apply and throw myself back into the firing line, but best of luck to all those who take part. The rewards are worth it so I urge you to give it your all.

Curious? Tune in to the first ever I’m  a Geoscientist event in June! 

What’s on for young scientists at the Assembly?

18 Apr

This year, there’s a great line-up of young scientist sessions at the General Assembly. Not only that, but there are opportunities to meet those that represent you in the Union, get to know other young scientists in your field, and make the most of both the scientific and social sides of the conference…

First up for young scientists is the icebreaker event on the Sunday before the meeting, while this is open to everyone attending the Assembly, there’ll be a spot especially for young scientists – the “Young Scientists Meeting Corner” (Rooms Y1/Y4). So, if you’re coming alone, or if it’s your first time, you’re sure to find a few like-minded fellows! At EGU 2014 we’ll also be introducing a young scientists’ lounge – somewhere that you can take a break, grab a coffee and gather your thoughts away from the buzz of the conference. The lounge (on the Red Level of the conference centre) is also a great place to catch up with colleagues you haven’t seen in a while, or start up a conversation with someone new, and it provides a great meeting point to launch your evening’s activities.

Young Scientists at the EGU 2013 opening reception.

Young scientists at the EGU 2013 opening reception.

It’s not all about the social stuff though, there’s a veritable feast of courses where you can fine-tune your skills and grab those all-important nuggets of information to help you forge a career in academia. From Union-wide sessions to workshops and short courses, there’s a lot to choose from, including division-specific sessions to hone your geomorphological data skills and see what young scientists in the soil sciences are working on. You can learn how to write the perfect hydrology paper, enhance your career prospects and share your science with school students – but this is just a snapshot! Take a look at our young scientist’s shortlist to see what’s on offer for young scientists this year.

Like last year, we’ll be hosting a lunchtime session to let young scientists know how they can get involved in the Union and gather feedback to make what we’re doing even better. Since the last General Assembly, young scientist representation in the Union has grown leaps and bounds, with several divisions appointing young scientist officers whose role is to feedback from the young scientist community and make sure we do our best to act on your suggestions. What better way to tell us what you want than over a lovely lunch where you can meet your representatives? You can also let us know what you think via the young scientists survey.

More food and drinks during the EGU 2013 opening reception!

More food, drinks and chatter during the opening reception at EGU 2013!

Keep your eyes peeled for posters that are part of the Outstanding Student Poster competition and make sure you save a space for a few talks from outstanding young scientists. The winners of the Arne Richter and division awards will be giving talks throughout the week and are well worth a listen. Finally, the finalist films in EGU’s Communicate Your Science Video Competition are being showcased at GeoCinema, the home of geoscience films at EGU 2014. We’ve had some excellent entries – you can take a look and vote for your favourite using the EGU YouTube channel.

See you at the conference!

An earlier version of this post was published in the EGU Newsletter

GeoCinema at the 2014 General Assembly

17 Apr

(Credit: Thin Ice)

Just a taste of the scenes being showcased in GeoCinema. (Credit: Thin Ice)

GeoCinema is the home of geoscience films at the EGU General Assembly. This year features 38 fantastic films from across the geosciences, so you can step into some soil science, dive into deep ocean investigations, catch a glimpse of climate change research and more!

GeoCinema runs almost continuously throughout the conference, with short films, documentaries and feature length productions playing throughout the week in B12 (Blue Level) from 10:30 until 19:00 every day of the Assembly.

You can view and download the GeoCinema schedule, together with brief film descriptions, here.

(Credit: NASA/LANDSAT)

(Credit: NASA/LANDSAT)

This year’s young scientist video competition adds another dimension to the event, as finalist films from the EGU Communicate Your Science Video Competition will also be screened during the GeoCinema breaks. You can vote for your favourite by giving it a thumbs up on YouTube – on your laptop, smartphone or voting station outside B12. The winning video will be announced at the EGU Booth at 12:15!

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