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New Science Communications Fellow at the EGU Office

10 Jan

Hello everyone!

I am a new Science Communications Fellow at the Union, where I will be working on the EGU Newsletter and assisting Bárbara Ferreira in developing media-related and science information communications.

I am currently in the final stages of my doctorate (DPhil) at the University of Oxford, where my molecular biology project explores the diversity and ecology of Apusozoa, a phylum of free-living protozoan flagellates. I also take an active interest in science policy and communications and spent three months on a NERC-funded Secondment to the UK Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology (POST), where I researched and wrote a parliamentary briefing on biodiversity offsetting market-based conservation strategies. Having also recently served as a Trans-Atlantic Junior Fellow at the Colorado-based El Pomar Foundation, I maintain a keen interest in large-scale transatlantic policy issues and have recently been chosen to participate in the Emerging Leaders in Environment and Energy Policy (ELEEP) network, a project hosted by the Atlantic Council of the United States.

My studies include an MSc degree from the University of Oxford as well as undergraduate degrees in Environmental Biology from the University of St Andrews and Sociology/Psychology from McGill University.

If you have any questions about the EGU or any of its publications, I can be reached at +49(0)892180-6717 or at

All the best,
Edvard Glücksman

Job Opportunity at the EGU Executive Office

27 Sep

The EGU is seeking to appoint a Science Communications Fellow to start in January 2012. The successful candidate will work on the EGU Newsletter and assist the Media and Communications Officer in developing media-related and science information communications. The post is initially for six months and can be extended for a further six months.

Informal enquiries can be made to the Media and Communications Officer, Dr Barbara T. Ferreira (via email or on +49-89-2180-6703). Further information about EGU Fellowships can be found on the EGU website .

Applications should be submitted by email in a single file to Dr Barbara T. Ferreira.

Review of applications will begin on 15 October 2011 and will continue until the position is filled.

New official twitter account for the EGU: @EuroGeosciences

23 Sep

The European Geosciences Union has a new official twitter account: @EuroGeosciences.

This account will be a constant account throughout the year, replacing @egu2011 (which replaced @egu2010). It will have news from the EGU year round, along with General Assembly items for the EGU GA 2012 and beyond.

This is the first of several developments concerning media and social media activities of the European Geosciences Union following the appointment of our new Media and Communications Officer: Bárbara Ferreira.

New EGU Media and Communications Officer

22 Sep

Bárbara Ferreira, the newest staff member of the EGU office in Munich, has recently started working as the Union’s Media and Communications Officer. She will coordinate media-related and science information communications between the EGU and its membership, the working media, and the public at large.

Before joining EGU, Bárbara worked as a science writer at the European Southern Observatory, based in Garching near Munich, and at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology in London. Her studies include an undergraduate degree from the University of Porto (Portugal) and a PhD from the University of Cambridge (UK), which she completed in 2010. On her free time, Bárbara keeps a Nature Network blog, Dinner Party Science.

Bárbara can be reached at +49 (0)89 2180-6703 or

Geocinema films available online (3/3)

13 May

This is the last in a series of posts (Part 1, Part 2) with descriptions and online locations of Geocinema films. A film’s inclusion in the Geocinema does not mean that EGU endorses any opinions expressed in the film. If you have a film you’d like to submit for the Geocinema at the EGU GA 2012 look out for the call.

Inspection Exercise in Jordan, 6 mins [Online]
This film discusses a simulated on-site inspection exercise that was carried out in regards to monitoring compliance of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

Listening for Nuclear Noise, 5 mins [Online]
This film discusses some of the technology used to monitor compliance of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. In particular the technology that goes into a typical infrasound monitoring station, this particular station is located in the Bavarian Forest.

EISCAT_3D, our window to geospace, 7 min [Online]
FFAB:UK, together with EISCAT Scientific Association, has produced an information film about the EISCAT_3D project. It explains the background, the concept, and some of the new science that will be possible when the EISCAT_3D facilities are completed.

Earth System Trailer, 7 mins [Online]
Trailer for a documentary feature about climate, what the scientists know, what is unknown and what needs to be done to improve our stewardship of this planet. ESS trailer explores the need for next generation supercomputing to develop climate models which are a prerequisite to predicting climate change with scientific certainty.

SNORTEX – Snow reflectance transition experiment, 10 mins [Online]
The video introduces the SNORTEX (Snow Reflectance Transition Experiment) campaign taken place in Sodankylä (lat. 67.4N), Finland, in spring 2009. An overview on the background, objectives and expected scientific outcome of the campaign is given. Experimental methods and equipment employed in ground-based and air-borne measurements of snow reflectance and characterization of snow properties are presented.

Science@ESA: Solar System, Siblings of Earth and the Moon and Titan, 54 mins total [Online, with others]
In these Science@ESA vodcasts Rebecca Barnes looks at the Solar System. We’ll discover the scale and structure of the Solar System, find out why we explore it and introduce the European missions launched on a quest to further investigate our local celestial neighbourhood. We’ll look at two of the terrestrial planets: Venus and Mars, explore their similarities and differences to Earth and find out about the European missions that are helping to unravel their mysteries. Finally we’ll look at the Earth’s Moon and Titan, two very different natural satellites in our Solar System, and find out about the two ESA missions that have explored them.

Huygens probe landing on Earthlike world, 5 mins [Online]
This short film documents spectacular descent of ESA’s Huygens on Saturn’s giant moon Titan.

Geocinema Films available online (2/3)

11 May

Did you miss a particular film during the GeoCinema at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2011? Here’s the second post containing where to see films that are available online. A film’s inclusion in the Geocinema does not mean that EGU endorses any opinions expressed in the film.

Royal NIOZ, Fathoming the Sea, 10 mins [Online]
Once again a prominent scientific institute called Zcenes help in making science accessible for all who are fascinated by marine sciences. “After NWO, Utrecht University, European Science Foundation and NSF/IODP (USA), NIOZ, the Royal Dutch Maritime Research Centre, has asked us to produce a film focusing on how oceans work, global climate history, the dynamics of the coastal Waddenzee and the significance of Dutch maritime research”.

Drill Bits, 20 mins in total 5 mins for each section [Online, listed by geographical location]
Drilling into Lake Peten Itza (Guatemala) for paleoclimate studies on drill core. Scientific drilling into Lake Malawi (Malawi) for paleoclimate studies. Drilling through the San Andreas Fault at seismogenic depths. Scientific Drilling at Hawaii to investigate Hot Spot volcanism.

We are prepared – Tsunami Early Warning System, 5 mins [Online]
Describes the installation of a Tsunami Early Warning System (GITEWS) in Indonesia and shows some of the different components. It reflects the interaction as well as the human factor.

Deep Sea Observatories: Internet in the Ocean, 9 mins [Online, with other similar movies]
ESONET movie to show observatories preparation and deployment on ESONET sites.

Ocean Under Observation, 9 mins [Online, with other similar movies]
This movie explain why now we have to go a step forward in the earth and Sea observation by developing and implementing deep sea observatories that are able to provide real time or near real time data continuously, with a high sampling frequency and on long term, (more than 10 years).

Signs of Life on Mars, 5 mins [Online]
A musical video to inspire the next generation of explorers.

Geocinema Films available to view online (1/3)

9 May

Did you miss a particular film during the GeoCinema at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2011? Quite a few of the films are available online. In this series of posts the descriptions and online locations of these films will be discussed. A film’s inclusion in the Geocinema does not mean that EGU endorses any opinions expressed in the film.

River Trip with Family, 5 mins [Online]
Water is life! A family experiences the element “water” in a series of different settings during a boat cruise on a river. The film gives an overview of the benefits hydrology provides to society in the context of the so-called State’s provision of general public services. It was produced by the German Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG), on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs (BMVBS) to commemorate the anniversary “200 Years of Hydrology in Germany”.

Stefano Mancuso: The roots of plant intelligence, 14 mins [Online]
Plants behave in some oddly intelligent ways: fighting predators, maximizing food opportunities … But can we think of them as actually having a form of intelligence of their own? Italian botanist Stefano Mancuso presents intriguing evidence.

Greg Stone: Saving the ocean one island at a time, 17 mins [Online]
Aboard Mission Blue, scientist Greg Stone tells the story of how he helped the Republic of Kiribati create an enormous protected area in the middle of the Pacific — protecting fish, sealife and the island nation itself.

Lee Hotz: Inside an Antarctic time machine, 10 mins [Online]
Science columnist Lee Hotz describes a remarkable project at WAIS Divide, Antarctica, where a hardy team are drilling into ten-thousand-year-old ice to extract vital data on our changing climate. Talk from, distributed under a Creative Commons License.

Rob Dunbar: Discovering ancient climates in oceans and ice, 18 mins [Online]
Rob Dunbar hunts for data on our climate from 12,000 years ago, finding clues inside ancient seabeds and corals and inside ice sheets. His work is vital in setting baselines for fixing our current climate — and in tracking the rise of deadly ocean acidification.

Michael Specter: The danger of science denial, 17 mins [Online]
Vaccine-autism claims, “Frankenfood” bans, the herbal cure craze: All point to the public’s growing fear (and, often, outright denial) of science and reason, says Michael Specter. He warns the trend spells disaster for human progress. Talk from, distributed under a Creative Commons License.

IODP 318 Wilkes Land Expedition, 20 mins [Online]
From January to March 2010, the JOIDES Resolution sailed on IODP Expedition 318 to the Antarctic coastline of Wilkes Land. During this two-month voyage a team of top international scientists explored the history of Antarctic climate changes over the past 53 million years. By drilling for unprecedented sediment cores from the bottom of the Southern Ocean, scientists can begin to understand the process behind the transition from the greenhouse world into the present icehouse world and it’s impact on global climate. This 20 minute documentary tells their story; the adventures at sea, the scientific operations and life on board.

Job Vacancy at the EGU Office, Munich

4 May

The European Geosciences Union (EGU)
is seeking to appoint a

The EGU is Europe’s premier geosciences union, dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in the geosciences and the planetary and space sciences for the benefit of humanity, worldwide. The EGU has a General Assembly which attracts over 10,000 scientists each year, a diverse portfolio of 15 scientific journals which use an innovative “open access” format, a number of thematic meetings, and education and outreach activities.

The Media and Communications officer will coordinate media-related and science information communications between the EGU and its membership, the working media, and the public at large. Responsibilities include the set up and operation of a press office, development of a progressive communications plan for relevant scientific information display and dissemination, editorship of the EGU newsletter, and onward development and management of the EGU website and social media tools. Activities can involve the use of classic as well as new methods of disseminating media and interacting with the various stakeholders.

The successful applicant will have the following: an academic degree (e.g., MA, MSc, PhD), preferably in communication science, journalism, or the geosciences; professional experience in science journalism; evidence of ability to build a dynamic network of contacts within the EGU scientific community as well as in the working media; expert command of English.

The Media and Communications Officer will work under direction of the EGU Executive Secretary and the EGU Council. Work will take place in the EGU Office in Munich, Germany, with support of a computer programmer and a web developer. The position will be for three years initially, with a probation period of one year, and will be renewable for consecutive periods of three years. Remuneration is according to the German public service pay scale and can be up to E13 TV-L, depending on expertise and experience.

Applications should include

  • CV including a summary of relevant experience and expertise.
  • Letter of motivation and statement of vision for EGU Media and Communications (maximum two pages).
  • Contact details of three referees.

Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Philippe Courtial (email:

Applications should be submitted by email in a single file to Dr Philippe Courtial.

Review of applications will begin 1 June 2011 and will continue until the position is filled.

A start date will be negotiated with the successful candidate and the position will preferably start within 3 months after interview.

Dr Philippe Courtial
EGU Executive Office
Luisenstr. 37
80333 Munich (Germany)
Phone: +49 (0)89 2180-6549

A pdf of the vacancy details (as above) is also available.

Perspectives from EGU GA 2011 (6)

15 Apr

This year on the EGU General Assembly blog there will be guest posts from participants about their research and their impressions of sessions. These are personal points of view not EGU corporate views. If you would like to contribute a research or session viewpoint, please email us.

This perspective from the European Geosciences Union General Asembly 2011 is from Thomas Smith about how to maximise your poster presentation. Thomas’ research was presented in NH7.2/AS4.14/BG2.17 Fire in the Earth System: Impacts and Feedbacks.


In a world of multi-touch interfaces, e-readers, and televisions the size of cinema screens, it is not hard to imagine the day when the poster boards at the EGU general assembly are replaced by large, interactive devices, automatically downloading their designated poster for each day from “the cloud”. In the mean time, I decided that I would compliment my paper poster with an online interactive poster (iPoster!).

With three days until my poster presentation in the session on ‘Fire in the Earth System: Impacts and Feedbacks’, I was offered the opportunity to present my poster as a summary in the oral programme of the session. Whilst struggling to summarise my poster in four Powerpoint slides, it occurred to me that it would be much better to simply exhibit the poster as a Prezi, a navigable, zoomable, interactive poster, complete with photo and video galleries. Not only did this go down well in the poster summary, but it also proved useful when describing my research in the poster session itself. If you have a poster presentation, but feel that animations or videos are important to communicate your research, this is a very good way of integrating the audiovisuals with your poster.

No doubt, many of you savvy EGU blog readers are familiar with ‘Prezi’, one of the rising stars in alternatives to the linear presentation style prescribed by the likes of Powerpoint. If not, then you should at least take a look (Prezi Homepage). Prezi is difficult to describe without demonstration, although I shall try. Imagine a Google Earth for your presentation slides; you can begin with an overview contained in the field of view of your audience, before moving into sections, but always within the context of the initial overview; Prezi allows you to customise a route through your text, images and videos, using flashy animation (like moving from location to location in Google Earth) to navigate and zoom around the information you wish to disseminate. As with all developing web-based tools, there are a few issues, particularly with the narrow range of supported video formats, limited text formatting tools and some issues with image scaling (it’s best to convert your images to pdfs). Prezi is free for educational use, however, and the reaction from your audience will be worth that exploratory effort.

So whilst we are stuck with our temperamental printers, unruly paper, and comical dancing acts in front of our poster boards for now, at least it is possible to point to an animated version of the poster on a laptop or tablet screen. How long will it be before iPosters take that step from sidekick on the pedestal to the main board?

My interactive poster can be viewed online.

Webstreams from the EGU GA 2011

13 Apr

All the webstreamed events at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly are available online still. Please share with those you think will find them useful.

Webstreaming Page.

The events from the EGU GA 2011 that are available are:
US1 A Planet Under Pressure
US2 The Future of Water Cycle Earth Observing Systems
US3 How Science Can Aid Society in Tackling Emerging Risks
US4 The 22 February 2011 Christchurch Earthquake
US5 The 11 March 2011 Tohoku (Sendai) Earthquake and Tsunami
GDG1 How will Europe face the raw materials crisis?
UMC1 What are the unresolved questions and future perspectives for palaeoclimate research? An EGU Masterclass by André Berger and Wolfgang H. Berger
ML1 Alfred Wegener Medal Lecture – Understanding the drivers of environmental changes in West Africa from sedimentary deep-sea records by Gerold Wefer
ML2 Arthur Holmes Medal Lecture – Three grand challenges in geomorphology: rock, climate, and life by William E. Dietrich
ML3 Jean Dominique Cassini Medal Lecture – Highlights of ESA’s Planetary Sciences Programme Achievements and a Glimpse into the Future by Jean-Pierre Lebreton
US0 EGU Award Ceremony

Also the press conferences are available;
Press Conference 1 A new science plan for ocean drilling – The Future of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program
Press Conference 2 Polar Ozone – What’s going on in the Arctic?
Press Conference 3 What can we do about Europe’s raw materials crisis?
Press Conference 4 Unlocking climate and sea level secrets since the Last Glacial Maximum – Results from the IODP Great Barrier Reef Environmental Changes Expedition
Press Conference 5 Geothermal energy versus CO2-storage: can we use the underground more than once?
Press Conference 6 GOCE & GRACE: global impacts of the ever changing surface of the Earth, recent mission results
Press Conference 7 Emerging risks and natural hazards: a multi-stakeholder approach to understanding and managing extremes
Press Conference 8 Oxygen Depletion – Triple Trouble
Press Conference 9 The 22 February 2011 Christchurch Earthquake
Press Conference 10 Tsunami impact and Tsunami Early Warning Systems