The Symphony that is AGU’s Fall Meeting

By Denis-Didier Rousseau (École Normale Supérieure), Fall Meeting Program Committee Chair

During the recent Fall Meeting Program Committee meeting, I had an opportunity to reflect on my first year as chair of this important group and I found that I have a new appreciation for everything AGU does to advance the Earth and space sciences. Planning for an event with nearly 24,000 attendees, 1,700 sessions, 23,000 presentations and 275 exhibitors comes with an incredible amount of work and responsibility, but the final product is well worth it.

A member of the Fall Meeting program committee examines a poster board during the planning meeting

Many attendees may not realize how much planning truly goes into making an event this large a success. Every session is crafted with the guidance of the Program Committee to fit the needs and interests of the attendees. Creating this program is like orchestrating a symphony—everything must fit together seamlessly. The gathering of our committee representatives to craft this symphony results in a room filled with impressive intellect and dedication. More importantly, we are all dedicated to ensuring that every attendee is able to have a meaningful experience tailored to their needs, and that everyone is able to walk away from the meeting with new ideas and knowledge.

During these committee meetings, we do not just discuss the science that will be presented at the meeting, but also how we can help to improve it. One area we are focusing on is fostering interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary science. A change we are experimenting with in support of that effort is joint sessions. This innovative process represents a true partnership between two or more Sections or Focus Groups, who each shared responsibility for the planning of a single session. These sessions will supplement the SWIRL sessions you have seen in recent years, which give our attendees a chance to learn about interdisciplinary topics they may not always think to explore. I encourage all attendees to take advantage of these opportunities.

The AGU Fall Meeting is so wonderful to me because of the level of dedication and innovation in the scientific community that our presenters bring. I am looking forward to everything this year’s meeting has to offer. It will serve as the next stepping stone in the quest to expand our knowledge of Earth and space, and through the hard work of our program committee and AGU members, we can continue to build a better world through the advancement of science.

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