Fall Meeting: Showcasing Our Members’ Achievements and Building Community


16 November 2012

Amazing! Inspiring! Incomparable! These are words that describe AGU’s Fall Meeting—the largest gathering of Earth and space scientists in the world.

Every December for 45 years, scientists from around the globe have converged on the Fall Meeting in San Francisco, Calif. Excitement and enthusiasm pervade this unique annual event, where our members present their latest research and communicate its relevance to the great challenges that face society. Fall Meeting attendees can also survey the evolving panorama of geophysical research and hear firsthand about the latest pioneering advances in our understanding of the Earth and planetary system. It’s an extraordinary opportunity to share, to learn, to network, and to renew old friendships; and it’s one of the most important ways that we as a scholarly society advance our mission of promoting “discovery in Earth and space science for the benefit of humanity.”

The 2012 Fall Meeting will carry on the long-standing tradition of excellence. More than 21,000 abstracts were submitted, representing cutting-edge research from around the world. During the course of the week, 7000 oral presentations and more than 13,900 poster presentations will be featured on a vast array of scientific topics. And, because so much of the work being presented at Fall Meeting crosses disciplinary boundaries, for the first time we will offer attendees well-defined pathways through the week’s schedule— called SWIRL sessions—along three key interdisciplinary topics: characterizing uncertainty, dust and aerosols, and subduction.

Supplementing this robust scientific program, AGU will offer a wide selection of events designed to help members share their science with a variety of audiences. Our popular communications skill–building program will include workshops on climate science communication and communicating with Congress. And we will host several film screenings, including James Balog’s Chasing Ice. There will also be a panel discussion with a team from the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE Expedition and a lecture by National Public Radio’s Ira Flatow. In addition, there will be a panel discussion on the Curiosity rover with three Mars scientists, which is part of the meeting’s Open to the Public programming.

Also part of the public programming, we will again host Exploration Station, a family event designed to showcase AGU science. Continuing on the theme of science education, we will offer several programs for educators, including workshops entitled Geophysical Information for Teachers (aimed at K–12 teachers), Effective Teaching and Learning in the Large Classroom Setting, and Succeeding on the Tenure Track. There will also be career-related events for students and job seekers, including workshops and talks on internship opportunities, work-life balance, midcareer changes, and opportunities at the intersection between science and public policy.

Technology plays an important role in facilitating members’ participation during Fall Meeting, so we have continued to expand and improve on our virtual meeting offerings. We are increasing the number of sessions and lectures that will be provided in “video on demand” format, and we are also continuing the ePoster program, which allows authors to display an electronic version of their posters on site and engage viewers via an interactive discussion board. In addition, improvements were made to the Fall Meeting Web site to allow for better performance on mobile devices and to provide a searchable calendar of all the nonscientific program events that are offered during the week. We have upgraded the Fall Meeting mobile app, which will now allow attendees to build a schedule and then sync it to multiple different devices. Finally, we have added several new features, including an online community that allows users to engage with one another on discussion boards and topic-specific groups in advance of and during the meeting. I encourage you to visit the Fall Meeting Web site (http://fallmeeting.agu .org) to learn more about these new initiatives and the scientific program.

The Fall Meeting is an incredible experience thanks to the dedication and passion that AGU members bring to their science. I look forward to seeing you there!

Michael J. McPhaden, President, American Geophysical Union

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