Alex Hobé – Uppsala University
As someone who reads this blog, you are aware of the importance of the Geosciences for society. The understanding of volcanic systems, active and fossilized, has implementations related to e.g. hazard and risk assessment (eruptive, seismic, and landslide), energy production (geothermal and hydrocarbon), exploration and management of deposits of critical materials, and climate (gas-production and destabilizing permafrost).
These same topics are investigated by Geoscientists with non-volcanic specialization and were the main topics of this year’s International Geoscience Student Conference (IGSC). This student-organized event was held at Uppsala University’s (UU) Geocentrum between 16-20th June 2019 with the theme “Sharing Ideas, Responsibly Securing Natural Resources”.
The main aim of this event was to support students at their level with their current and near-future career and academic needs. Students could practice their writing skills, by preparing an abstract beforehand, on which they got feedback. Presenting skills were practiced in the form of oral or poster presentations.
Workshops were provided that catered to the current needs of the participants within their respective personal career-paths. These workshops included pitching your ideas (Drivhuset), data-mining (Equinor), working with equipment (Guideline Geo), thinking critically about critical-materials (e.g. rare earth elements used in cell-phones, and even aluminum) and climate change (SGU).
There was also a tour of the one-of-a-kind setup of the Hans Ramberg Tectonic laboratory (UU). Many of the keynotes focused on helping students navigate their way within 1) academia, 2) industry, 3) the political spectrum, and 4) the societies (e.g. the event’s partners SEG and EAGE) that form the bond, disseminate knowledge, and communicate needs between the first three. The final day of the conference was devoted to the Raw Materials University Days funded by EIT Raw Materials.
As Geoscientists, we know how much can be achieved with small incremental changes that are sustained over time. Because of the focus on the needs of the participants, the IGSC and events like it can help start this process at the beginning of the students careers. This was recognized at the start of this project by the leadership at UU, as evident by their support on many fronts.
As one of the organizers, I have obtained a deep respect for anyone who takes it upon themselves to be part of organizing any conference. Such a project includes a large variety of different tasks that need to be completed from months in advance, to on the spot while everything is happening. Many of these tasks lie outside of the expertise of the scientists needed to organize such events. Often, as was the case for us, the organizers are responsible for multiple other projects at the same time. Such insights and the success of this project would not have happened without the extensive support and enthusiasm of the staff of UU and the broader Geoscience community that came together for this event.
After the 7th IGSC was held in Katowice, Poland, in 2016, this event seemed to have dried up. By reinvigorating the interest in this event and also by extending its scope to include all of the Geosciences, it seems we have been able to ensure that the legacy of this student event lives on. The next 9th IGSC will be held from July 5th to July 10th, 2020 at the RWTH Aachen University and will be organized by students who attended the IGSC 2019.
Alex Hobé acted as the scientific section manager for the 8th IGSC. He is currently a PhD candidate at the Institute of Geophysics at Uppsala University, Sweden.
During his time at ETH Zurich and GNS Science in New Zealand, Alex looked into many aspects of Geothermal Energy, e.g. spallation drilling, subsidence modelling, reactive transport, and uncertainty quantification for fluid flow simulations – the results of his work: “Estimating fluid flow rates through fracture networks using combinatorial optimization” were published in Advances in Water resources in 2018. He is now working on characterizing geothermal sites using geophysical methods (ResearchGate, GoogleScholar).
Are you a VIPS enthusiast and have a great field or laboratory story that happened during the summer? Share it with us! We are always on the hunt for stories that show the experiences of other early career researchers working on, under, around and above volcanoes. Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org