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Geoscience in the Service of Society


Dianne Tompkins, CSIRO Exploration & Mining

Phil Cummins, Geoscience Australia

Paul Tregoning, Australian National University


Oral and poster presentations are welcome across the broad theme, including geological hazards, education, geotourism etc. Planned symposia include:

1) New Science for a Changing Natural Hazard Landscape
One of the most important ways in which earth science contributes to society is through an appreciation of natural hazards and their consequences. Hazard profiles have changed dramatically in recent years, due to changes in both our perception of geological hazards with long recurrence times, as well as actual changes in meteorological hazards driven by climate change. The potential consequences are also changing rapidly, with the 20th century population explosion leading to increased concentrations of vulnerable people in areas exposed to natural hazards. How can earth scientists respond to these by changing the way we do science and ensuring our knowledge is utilized for the public good?

This symposium will cover specific natural hazard and risk assessment case studies, adaptation of existing investigative techniques to informing communities of hazards as well as the development and use of new tools for studying and identifying natural hazards.

2) Education
Earth Science education is critical for students at all levels from Kindergarten through to tertiary education. From a young age, students need to understand something of the world around them on a local, regional and global scale and how the Earth’s systems work. In addition, they need to understand the effect that human habitation has had on these systems and what can be done, where necessary, to minimise the impact. This is important so that the next generation of decision makers and leaders is sufficiently knowledgeable to make informed decisions no matter what their job, career choices and lifestyle. As a consequence of exposure to these ideas and topics at primary and middle schools one of many positive benefits is that more high school students will have the information they need to decide to take up the option to study Earth and Environmental Sciences in Years 11 and 12 and at a tertiary and research level if they so wish. This subtheme seeks to explore the different pathways to increasing and supporting Earth Science education and how individuals and organisations can support this endeavour. In a country with a large resource based economy it is important that everyone has a basic understanding of where and how the wealth and jobs are generated and also how to make responsible decisions for themselves, their community and the their world.

Abstract Deadline extended: 29 January 2010