News and Events

Geography Asia-Pacific field school reunion 2014

18 October 2014

Since 1988, geographers at the University of Sydney have run 25 undergraduate and four postgraduate field schools to Southeast Asia and the Pacific. The programs have been between two and six weeks in duration and have taken students to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, southwestern China and Indonesia, as well as to Fiji, New Caledonia, Samoa and Vanuatu. They have been run in close liaison with local universities and students in each location. The field schools have been run by Philip Hirsch, Maurie Daly, Bill Pritchard, Chuck Greenberg, John Connell and Jeff Neilson.

On Saturday 18 October 2014 approximately 150 of the nearly 600 students who have been on these field schools gathered in the Maclaurin Hall at the University of Sydney for a grand reunion, together with Phil, Maurie (who retired in 1995), Bill, John and Jeff. Students from the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and more recent of the field schools reflected on ways in which the field school experience has stayed with them through life, work and further studies. A trivia quiz brought students together from across the years and destinations, with a bottle of Lao rice whiskey as first prize. Following the geographers’ example, University of Sydney field schools are now run in Southeast Asia by Agriculture, Law, Medicine and the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre. In 2015, geographers will run three field schools, to Laos, Indonesia and India.


1988 and 1989 fieldschoolers


1990 fieldschoolers with Prof Maurie Daly and Assoc Prof Bill Pritchard


2010 Mekong fieldschoolers

Mapping the seafloor from space


Professor Dietmar Müller - mapping the seafloor from space

5 October 2014

A new high-resolution marine gravity map that reveals tiny seafloor features has been created by an international scientific team using satellite radar measurements of the ocean surfaces.

University of Sydney geophysicist Professor Dietmar Müller is a member of the team whose research was published today in the international journal Science.

The team combined new radar altimeter measurements from satellites CryoSat-2 and Jason-1 with existing data to construct a new global marine gravity model. The result is a model two times more accurate than previous models.

Read the full article.

Hunger games: changing targets and the politics of global nutrition

26 September 2014

During the United Nations General Assembly meetings this week, Ban Ki-Moon has convened a high-level side event on the Zero Hunger Challenge. This initiative by the UN Secretary-General bears the tag line “Hunger can be eliminated in our lifetimes”.

The Zero Hunger Challenge works in much the same way as the Make Poverty History campaign. Even if unachievable, there is merit in setting out goals as core aspirations for the global community.

So, if the goal of “zero hunger” is unachievable, what level of progress should we aspire towards? And how can we measure this success, given our woeful history of defining and calculating global hunger?

Read the full article written by Bill Pritchard and Chetan Choithani.

Geosciences offering Intensive Field School to India

25 September 2014

We are pleased to announce an Intensive Field School to India will be held in February 2015. This Field School will be worth 6cp and is tailored to students in Geography, Political Economy and Development Studies.

The attached flyer has all the relevant details.

An information session will be held at 3pm Thursday 16 October 2014, Madsen Conference Room 449, Madsen Building.

For any queries, please contact Bill Pritchard at .

Congratulations Gabby McDonald!

17 September 2014

Honours student Gabby McDonald was one of 16 students world-wide to be awarded a Student Field Trip Travel Grant from the Society of Economic Geologists to participate in "Archean Base and Precious Metal Deposits, Southern Abitibi Greenstone Belt, Canada”. The field trip was lead by a team of Canadian experts and travelled from Timmins to Noranda and then Malartic visiting world famous mines. Gabby finished her own Honours fieldwork in the Yilgarn Craton just in time to get on the plane to Canada.

Sydney Geographers on the new Geographical Society Council

29 August 2014

Academic staff from the School of Geosciences have been elected to the 2014/2015 Geographical Society of New South Wales (GSNSW) Council. Professor Phil McManus succeeds Professor Gordon Waitt (Wollongong) as President of the GSNSW, and Dr. Josephine Gillespie was re-elected as a member of the Council. A number of graduates from the School of Geosciences are also members of the new Council. Please see the full list of Council positions and contacts.

For further information about the GSNSW and its exciting activities, geographical resources and membership offers, please visit the Society's homepage.

Earth hazard geosciences in the news!

23 August 2014

School of Geosciences member Associate Professor Dale Dominey-Howes appeared on day-time television on Tuesday 19th August to discuss the recent discovery of large methane sinkholes (blowholes) in Siberia. The discussion also explored the possible connection with global warming. Check out the interview on Channel 7’s “The Daily Edition”.

Major research grant success

23 August 2014

Dr Emma Calgaro and Associate Professor Dale Dominey-Howes from the Asia – Pacific Natural Hazards Research Group in the School of Geosciences have been successful in winning a major disaster resilience grant. Together with The Deaf Society of New South Wales, the New South State Emergency Service and the New South Wales Rural Fire Service they have been awarded a total of $237,406 for a project entitled “Sharing responsibility for natural disasters by enhancing the emergency preparedness of deaf people”.

The grant award is made under the Community Resilience Innovation Program, a component of the National Disaster Resilience Program and the funds are provided by the New South Wales Ministry for Police and Emergency Service.

This is a particularly exciting award as it represents the stage two implementation step of a previous project led by Dale funded from 2011 – 2013.

Dale explains, “the project builds upon our skills as Geographers to draw together the physical earth system hazards processes Australian communities experience with the social, cultural and behavioral contexts that define community resilience and vulnerability”.

For further information on this project, please contact Dale.

Congratulations Patrice!

15 August 2014

Congratulations to Associate Professor Patrice Rey who has been elected as a fellow of The Geological Society of America.

Society Fellowship is an honor bestowed on the best of our profession by election at the spring GSA Council meeting. GSA members are nominated by existing GSA Fellows in recognition of their distinguished contributions to the geosciences through such avenues as publications, applied research, teaching, administration of geological programs, contributing to the public awareness of geology, leadership of professional organizations, and taking on editorial, bibliographic, and library responsibilities.

Find out more.

New Colombo Plan Scholarships to Indonesia

30 July 2014

The School of Geosciences has successfully obtained government funding to support 6 undergraduate geographers to undertake a semester-long immersion program in geography at the University of Indonesia in 2015. To apply for these scholarships, each worth $5000, please contact or see the attachment for further details.

Applications close August 20, 2014.

Food@Sydney Seminar Series 2014

25 July 2014

This exciting initiative from the Food node of Sydney Environment Institute is presented in collaboration with the Charles Perkins Centre and Sydney Ideas. Leading academics, influencers and activists from Sydney and beyond will delve into the big food issues facing Australia and the world. From food waste to food sovereignty and from obesity to small agriculture - these talks will tackle critical food challenges.

For more information about times and venues, please visit the Sydney Environment Institute.

University of Sydney Geographers at the World Congress of Sociology in Yokohama, Japan

16 July 2014

Five members of the School of Geosciences presented at the World Congress of Sociology in Yokohama in Japan this week. Yayoi Fujita Lagerqvist, Bill Pritchard, Chetan Choithani and Mark Vicol all gave talks in a Special Session on Indigenous Knowledge, Local Livelihoods and Food Security, convened by Bill Pritchard. Leonardo Valenzuela presented a paper at a special session of the Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty.

More information on the official conference website.