Yesterday afternoon, 30 students from John Paul College in Coffs Harbour visited the School for a hands-on university experience. The students spent the afternoon learning about petrology, having a lab tour with Dave Mitchell, examining some thin sections and producing some impressive petrological sketches.
This activity was part of a week of science enrichment for the year 9 class, who travelled to Sydney to visit several scientific institutions, including the Museum of Human Disease, the Observatory and the Australian Museum.
The new marine science and management page went live last week and is looking great. Many thanks to Ana Vila Concejo, Inke Falkner and Trixie Barretto for their hard work in producing the new page.
The spatial information science page has also moved locations and the Environmental Science page will be moving in the coming weeks.
The University of Sydney has maintained their standing in the QS rankings, with Earth and Marine Sciences being placed equal 17th in the world, and Geography placing 20th. Congratulations everybody!
Earth and Marine Science rankings here
Geography rankings here
Geographers represnt School at conference
Laurence Troy and Mattijs Smits presented last week at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2011 at the Imperial College in London. The conference theme was ‘The Geographical Imagination’.
Laurence presented on “Regeneration through gardening – a case study of City Farm, East Perth” in the session on “Growing New Public Spaces in the City: Community gardening, sustainability, justice and aesthetic connection in urban places (2)” and Mattijs presented on “Using Assemblage Theory to Explain Changing Energy Practices: Examples from Thailand and Laos” in the session on “Energy Transitions”.
Vale Trevor Langford-Smith
Emeritus Professor Trevor Langford-Smith passed away last week. He was a former Head of Geography. A Memorial Service is to be held on 30th September at the Roseville Uniting Church at 2pm.
The University of Sydney Institute of Marine Science (USIMS) invites you to Dive In!
Come along to connect with marine science professional societies, internship and volunteer opportunities and to have a look at the excellent marine science exhibition currently on display.
Stephen Phipps - Chair of the NSW Centre of AMOS (Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society)
Melanie Bishop - President of NSW Branch of AMSA (Australian Marine Science Association)
Georgia Royle - representative of Antipodeans Abroad
Ala Al-Mahaidi & Kenneth Lim - representatives of AIESEC (Association Internationale des Étudiants en Sciences Économiques et Commerciales)
Barbara Mackie - Career development officer at the University of Sydney Careers Centre
Stay for a chat, beer and pizza!
Where: Foyer of the SciTech Library (Jane Foss Russell Bld. G02)
ARC Future Fellow, Ana Vila Concejo, featured yesterday on the panel at the Women in Science lunchtime seminar. The Women in Science project, or WiSci, is a University of Sydney initiative which has ‘originated from an awareness that, although women are well represented among undergraduate and postgraduate students and even among postdoctoral fellows, they are under-represented among staff in senior academic roles.’ WiSci is open to women and men and staff of all levels are encouraged to participate.
Visit the WiSci Project page for more information
PhD candidate Olivia Dun’s research into environmental change and migration in the Mekong Delta has featured in a news article in the UK’s Guardian newspaper. The article, titled Vietnam’s rice bowl threatened by rising seas discusses the rising salinity in the Mekong Delta and the impact that this has on the millions living and farming in the region.
Read the article here
John Connell has been interviewed on ABC Radio about the new book he has co-authored, ‘Rural Revival? Place Marketing, Tree Change and Regional Migration in Australia’.
Listen to the interview here
Successful SyReNS proposals
Bill Pritchard, Phil McManus, Jeff Neilson and Dietmar Müller have been involved in successful (SyReNS) University of Sydney Research Networks Scheme proposals. The proposal of which Bill, Phil and Jeff are a part will deal with the setup of a ‘Sydney Network on a Climate Changed Society’. The proposal submitted by Dietmar and others deals with ‘the science of space [relating to] the properties, dynamics, and evolution of the solar system and humankind’s place therein’.
A/Prof Bill Pritchard and his former honours student (2010), Jennifer Broadbent, have had their work featured in articles in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Land. Their work, which focuses on the ownership of land, found that the percentage of land owned by individuals is falling and the percentage of land owned by corporations is rising.
Read the SMH story here
Human geography PhD students Lada Phadungkiati, Tubtim Tubtim, Mattijs Smits, Worawan Sukraroek, Erin Smith, Soimart Rungmanee and Surin Onprom made presentations at the 11th International Conference on Thai Studies hosted by Mahidol University in Bangkok 26-28 July. Professor Philip Hirsch also presented a paper and organized two panels at the conference on the history of PhD fieldwork in rural Thai studies. This international conference has been held every three years since 1981, alternating between Thai and overseas locations, and the 12th ICTS will be hosted by the University of Sydney in April 2014. Professor Hirsch will chair the organizing committee.
Nine human geography PhD students from the School of Geosciences took part in a two week PhD field methods workshop in northern and northeastern Thailand and in Laos from 12-24 July, in association with another five PhD students from Chiang Mai University’s Faculty of Social Sciences and one from the Faculty of Law at UNSW. This is the second such workshop, which is largely student-led and is mentored by Professor Philip Hirsch. The workshop this year was based around hosted visits at student field sites and involves a structured program of methodological orientation, fieldwork and reflection at each of six sites. The participating students were Lada Phadungkiati, Tubtim Tubtim, Mattijs Smits, Ken Serey Rotha, Kim Sean Somatra, Worawan Sukraroek, Erin Smith, Soimart Rungmanee and Surin Onprom.
Marine science can take you to wild, sometimes remote and special places. From the tropics, to Antarctica, in estuaries, on the coast, and in the open ocean, the University of Sydney Institute of Marine Science shows the diversity of its current research in this exhibition at the SciTech Library. See contributions from geosciences, biosciences, law and engineering. The exhibition will run from 25 July to 6 September in the SciTech Library, Darlington Campus.
The Proceedings of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, Expeditions 325, Great Barrier Reef Environmental Changes, has been published online on Saturday, 16 July 2011.
The Proceedings are a significant milestone as it represents a very detailed statement of the first data and results of the Expedition to be disseminated to the larger scientific community.
The Expedition Report can be viewed here
Earlier this month the EarthByte Group taught a successful GPlates software short course at the 25th IUGG (International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics) General Assembly in Melbourne. PhD students Kara Matthews and Grace Shephard taught the one-day course to an international audience from both academia and industry.
The set of tutorials worked through the key functionality of the free, open-source and user friendly plate reconstruction software, and successfully showcased the recently released GPlates v1.1.1 functionality including raster manipulation, palaeomagnetic tools and production of high-quality palaeogeographic maps.
Due to increasing interest and download hits (10 700 in the past 12 months!), the next GPlates short course will be run at the upcoming Fragile Earth Conference in Munich on September 8th.
The set of tutorials can be downloaded here
It’s BBQ time again! GeoSoc are organizing a School BBQ on Wednesday 27th July and we would love to see you there!
And we have a new exciting venue; the BBQ will be held at the Gadigal Green BBQ Area.
There will be free drinks and free food, all we need is you, so we look forward to seeing you there
Where: Gadigal Green BBQ Area - Just across from SciTech Library, underneath the Wentworth building footbridge.
When: Wednesday 27th July, 3:00pm – 5:00pm
Phil McManus has given a paper on sustainable cities at the ‘Four Degrees or more? Australia in a hot world’ conference in Melbourne which ran last week from 12-14 July. The conference received broad media coverage in the Melbourne media with Phil’s paper also receiving coverage in The Age.
The postgraduate programme in marine science and management has been approved and will start in 2012. The degree will be multi-disciplinary and cross-institutional, with units of study offered at Sydney University, UTS, UNSW and Macquarie. This is an excellent advancement that will allow the School to further grow its already widely renowned marine science programme. Congratulations to all those who put in months (or years!) of hard work to make this happen.
Prof Dietmar Müller has had a ‘News and Views’ piece published in Nature magazine. The piece used GPlates reconstructions to support a hypothesis that mantle-plume head motions may have influenced the motions and movement speed of the African and Indian tectonic plates.
Read the piece here
Sydney University had a very strong and vibrant presence at the Institute of Australian Geographers conference in Wollongong this week (4-6 July). Phil McManus, Kurt Iveson, Eleanor Bruce, Jo Gillespie and John Connell all gave papers. Fiona McKenzie and Professor Bruce Thom were part of a special plenary panel on Population in Australia which will be aired on Bush Telegraph on Monday from 11am to noon, as Radio National’s major World Population Day feature. The article is in a forthcoming edition of Geographical Research: Volume 49 (3) Available early here.
Deirdre Dragovich was present in paper if not person. Many postgraduates also gave papers: Lesley Lewis, Paul Smith, Nathan Wales, Raewyn Graham and Deanne Hickey. And everyone enjoyed sunshine (and wind), ducks and stimulating discussions.
Over tea and cakes Prof Jim Walmsley (UNE) launched John Connell and Phil Mcmanus’ new book Rural Revival. Phil said “Remarkably Ashgate sold quite a number of copies and the authors signed them – to reduce their subsequent value...”
Phil and John also made the front page of the University website this week, commenting on the recent government rural relocation initiative. Read the story here
Prof Bruce Thom was featured on ABC Radio National and syndicated programs this week discussing the Murray Darling Basin Plan. Prof Thom spoke at the IAG conference in Wollongong this week and discussed the comment made by chairman of the MDBA, Craig Knowles, that the soon to be released report was peer reviewed.
GPlates has been accepted by Softpedia which is a popular library of over 400,000 free and free-to-try software programs and is one of the top 500 websites (according to Alexa traffic rankings).
Since GPlates’ acceptance yesterday (30th June) it has already been downloaded over 1,000 times according to Softpedia. This is significant considering that the total number of downloads from Sourceforge, the main distribution site for GPlates over its lifetime, exceeds 10,000.
GPlates was tested by Softpedia and granted the “100% FREE” Softpedia award.
GPlates is featured with a description text, screenshots, download links and technical details here
PhD candidates Michael Kinsela, Logan Yeo and Grace Shephard and Honours candidate Allison Thomas have been awarded PESA Tertiary Study Grants. In a very competitive field that required three rounds of judging, Michael, Logan, Grace and Allison were three of only five successful applicants from across NSW. Michael is working on a PhD titled "Morphokinematic response of the shoreface profile to changing sea level and implications for the deposition and preservation of systems tracts." Logan is working on a PhD titled "Integrating deep earth and surface processes for frontier basin exploration". Grace is working on a PhD titled "Integrating deep-earth and surface processes for frontier-basin exploration of the Arctic". Allison is working on an honours thesis on “Oil Migration in the Late Archaean Witwatersrand Basin, South Africa”. Congratulations Michael, Logan, Grace and Allison!
The Australian Geoscience Council (AGC) Report, ‘Australian Geoscience Tertiary Education Profile 2010’ has been released. The report makes several encouraging observations, including that “the status of geoscience and geoscience education has improved substantially over the last three years (2008-2010) with a marked growth in enrolled students and academic teaching staff reversing the decade long decline to 2007.”
Many thanks to Nikki Montenegro for all her hard work collating the information for the School of Geosciences submission to the report.
Access the full report here
Phil McManus keynote speaker
A/Prof Phil McManus was an invited speaker at the One Drop Festival held at Eden Gardens in North Ryde on Saturday 25 June, 2011. He spoke on the theme of “flooding in local catchments”.
Phil was also the keynote speaker at the Ryde City Council ‘Linked systems: integrated approaches to catchment management for local councils’ conference on Thursday 30 June, 2011. His presentation was titled “Flow-on effects: Integrating Urban Planning and Catchment Management”.
Both of these presentations built on his teaching in GEOG3521 Sustainable Urban Environments (formerly Sustainable Cities) and his book Vortex Cities to Sustainable Cities: Australia’s Urban Challenge (UNSW Press, 2005).
In the media
Both Laurence Troy and A/Prof Bill Pritchard featured in the media this week. Laurence had an opinion piece on the carbon tax published on ‘The Conversation’ and Bill was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald regarding food security.
Read Laurence's piece here
Read the SMH piece here
Dr Jeff Neilson new Environmental Science coordinator
Dr Jeff Neilson has been appointed the new Environmental Science Coordinator, effective from Semester 2 2011. Congratulations to Jeff and many thanks to Prof Phil McManus for all his previous hard work this position.
Bill Pritchard speaks at World Bank
A panel discussion featuring Bill Pritchard at the World Bank’s ‘PRAXIS’ discussion series is now online.
Bill spoke about food and agriculture in developing countries along with Jon Edwards from ActionAid Australia and ‘Alopi Latukefu from AusAID.
The discussion can be accessed here
John Connell and Olivia Dun - 'Climate change and migration' seminar
John Connell and Olivia Dun were both invited discussants at the Asian Development Bank/International Organization for Migration Seminar on ‘Climate Change and Migration’ (Bangkok, 16-17 June). This is the second time they have performed their double act in Asia this year. In February they both gave papers (on Island States and the Mekong Delta respectively) to the UK Government’s Office of Science Seminar on ‘Global Environmental Migration: Coastal Zones and Islands’ (Dhaka, Bangladesh).
Presentations on Tuesday
Please come along to two presentations on Tuesday 28 June at 11am in the Conference Room (Room 449, Madsen Building).
Laurence Troy will be speaking about “Sustainability and the Commodification of Nature: a case study of East Perth”
Deanne Hickey will be speaking about “Drivers of rural land ownership change: a case study from the Central West region of NSW”
Everyone is welcome to attend.
New book on climate published
The Cambridge University Press has published “Engineering Strategies for Greehouse Gas Mitigation” a book by Professor Ian S F Jones based on the Sydney University graduate unit of study. This book is unique as it concentrates on the options for managing the climate. Many of these options do not involve the dramatic shift in life style proposed by some.
More details here
Opinion Piece by Dr Jeff Neilson
The School of Geosciences’ Dr Jeff Neilson has had an opinion piece published in the Sydney Morning Herald today. The opinion piece, titled “Livestock furore exposes our moral hypocrisy over asylum seekers” highlights the need to “consider how our moral and political engagements are being interpreted by very different societies in the region and to critically reflect on the political and cultural contexts from which our moral priorities are constructed.”
Read the piece here
Resilience: Can our environment keep bouncing back?
You may have heard of the environment ‘bouncing back’ quickly from a disaster, but how much can our environment take? Understanding the links between resilience and the stability of social, financial and ecological systems will be of universal importance. The Faculty of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources will be examining this at their upcoming research symposium
When: 8.30am – 6.00pm, Friday 8th July 2011
Venue: New Law Building, The University of Sydney
Registration: $30 for University staff/students (includes full catering and drinks reception).
Registrations close on 30 June
GeoSoc Mad Hatter Ball a great success
Last Friday night, GeoSoc held their annual ball which had a ‘Mad Hatter’ theme. The ball was a great success thanks to the tireless efforts of the GeoSoc executive group. Well done everyone!
'Four Degrees or More? Australia in a hot world" conference to be held in July
The School of Geosciences’ A/Prof Phil McManus will be delivering a session at this significant international conference. Phil’s session is titled “Impacts- Cities and Planning” and will be presented with Prof Jan McDonald from Griffith University. Presentations will also be made by Ross Garnaut, Will Steffen and Ove Hoegh Guldberg amongst others.
Geosciences team victorious in lunchtime soccer league
The Pyrites of the Caribbean have won the Sydney University Social Lunchtime mixed soccer comp.
The semi-final was 6-5 with Pyrites beating the undefeated team ‘The Pretenders’, and the final game score was 1-1 and went to golden goal. In an exciting finish, Nathan Butterworth scored the winning goal with one minute to spare!
Pyrites of the Caribbean (below) is made up of Kayla Maloney, Grace Shephard, Stephen Cater, Luke Mondy, Nathaniel Butterworth, Leonardo Quevedo and Megan Holdt. It was a great season and it was a hard-fought final game. The other geosciences teams, Hot Schist and Madsen FC, also narrowly missed out on the finals but had fantastic seasons, with Madsen FC drawing their last match with the leading team showing that they have a strong chance to win next semester.
Congratulations to all!
ERA Journal Rankings abandoned
On Monday of this week, the office of Sen. Kim Carr released a statement detailing changes to be made to the ERA initiative.
Most importantly, the changes see the discontinuation of the journal rankings (A, A* etc) in favour of publication profiles for each journal. It is hoped that “the removal of the ranks and the provision of the publication profile will ensure they will be used descriptively rather than prescriptively”. This will also facilitate more logical attribution for cross-disciplinary work as it allows work to be allocated to the disciple from which it originated, rather than where it was published.
The media release also made special mention of the valuable contribution of university academic staff in this review process.
Read the full media release here
Elsevier has recognised the achievement of Wang Qiang (Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry) and Derek Wyman (University of Sydney) in having one of the top 50 (top 3%) most cited articles in Chemical Geology (A* ranked) between 2005 and 2010. The paper is titled Petrogenesis of Carboniferous adakites and Nb-enriched arc basalts in the Alataw area, northern Tianshan Range (western China): Implications for Phanerozoic crustal growth in the Central Asia orogenic belt, Chemical Geology, Volume 236, Issue 1-2 (2007), Pages 42-64
Honorary Associate, Rob Warner, has been invited to give a major paper at a two day international workshop on "Morphodynamique fluviale et paléo-environnements alluviaux" on 8th June at Université-Lumière Lyon 2 (France). The title of his paper is: "The impacts of alternating regimes and global warming on Sydney's water supply and environmental flows in the Hawkesbury-Nepean River, Southeast Australia".
Dr Warner was the last head of the Geography Department (1990-1992 and 1994-1997) before retiring in 1998. He became a Fellow of the Institute of Australian Geographers for his contributions to Geography and Hydrogeomorphology over 50 years.
Since retiring, he has continued his research on the Durance River in Southeast France and has consulted for various water agencies and engineering companies. He was also the geomorphologist on the NSW Government's Expert Panel assisting the Hawkesbury-Nepean River Management Forum from 2002 to 2004. The latter's report "Water and Sydney's Future: Balancing the values of our rivers and economy" was published in 2004.
Prof Andrew Short was awarded the “The J P Thomson Medal” by the Royal Geographical Society of Queensland in Brisbane on 3 May 2011. The medal was awarded “in recognition of his distinguished contributions to geography.” Former recipients includes the school’s Sir Douglas Mawson, Prof Griffith Taylor and Prof Bruce Thom.
Kellie Adlam receives AINSE scholarship
PhD candidate Kellie Adlam has been successful in her application for an AINSE scholarship. Kellie will use the scholarship to work on a project entitled ‘The use of environmental isotopes Pb-210, Ra-226, Cs-137 and C-14 to reconstruct historical sedimentation rates and calibrate a model of estuary evolution.’. The scholarship will commence on 1 July.
Bronwyn Isaacs Awarded Prestigious Scholarship
Bronwyn Isaacs, a former Honours student of the School has been awarded the prestigious Eleanor Sophia Wood travelling scholarship to undertake a Masters in Anthropology at an overseas institution.
Sydney University Geography, Earth and Marine Sciences highly ranked in 2011 QS survey
Geography at the University of Sydney has been ranked 21st internationally and second in Australia and Earth and Marine Sciences at the University of Sydney has been ranked second in Australia and 17th internationally (equal with Yale) in the 2011 World University Rankings. This is an excellent achievement and highlights the strength of Geography and Earth and Marine Science research being conducted here at the University. Congratulations to all!
See the Geography results here
See the Marine and Earth Sciences results here
New book on Climate Change and the Mekong
The Public Policy Studies Institute at Chiang Mai University, in collaboration with the Australian Mekong Resource Centre and the World Agroforestry Centre has published an edited collection of nine book chapters looking at climate change in the Mekong: Rayanakorn, K. (2011) ‘Climate Change Challenges in the Mekong Region’ Chiang Mai University Press: Chiang Mai. The book explores regional and country specific climate change issues in the Mekong subregion, and covers topics as diverse as climate change impacts and adaptation strategies, to the role of climate change in reframing resource politics in the GMS.
Limited copies of this book are available free of charge from the Australian Mekong Resource Centre (AMRC). Please see Kate or Natalia in Room 470.
Students awards evening a success
The annual School of Geosciences and Earth Resources Foundation Students Awards Evening was held on Monday evening at the Nicholson Museum. It was great to be able to celebrate the hard work and academic success of our students with their families and friends.
Prof John Connell panellist at Informal Thematic Debate on International Migration and Development, United Nations, New York, 19 May 2011
Congratulations to Prof John Connell who is the only academic selected to appear on this prestigious panel discussion.
John has been selected as a panellist on the Contribution of migrants to development panel which aims to identify and share best practices on how to maximise the contributions of migrants to development and leverage the opportunities offered by international migration to reduce poverty, promote economic growth and foster human development in countries of origin and destination.
Newly installed seismographs capture small Goulburn earthquake
A relatively new seismograph network, based mainly in schools in the central West, recently recorded a small (Mag 2.0) earthquake that was felt in Goulburn at about 6 am on May 5th.
The image below shows records of the earthquake at Crookwell Senior High, Tallong Primary, and Kambah ACT (seismograph run by ex-Geoscience Australia seismologist Marion Leiba). The approximate location of the event, based on distances calculated from S-P times, is also shown.
Each seismograph costs about $500, and the network is slowly expanding, both in NSW and also in WA. The data is fed hourly to a website constructed by the Australian Centre for Geomechanics, in Perth.
Multidisciplinary approach to coral reef studies
Thomas Bridge (JCU), a PhD student of Dr Jody Webster has published a groundbreaking paper representing the first study of its kind on the living biological communities forming deep reefs of the Great Barrier Reef. Up until this paper knowledge was limited about biological communities down at these depths as the conventional wisdom was that thriving reef communities were limited to ~<30 to 40 m. This study also involves Stefan Williams from the robotics group which is affiliated with USIMS here at the University of Sydney and illustrates what is possible with a truly multidisciplinary approach to marine science.
Grant success for Elaine Baker
Congratulations also to Dr Elaine Baker who has received a grant of US$40K from the Asia Pacific Network for Global Change. The grant supports a project with the East Asian Regional Seas to support states to develop integrated marine assessments to contribute to the United Nations Regular Process of Global Marine Assessment, which is due to begin in 2014.
Elaine has also been appointed to direct the EU funded SOPAC/SPC project- environmental and socioeconomic assessment of deep sea mining in the Pacific. The project is being undertaken with a steering committee of global experts – the first meeting of which is in Nadi in the first week of June.