Travel Bursary Reports

Barth EGU General Assembly 2022 in Vienna

The EGU General Assembly is a huge, week-long conference, bringing thousands of geologists, geochemists, planetary scientists, and researchers from many more disciplines to Vienna. Everybody was excited to meet in-person again, but it was also possible to participate virtually, with many talks being broadcasted from all over the world.

Attending the first in-person conference of my PhD, I was interested in the many different networking events taking place throughout the week, including the EGU-Pride Icebreaker and the Planetary Science division dinner featuring the famous Viennese Schnitzel. The sessions did not only focus on the many different science disciplines represented at the meeting, but also on interdisciplinary research, diversity and inclusion, and science communication and outreach. As I’m not sure what I want to do after my PhD it was fascinating to see, how many options I have with my degree: from the ‘classic’ postdoc route, via science policy, to science journalism and outreach. The short courses on networking, outreach, and careers, organized by the early career representatives, were particularly helpful.

The second half of the week was much more focused on my research area, with sessions on early Earth, lightning, planetary atmospheres, and “Life as a planetary phenomenon”. The latter session included my talk on “Nitrogen fixation by lightning and its role for early life on Earth and exoplanets” which was well received although 5 minutes were not nearly enough time to give a complete overview of my work. I was also able to meet several collaborators in person for the first time and meet other people in my field that I’ve only known from zoom meetings or twitter.

I’m very grateful to the Geochemistry Group for their support allowing me to present my research at this conference. I’m certain the experiences I gained and contacts I made during this week will help me to advance my future career.

Escenfelder GGRiP attendance report

From May 4th to 6th the Geochemistry Groups Research in Progress was held at Cardiff University. There was quite a bit of excitement around the meeting, especially as it was the first time GGRiP was held in person again and because it turned out to be one of the largest meetings hosted so far. The meeting began with a Laser Ablation workshop on the 4th, before beginning fully the next day. After a short morning coffee and a first look at the posters, talks were started by Jung-Woo Park about the influence of the crust on Copper porphyry deposits. Afterwards, sessions on igneous processes, erosion and groundwater followed.

After the poster session in the evening, most made their way to the pub quiz hosted by the Geochemistry Group, which was a wonderful way to meet other attendees in a more relaxed environment.
The final day was kicked off by Ernest Chi-Fu, talking about how focusing on biological responses to toxins (e.g. Arsenic) can give great insight into the evolution of early life. The rest of the day was focused on Biogeochemistry and Ocean chemistry, with many talks focussing on cold-water corals. The final key-note speech by Rachael James on the use of enhanced weathering for carbon capture was a great finale to the meeting.

Overall, the first in-person GGRiP since 2019 was an enormous success and a great platform to learn about current geochemistry research in the UK and Ireland. Thank you to the Geochemistry Group for allowing me to attend through a Meeting Attendance Bursary.

Madison Shankle – EGU General Assembly, May 2022

Appreciating the diversity represented at EGU.

Thanks to the generous funding of the Geochemistry Group’s Student Travel Bursary, I was able to attend the first international, in-person conference of my PhD – the 2022 General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union. After two years of COVID, I was beginning to fear my entire PhD would be conducted in virtual meetings and over video calls, so when I stepped on the plane to travel to the conference in Vienna, I felt especially grateful that I would finally be able to share my work in-person.

I gave my talk a session titled “The Southern Ocean in a changing climate: open-ocean physical and biogeochemical processes”. This session was perfectly suited to my diverse range of interests while still staying focused on my study area of the Southern Ocean. I saw talks discussing physical oceanography and circulation of the Southern Ocean as well as talks about biogeochemistry and such topics as carbon and heat transfer. I was very happy to be included as one of three palaeoceanography talks, and I presented geochemical data recording physical and biogeochemical changes undergone by the Southern Ocean over the Last Glacial Period, implicating both the physical and biological carbon pumps in the drawdown of atmospheric CO2.

Giving my first talk at a large conference like EGU was a major milestone of my PhD all on its own, but there were several other highlights of my time at EGU as well. I reconnected with friends and colleagues from my Master’s program, who in turn connected with me an alumna of my Master’s university who I plan on reaching out to (networking is so much easier in-person than on Zoom!), and I also enjoyed attending the Ocean Science Division’s Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award Lecture and connecting with the speaker later over our similar research interests. Such connections as these are enormously more organic and more fruitful at an in-person conference than a virtual one, and for this I am especially grateful for the Geochemistry Group’s travel bursary. For my first conference out of COVID, it went exceptionally well!

Giving the first in-person talk of my PhD!
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