News Archive




2017 is an important year for Earth Science Matters Foundation. First, we welcome a new Board Member, Dr. Gbenga Okunlola who is the new President of the Geological Society of Africa and the successor of Dr. Aberra Mogessie, our highly appreciated ESM Board Member, who has decided to retire from the Foundation. Secondly, as of 1 January 2017, Courtney E. Jermyn - van der Zee took on her newly appointed role by the ESM Board as Director of the ESM Secretariat. Dr. Eduardo de Mulder will remain active in the Foundation as a Senior Scientific Advisor to the Director. We appreciate all the support and collaboration you have given ESM over the years and are excited to see what 2017 will bring!

New ESM Partner: PNSO

The Earth Science Matters Foundation is happy to welcome the Peking Natural Science-Art Organization (PNSO) as its most recent Partner. PNSO is a non-governmental science and art creation and research organization based in Beijing, China, founded by science artists Zhao Chuang, best known for his realistic and dramatic paintings of dinosaurs and fairy tale teller Ms. Yang Yang. Since its founding in 2009, PNSO has been working with numerous top research institutions, Its works and publications cover the Areas of fossil restoration, constellation art, mythology research as well as children's literature and early education. PNSO is now widely recognized as a leading science art institution.

   
ESM’s Executive Director meets with Zhao Chuang in Beijing, October 2015.
   
From left to right, Mrs Zhao Yating (Chief Editor), Eduardo de Mulder, Ms Yang Yang, and Wang Binhu (General Manager) in PNSO’s premises in Beijing China.
   
Zhao Chuang with one of his replica’s of Mosasaurus.




In July 2015, Courtney E. Jermyn - van der Zee, MSc has been appointed by the ESM Board as Deputy Director of the ESM Secretariat. Courtney Jermyn has over ten years of international employment experience, working in multidisciplinary and multinational teams on various geological, geotechnical and dredging projects. She has ongoing experience in project management, business development and consultancy. Courtney Jermyn is a British and Canadian Citizen and lives in Pijnacker, The Netherlands. She studied Geology at the University of Waterloo where she received her BSc and continued her education at the University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, BC, Canada where she obtained her MSc in 2011. She has worked as a professional geologist and consultant in Canada and in The Netherlands. Courtney Jermyn has been involved in the Earth Science Matters Foundation since 2011 both conceptually and as a project developer.




Salt crystal x one billion times

Vienna, Austria’s capital, will witness a remarkable event this year, the exposition of a huge model of a salt crystal, magnified about one billion times, a potential world record indeed! This reports our National Focal Point for Austria, Dr. Robert Krickl. In fact this exposition is a major outreach contribution to the International Year of Crystallography, proclaimed by the United Nations for 2014.

This model consists of an over 3 m tall cube of 42,875 balls and almost 12 kms of sticks which nicely visualizes translational symmetry in 3D of a NaCl crystal. It shows the structure of the crystal and has the ambition to communicate the importance of materials exhibiting it (not just halite but also, PbS, MgO, ...) and related issues like natural resources, soil salinity, science and technology. Please check worldrecord.r-krickl.com.

Official registration for the Guinness Book of Records will take place in November 2015 in Vienna - along with presentations, guided tours and projects for general public and especially school- and kindergarden-children. The model is demountable and transportable and may serve didactic purposes wherever.

This huge crystal model is a fine tool to disseminate knowledge, to raise awareness and to communicate our science. Robert Krickl would be happy to provide more information (mail@r-Krickl.com).




Aberra Mogessie appointed new member of GSA International Committee

The Earth Science Matters (ESM) Foundation is happy to announce the appointment of ESM Board Member Aberra Mogessie as a Representative of an International Associated Society in the newly established International Committee of the Geological Society of America (GSA). In that capacity Aberra Mogessie will serve GSA amongst others to coordinate and communicate options to promote international cooperation and to build collaborative relations with GSA Divisions and Associated Societies in international issues. The International Committee consists of 12 voting members and Aberra Mogessie’s term will last until July 2018.


Participants of ESM’s meeting for National Focal Points in Dar es Salaam, August 2014.
ESM present at the YES and CAG25 Conferences in Dar es Salaam

Two important geoscientific conferences were held back-to-back from 11 – 15 August 2014, in the Julius Nyerere Conference Centre in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The conferences were attended by the Presidents of the YES Network, Wang Meng and the Geological Society of Africa (GSAf), Aberra Mogessie, both ESM Board members, together with the ESM Executive Director. Both conferences had a good attendance by African geoscientists and by a significant number of colleagues oversees. Apart from the YES Network and the GSAf several major international geoscientific organisations were represented, including the Geological Society of London, the Geological Society of America and EuroGeoSurveys. In Dar-es-Salaam ESM organised meetings for members of the ESM Board and with ESM’s National Focal Points. A plenary presentation was given on bridging geo-generations highlighting the joint ESM-YES BRIDGES Project. That topic gained significant interest also by the Tanzanian Government who invited ESM to kick-off the BRIDGES Project in Tanzania and implementation already started. Another presentation was given on Earth & Art during a special symposium on the power of art in conveying geoscientific messages.


   

Sospeter Muhongo appointed Patron of the Earth Science Matters Foundation

In February 2014 the ESM Board decided to appoint Sospeter Muhongo, currently Minister of Energy and Resources in the United Republic of Tanzania, Patron of the ESM Foundation. Patron is the highest category of recognition given to individuals in the ESM system. A plaque was presented to Sospeter Muhongo during the Opening Ceremony of the CAG25 Conference in Dar es Salaam, on 14 August. The laudatio by ESM’s Executive Director is given below.

Prof. Muhongo has a long standing reputation in the international Earth Sciences, not only conceptually but also in communicating the Earth sciences to society. Under the banner ’Earth Sciences for Society’, Prof. Muhongo has been deeply involved in the IUGS-UNESCO International Geoscience Programme IGCP, both in its management, in its restructuring and in communicating the results of this Programme to the benefit of humankind. In a comparable but more general way Prof. Muhongo did that in the framework of the International Council for Sciences, ICSU, where he headed the Regional Office in South Africa and where he demonstrated that science can make a big step forward in improving the basic needs of the African continent. In the same spirit he served as the President of the Geological Society of Africa for a six year period, from 1995 to 2001. It was therefore no surprise that Prof. Muhongo became actively involved in the UN proclaimed International Year of Planet Earth, a joint initiative of IUGS and UNESCO. In fact his input, together with that of Tanzanian UNESCO Representative Mohammed Sheya and the Director of UNESCO’s Earth Science Division Wolfgang Eder, paved the way towards a successful UN Proclamation for 2008. Prof. Muhongo became responsible for the Science Programme of the IYPE which resulted in publication of an impressive book series on almost all ten themes of the IYPE. The International Year of Planet Earth became quite a success, particularly in terms of outreach. Due to Prof. Muhongo’s efforts many African nations became part of the big IYPE family and contributed actively. Their contribution was highlighted at the African IYPE Launch Event held in Arusha in May 2008, in the presence of the President of the Republic and the UNESCO Director General. The IYPE, and more in particular the Global Launch Event in Paris, February 2008, has been the craddle of the Young Earth Science (YES) Network, where early-career African geoscientists have been key in developing this initiative to its current over 3000 membership. The International Year of Planet Earth was succeeded by the Earth Science Matters Foundation which particularly focussed on the successful but not yet fully exploited outreach aspects of the geosciences. Again, Prof. Muhongo has been a key player in this initiative through his Board position of this ESM Foundation. Tirelessly, he went on in getting African nations on board resulting in the currently highest representation of African nations as National Focal Points of the Earth Science Matters Foundation. When Prof. Muhongo became appointed as Minister of Energy and Minerals of the United Republic of Tanzania he stepped down as an ESM Board Member. The Earth Science Matters Foundation is very grateful for what Prof. Muhongo contributed to and achieved for the Earth sciences at international levels in general and for the promotion of the geosciences in particular. The ESM Board therefore decided to bestow Prof. Muhongo with the honours of Patronship of the Foundation. With the greatest pleasure I hand over the token of appreciation connected to the position, an honour granted to no other person yet.


   
View on the Pacifico Conference Centre in Yokohama, Japan, where the JpGU Conference was held.

ESM participation in Japan Geoscience Union (JpGU) meeting in Yokohama, 29 April to 2 May 2014

On invitation by the JpGU and sponsored by the new e-journal Progress on Earth and Planetary Sciences the ESM Executive Director attended the annual JpGU Conference in Yokohama, Japan. This annual geoscience meeting belongs to the largest in the world and attracted about 7,000 geoscientists, predominantly from Japan. Prof. Yukio Himiyama, the leader of the Human Geoscience section in Japan and Vice-President of the International Geographical Union invited ESM to address the audience in a Union Session on Future Earth. Prominent Japanese scientists highlighted various aspects on this major international science initiative which emerged from the Rio+20 Conference in 2012. ESM’s contribution to this session was entitled ‘How will Humanity survive and flourish on Future Planet Earth’. In this presentation the interaction between human activities and Planet Earth’ bearing capacity was explored. First, progress in the Earth sciences in the last five decades was highlighted. This was followed by a description of humanity’s evolution since 1950 and projected development towards 2050. This was done in term of global population, urbanization, living standard and environmental awareness. Next, geo-environmental pressures evoked by such developments on Planet Earth’ bearing capacity were described together with the type of adjustment and compensation generated by the Earth as a response to such pressures. Geoscientists might cope with such Earth responses by mobilizing significantly more human brain power through 2.7 billion additional and better educated people benefitting from exponentially increasing ICT potentials in the next few decades. Future Earth might be considered one of such concerted actions by the global scientific community. However, the geosciences in general are underrepresented in this initiative, and the solid Earth sciences are not represented at all in Future Earth’s Scientific Committee. ESM believes that this omission will disqualify Future Earth’s contribution to the global community. Addressing sustainability by coping with geo-environmental pressures requires more geo-brain power with more young people embarking on a professional career in the geosciences. Proper geoscience outreach is therefore indispensible. This presentation will be published in the second volume of PEPS soon. In the oral presentation all ESM Partners and Affiliates were highlighted.


   
Signing of the MoU between ESM and the Geological Survey of Iran. From left to right: Vice-Minister and GSI’s General Director Korehie, ESM National Focal Point Dr Alireza Gharagozlou, ESM Executive Director Eduardo de Mulder and YES President Wang Meng.

Sierd Cloetingh bestowed with Arthur Holmes Medal

At the European Geoscience Union’s General Assembly in April 2013 in Vienna, Austria, Earth Science Matters Board member Sierd Cloetingh received EGU’s most prestigious Arthur Holmes Medal for his exceptional contributions to solid Earth dynamics and in particular for his pioneer research in lithosphere evolution. Major international research programmes, as TOPO-Europe, are initiated and coordinated through his research group currently based in Utrecht University (the Netherlands) which attracted 60 PhD students from 20 nations to complete their thesis under his supervision. The Arthur Holmes Medal tops an impressive list of international awards bestowed on Prof. Cloetingh, who is a member of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council and the President of the International Lithosphere Program (ILP). The ILP is one of Earth Science Matters Partners from the beginning and has been represented on many international geological events through a joint booth. Sierd Cloetingh always had a keen eye to expose Earth scientific information to a wider audience and the Earth Science Matter Foundation is proud having this icon of international geoscientific research in its leadership!


   

Sierd Cloetingh bestowed with Arthur Holmes Medal

At the European Geoscience Union’s General Assembly in April 2013 in Vienna, Austria, Earth Science Matters Board member Sierd Cloetingh received EGU’s most prestigious Arthur Holmes Medal for his exceptional contributions to solid Earth dynamics and in particular for his pioneer research in lithosphere evolution. Major international research programmes, as TOPO-Europe, are initiated and coordinated through his research group currently based in Utrecht University (the Netherlands) which attracted 60 PhD students from 20 nations to complete their thesis under his supervision. The Arthur Holmes Medal tops an impressive list of international awards bestowed on Prof. Cloetingh, who is a member of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council and the President of the International Lithosphere Program (ILP). The ILP is one of Earth Science Matters Partners from the beginning and has been represented on many international geological events through a joint booth. Sierd Cloetingh always had a keen eye to expose Earth scientific information to a wider audience and the Earth Science Matter Foundation is proud having this icon of international geoscientific research in its leadership!


   
From left to right: Eduardo de Mulder (Director Earth Science Matters Foundation, Ms Balsam Wissam Al-Hashimi (Wissam Al-Hashimi’s daughter), Mrs Muatabar Hasan (Wissam Al-Hashimi’s widow), David Shilston (President Geological Society of London), and Ms Farah Wissam Al-Hashimi (Wissam Al-Hashimi’s daughter).

Commemoration ceremony Dr Wissam Al-Hashimi

On 12 February 2013 a ceremony was held in the Burlington House, home of the Geological Society in London, to commemorate Dr Wissam Al-Hashimi who was kidnapped, tortured and brutally killed by terrorists in August 2005, in Baghdad, Iraq.

Dr Wissam Al-Hashimi was Vice-President of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) from 1996-2002. In addition, he was the President of the Geological Society of Iraq and the Secretary-General of the Arab Geological Association (AGA) since 1993. Dr Al-Hashimi was an engineering geologist by profession with significant experience in underground construction. So that others could learn from his expertise, he was invited to contribute to the First International Conference on Sustainable Development and Management of the Subsurface, held in Utrecht, The Netherlands in 2003. His written contribution about the underground city of Al-Najaf in Iraq was presented in a recently published book: Sustainable Development and Management of the shallow Subsurface. This book was dedicated to Dr Wissam Al-Hashimi and to his legacy for the global geoscientific community.

At the ceremony, first copies of the book were presented to his widow Mrs. Muatabar Hasan and to his daughters Farah and Balsam Wissam-Al-Hashimi, who attended the ceremony in person together with other family members and friends, the President of the Geological Society of London, David Shilston, the President of the International Union of Geological Sciences represented by Dr Eduardo de Mulder, the authors of the book, the cultural attaché of the Iraqi Embassy in the UK and the Editor of Geoscientist magazine, Ted Nield.
Through a family member another first copy of the book was presented to Wissam’s daughter Mrs Tara Wissam Al-Hashimi, who was unable to attend.


Words of welcome were expressed by David Shilston, President of the Geological Society of London, and some highlights of the book were presented by co-author Dr Robert Hack. Based on his personal observations the significance of Dr. Al-Hashimi for the global geoscience community was expressed by Dr Eduardo de Mulder, co-author of the book and former President of the IUGS, whose term partly overlapped with that of Dr Al-Hashimi as Vice-President of this organisation. At the end of the ceremony some words of thanks were given on behalf of the Al-Hashimi by Mrs Muatabar Hasan.

The ceremony was recorded for broadcast on Iraqi National TV. The event was organised by the Geological Society of London, IUGS, the Earth Matters Foundation and by the authors of the book.




Earth Science Matters active in Africa
The Earth Science Matters Foundation participated in the 24th Colloquium of African Geology (CAG24) that was held in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) from 8-14 January 2013. This Colloquium which also celebrated the 40th birthday of the Geological Society of Africa (GSAf), was entitled Earth Sciences Solutions to African Development Challenges. Four hundred and fifty participants form more than 60 nations were registered and gathered in the Millennium Hall during a well organized international Conference. The Earth Science Matters Foundation was presented in three ways: through a presentation entitled The Earth Science Matters Foundation, a model for Geoscientific outreach, on 10 January, through a brainstorm session for National ESM Focal Points, held in the Bole Ambassador Hotel on 11 January, and through a joint exhibition (with IAMG, ILP, and GSAf) in the Millennium Hall during the entire Conference. The brainstorm session was attended by 18 persons and resulted in three new applications for National Focal Points (Sudan, Egypt and South Africa), bringing the number of nations representing ESM to 22, while 8 more nations are pending. Moreover, through participation by three members of the Young Earth Scientists (YES) Initiative, cooperation with the Foundation was strengthened resulting in new initiatives. That also holds for ESM cooperation with IUGS’s COGE Commission and not least with GSAf. A joint project proposal was developed for the GEO-ERA Programme in which the ESM is a partner. Finally, a one-page document was produced outlining the mandate, mission, position, long-term vision and short-term concrete actions.




Argentina honoured Professor Aberra Mogessie with the Leloir Prize
On 23 November 2012, Prof. Aberra Mogessie (Board member of the Earth Science Matters Foundation, President of the Geological Society of Africa, based in the Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Graz, Austria) was bestowed with one of Argentina's most prestigious prizes, the Federico Leloir Prize. This Prize, named after Dr Federico Leloir (1906-1987), the first Argentinean Nobel Laureate in Chemistry (1970), was given in recognition of the work by foreign experts who contributed significantly in promoting and strengthening cooperation in science, technology and innovation with Argentina, in the spirit of Leloir’s legacy. The Prize was provided by the Ministry of International Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation and handed over by the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Barañao at the Palacio San Martín in Buenos Aires.

 
National Focal Points for the Earth Science Matters Foundation
In August 2012, the Earth Science Matters Board decided to identify National ESM Focal Points in various countries around the globe. Such ESM Focal Points are individuals well positioned in their national earth scientific society who have a specific antenna for geoscience outreach. National Focal Points agreed to communicate relevant outreach oriented activities in their nation to the ESM Secretariat and to communicate such information from other nations in their own countries. We are proud to announce the first National Focal Points.




New Board member: Aberra Mogessie
To strengthen its ties with the African continent and to benefit from his extensive geoscientific networks the Earth Science Matters Foundation appointed Prof. Dr Aberra Mogessie as a Board member in its 2nd Board meeting held in Brisbane, Australia, August 2012. Prof. Mogessie is the President of the Geological Society of Africa (GSAf) which brings together all geoscientific entities in the continent. As a Professor of petrology Aberra Mogessie has served as Chairman of the Institute of Mineralogy and Petrology of the University of Graz, Austria and is at present serving as the Vice-President of the Austrian Mineralogical Society (OEMG). Prof. Mogessie is associated with a wide range of other professional geoscientific organizations. He is the 2011 recipient of the NMGS (Nigerian Mining and Geoscience Society) Award in Gold and a Plaque in honor of Prof. O. Oyawoye of Nigeria as a hard rock African Geologist. He is nominated and will be awarded the Luis Federico Leloir Prize to International Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation by the Argentinian Minister of Science in November 2012.




New Partner: The Geological Society of Africa
The Earth Science Matters Foundation is proud and happy to announce Partnership with the Geological Society of Africa (GSAf). This Society is the main geoscientific body representing scientists in almost all African nations. Spurred by the Geological Society of Africa, geoscientists in many African nations have been involved in the International Year of Planet Earth (2007-2009). As a follow-on activity of the IYPE, primarily focused on geoscientific outreach, Earth Science Matters looks forward to intense cooperation with the GSAf, also through the national ESM Focal Points currently being established throughout the continent. The Foundation will be represented in CAG24, the bi-annual Colloquium on African geosciences to be held in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) from 8-14 January 2013.




Board meeting in Brisbane, Australia
The Earth Science Matters Foundation held its second Board meeting on 6 August in Brisbane, Australia while benefitting of the gathering of many Earth scientists for the quadrennial International Geological Congress. A new Board member was appointed (Prof. Aberra Mogessie) and the Geological Society of Africa entered as a new Partner. In the meeting it was agreed to establish national Focal Points representing individual nations in the Foundation. A separate meeting was held for national Focal Points on 8 August. A Report prepared by Courtney Jermyn to apply social media for the Foundation was adopted. A wide variety of actual and potential projects amongst others dealing with Groundwater & Food Security, geo-education, Geoparks, awareness raising movies, support to International (UN) Years, was reviewed.




Sospeter Muhongo appointed Minister of Energy and Minerals
Congratulations to Earth Science Matters' Board member Prof. Dr Sospeter Muhongo who was appointed Minister of Energy and Minerals of the United Republic of Tanzania on 4 May 2012 by the President of the Republic. Through this significant appointment of one today's Earth scientific leaders the Foundation looks forward to further develop its relations with Earth science communities in Africa and beyond and to promote tabling Earth scientific issues on political agendas.



2011 Annual Report on the Earth Science Matters Foundation (pdf)



1st International Conference on African and Arabian Geoparks (El Jadida, Morocco, 20-28 November 2011)




Earth Science Matters - Brochure (pdf, 2.3 MB)




International Year of Planet
Earth - Final Report (pdf, 2.3 MB)