Vienna: One of the most culturally rich and diverse capital cities in the world and home to this years’ European Geosciences Union (EGU) annual meeting. I was fortunate enough to attend this meeting during the first part of the week in order to present some of my research.
Situated in the Vienna International Centre, the EGU conference is one of the largest geoscience conferences in the world with over 12,000 attendees throughout the course of 5 days. Hundreds of presentations and thousands of posters are presented through the course of the week, with topics ranging from nanoscale particles to analysing the surfaces of planets and everything in between.
The session in which I was presenting had a format unique to EGU – it was a PICO session. PICO stands for Presenting Interactive COntent and is designed to provide a lightning-fast overview of research before then discussing the project in the following 90 minute time slot. During this session, the interactivity comes into play with touchscreens allowing any interested individual or party to browse through the projects on display. The scientists can then discuss their projects with the interested parties using the touchscreen to aid their discussion with presentations, videos, and any other uploaded content.
As such, the PICO sessions are an interactive mixture of both oral and poster presentations and exploit the best of both types of presentation for everyone’s benefit. In my session, my co-presenters and I had 2 minutes each to present the ‘essence’ or overview of our topics prior to the 90 minute interactive period. It’s the first interactive presentation session that I have attended and it was certainly a rewarding experience! I think it would certainly be worthwhile implementing this format at other conferences and meetings and if touchscreen are not available, posters would also work well.
The topic I was presenting revolved around the ongoing experiments taking place here in Manchester for my PhD project, namely analyses of lunar soils using infrared light. Mid-infrared light has a wavelength range of 3-15 µm (far longer wavelengths than visible light which is around 100s nm) and can provide valuable information about the minerals present in a geological sample (such as a rock or powder).
One of the unique methods taking place in Manchester is the ability to map these geological samples at high resolution in infrared wavelengths. It provides us with more information than conventional infrared measurements (that collect a single average spectrum of a sample) and doesn’t damage the sample in any way. This makes it an extremely useful technique to analyse lunar samples (as we really don’t want to damage them!) and to determine what minerals are present in powders from the different Apollo landing sites.
However, it wasn’t all work and Vienna is a beautiful city! I was lucky enough to spend couple of hours in the Natural History Museum, where there are 5 halls dedicated to geological samples and 1 hall purely of meteorites and Moon rocks!
For the meteorite collection alone, it’s worth visiting Vienna! Image: Dayl Martin
Finally, I would like to say huge thank you to the European Geophysical Union for funding early career participants, of which I was lucky enough to receive funding in order to attend the conference.