4th International Geosciences Student Conference 2013 Berlin, Germany
From 25 to 28 April 2013, the Student Geoscientific Society Berlin & Potsdam and its SEG and EAGE Student Chapters hosted the 4th International Geosciences Student Conference (IGSC) in Berlin, Germany. 328 delegates from 22 countries realized the IGSC 2013 as their mutual opportunity to spread the vision of Inspiring Change from the heart of Europe to the world. The planning, organization and implementation of the conference have been exclusively done by the organizing committee which was a group of 21 students. They established the contacts to several professionals, societies and companies which participated in the conference as well.
"Geoscientists use very different time scales and tools from physics, chemistry, mathematics, and biology to develop a comprehensive understanding of the Earth system processes. Still, we are united as one geoscience community and can use our precious and yet fleeting time on Earth to play a vital part in Inspiring Change in the geosciences and society." - Aurelian Röser (SGS e.V. Chairman)
The IGSC 2013 Technical Program provided a unique platform to unite past, present, and future of the geosciences. Students and young professionals from all geoscience disciplines showed their research results in 61 oral and 44 poster presentations. The program offered four themes which were subdivided in 23 topics for which students could submit their abstracts: Sustainable Living, Hazards & Risks, Resources & Energy and Fundamental Research. Experts from industry and academia informed the delegates about the latest job opportunities at a recruitment exhibition and shared their experience in eleven high-quality lectures, short courses, workshops, and field trips.
SGS Geosciences Slam
A highlight of the technical program was the SGS Geosciences Slam, which was held the first time ever on an IGSC. It provided the contestants with an opportunity to present their scientific research in an entertaining, maybe even tongue-in-cheek, but always informative manner to a non-expert audience. According to the tradition of the popular sciences slams, the performer had ten minutes to impress the audience with an entertaining and informative presentation on a geoscience topic of their choice. The slammer whose presentation created the loudest crowd reaction was declared the first SGS Geosciences Slam Champion: Ralf Milke (Freie Universitaet Berlin) won the trophy by elating the audience with his presentation on "Is it opal? How to drink beer for science."
SEG European Challenge Bowl
The SEG Challenge Bowl is an official student program of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, which challenges students' breadth and depth of knowledge about geophysics, geology and SEG. So far, the European edition of that contest was commonly held in conjunction with the International Geosciences Student Conferences. Teams of two SEG student members per university competed in a quiz show format against other teams from all over Europe. The winning team represented Europe at the SEG Challenge Bowl Finals at the SEG Annual Meeting 2013 in Houston, Texas: Igor Karpov and Sergey Yaskevich (both Novosibirsk State University) demonstrated their outstanding technical knowledge as champions.
As closing events four 1-day-field trips were provided. The participants had the chance to explore the geoscientific side of the Berlin-Brandenburg Metropolitan Region in an exciting way:
Albert Einstein Science Park, Potsdam
Geoscientific research on Telegrafenberg in Potsdam goes back to 1876 and lists milestones as the first recording of a teleseismic event in 1889. Today, the Albert Einstein Science Park accommodates a unique gathering of leading-edge research institutes. The German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), the Potsdam Research Unit of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) and the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics (AIP) invited the participants to visit their state-of-the-art research facilities. In the afternoon, the group partook in a guided tour by GFZ and AIP along the many architectural highlights of the classical English country garden setting on Telegrafenberg.
Berlin Dark Worlds & Geological Sightseeing, Berlin
Berlin's versatile architecture reflects manifold aspects of the periods in European history. With a special focus on the ashlars of claddings and columns, a Berlin city guide took the participants on a geological sightseeing tour along the buildings and monuments at Pariser Platz at the western end of Berlin's famous central boulevard Unter den Linden. A Berlin Underworlds guide further lead the group in exploring the twisting passages and rooms of one of the few remaining bunkers from the World War II air-raids at Berlin Gesundbrunnen.
Welzow Süd Lignite Mine, Welzow
The Welzow Süd Lignite Mine is an open pit mine in Spree-Neiße county south-east of Berlin. 20 million tonnes of lignite per year are used for power generation at the nearby Schwarze Pumpe Power Station. The participants explored the mine by coach and visited the coal seam and mining machines like the F60. This overburden conveyor bridge is the largest movable technical industrial machine in the world.
Quaternary Hike, Horstfelde
The Quaternary is not only characterized by the appearance and expansion of man, but also by a well-documented series of glaciations. Berlin is located in a very distinct glacial landscape dominated by ice wedges, glacial till, fluvial gravel sands, clays, and other glaciolimnic quaternary deposits. The field trip took place in Horstfelde 40 km south of Berlin. There a Quaternary expert guided the participants on a 10-kilometer hike along exciting quaternary phenomena in clay, sand, and gravel pits.
Social Program and Networking
In addition to the technical program and recruitment exhibition several events have been set up which gave the opportunity to socialize and network. The IGSC 2013 Social Program kicked off with the opening ceremony and icebreaker reception, which brought together delegates and geoscience professionals from the Berlin-Brandenburg Metropolitan Region for welcoming speeches, live music performances, and a special motivational keynote by Alessandro Airo (Freie Universitaet Berlin). The closing ceremony was held in the afternoon before the Farewell Gala began.
Praehistorica Conference Evening
The largest museum of natural history in Germany, the Museum für Naturkunde, served as an exclusive location for the IGSC 2013 Conference Evening. World-famous fossil celebrities, such as the largest mounted dinosaur in the world and the most exquisitely preserved specimen of the primeval bird Archaeopteryx awaited the attendees with free food and drinks in a unique atmosphere in the nightly illuminated museum building. Since its establishment in 1810, the collections of the MfN have become so extensive that today less than one in 5 000 of the more than 30 million specimens is exhibited. The attendees could partake in one of six guided tours before the beginning of the conference evening for a special insight into those parts of the museum which were normally not open to the public.
The Farewell Gala took place in a clubrestaurant in the famous district of Berlin-Kreuzberg. Delegates and guests could relax, network, and reflect on their conference experience with drinks and music at an outdoor lounge at pleasant spring temperatures and direct access to Berlin's main river Spree. Everyone with some energy left could bring the conference to a glorious end with dancing throughout the night on a spacious indoor dance floor with live music. The grand finale of the 4th International Geosciences Student Conference has certainly left a lasting final impression on everyone.
We had a total of 328 delegates attending the 4th IGSC in Berlin. The diagram on the right shows how many people from which country were absent. The strongest formation were delegates from Germany. Our neighbors from Poland represented the second largest student group. With more than 32 attendees Romania became the third largest group. It is noticeable that there were 15 attendees from Russia and 14 from Serbia. All five biggest groups did already organize an IGSC in their home country. With less than 12 attendees we had students from as far as Indonesia and Malaysia but also USA. It wasn´t unnoticed that there has also been a total number of 23 students from Western and Northern Europe (France, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden and Norway) attending the conference. In that time, the support by students from Western Europe has never been as high as in Berlin.
As first IGSC we have had a camera team filming the event. Every night we published a podcast resuming the whole day. All delegates can now easily recall all the beautiful memory they have made. To get an impression about how the IGSC 2013 was please watch the four short videos below.
IGSC 2013 Organizing Committee
In random order:
Aurelian Röser, Manuel Quiring, Florian Motz, Julio Galindo Guerreros, Karsten Stürmer, Christian Böhnke, Ramona Niemann, Friederike-Josephine Fußek, Jonas Küster, Lennart Brüning, Robert Roskoden, Sascha Kuske, Aglaja Blanke, Lucinda Gürlich, Sven Ziegler, Sebastian Schmidt, Nikolas Martin, Jonas Folesky, Daniel Jost, Daniel Donat, Annette Leuschner
- The slogan for the conference was “Inspiring change”
- The prior planning phase took 21 months for this 4-days event.
- The rock in the background of the IGSC logo has the shape of Berlin
- The venue for the conference was the Henry-Ford-Building of Freie Universitaet Berlin
- The recruitment exhibition comprised 11 booths
- A personal experience written by Aurelian Röser as well as more facts, figures and pictures on the page of Student Geoscientific Society
- Official page of the 4th International Geosciences Student Conference 2013
- The 4th International Geosciences Student Conference 2013 on facebook
- Page of the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin - MfN (english language)
- Page of the German Research Centre for Geosciences - GFZ (english language)
- Page of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research - AWI (english language)
- Page of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics - AIP (english language)