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Bruce Yardley appointed Chief Geologist

Bruce Yardley (Leeds University) has been appointed Chief Geologist by The Radioactive Waste Management Directorate (RWMD) of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

Chartership news

Chartership Officer Bill Gaskarth reports on a projected new logo for use by CGeols, advice on applications and company training schemes

Climate Change Statement Addendum

The Society has published an addendum to 'Climate Change: Evidence from the Geological Record' (November 2010) taking account of new research

Cracking up in Lincolnshire

Oliver Pritchard, Stephen Hallett, and Timothy Farewell consider the role of soil science in maintaining the British 'evolved road'

Critical metals

Kathryn Goodenough* on a Society-sponsored hunt for the rare metals that underpin new technologies

Déja vu all over again

As Nina Morgan Discovers, the debate over HS2 is nothing new...

Done proud

Ted Nield hails the new refurbished Council Room as evidence that the Society is growing up

Earth Science Week 2014

Fellows - renew, vote for Council, and volunteer for Earth Science Week 2014!  Also - who is honoured in the Society's Awards and Medals 2014.

Fookes celebrated

Peter Fookes (Imperial College, London) celebrated at Society event in honour of Engineering Group Working Parties and their reports

Geology - poor relation?

When are University Earth Science departments going to shed their outmoded obsession with maths, physics and chemistry?

Nancy Tupholme

Nancy Tupholme, Librarian of the Society and the Royal Society, has died, reports Wendy Cawthorne.

Power, splendour and high camp

Ted Nield reviews the refurbishment of the Council Room, Burlington House

The Sir Archibald Geikie Archive at Haslemere Educational Museum

You can help the Haslemere Educational Museum to identify subjects in Sir Archibald Geikie's amazing field notebook sketches, writes John Betterton.

Top bananas

Who are the top 100 UK practising scientists?  The Science Council knows...

Brickbat time


Geoscientist 22.03 April 2012

One of the mistakes that scientists frequently make whenever they turn their minds to matters of public awareness, is to think that all people at all times must do nothing other than fall on their rear ends in admiration. Anything less is so often taken as some kind of failure.
Now this would be all the more laughable if available evidence did not show that scientists are already among the more highly admired and respected of people in society. But heavens, let us not allow facts get in the way of a good prejudice, especially if it allows us to whimper alone in our rooms, which after all in this adolescent fantasy is the next best thing to being invited to parade through London on elephants. No, take it from me - the sure way to know you’ve made it is to find yourself attacked for never being off the telly. I am happy to say that such evidence is emerging.

First, the Guardian’s TV critic Sam Wollaston (no relation, we assume), offering his view on BBC’s Super Smart Animals, wrote of its presenter Liz Bonnin on 8 February: “She could have done more to show off her (genuine) science credentials as well as her lovely smile; but then it is a nice change to have a science programme that isn't some Scottish bloke banging on about rocks.” Ahem. I think we all know who you mean, Wollaston. And he’s from Glasgow, so I’d watch it if I were you.

Anyway, hardly had we stopped reeling from this piece of cheek when another BBC series The Great British Countryside, fronted by comedian Hugh Dennis and Countryfile’s Julia Bradbury, elicited the following opening sentence in a review by the Daily Telegraph’s Michael Deacon. Clearing his throat for a legitimate complaint about the little Englandism that so often overtakes popular lanscape-related programmes, he wrote: “You know Britain’s in a bad way when we’re reduced to bragging about our geology. Don’t worry about recession or cuts or unemployment – we’ve got some first-rate granite, and don’t let anyone tell you different.... On the soundtrack, strings soared majestically. It felt like the Last Night of the Proms, but with slightly more talk of magma.”

Well, now that they’re well sick of us on the telly, Nick Petford (no stranger to the box himself), urges us to spread our tedious dominion over the social networks too. Amen to that, say I. There can be no surer sign that one’s head – or another part of the anatomy – has made it above the parapet than some non-entity or other should decide to take a pot at it. I look forward eagerly to being de-friended and unfollowed anytime soon.