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Steady as she goes - Founders' Dinner 2009 - Industrial Bursaries

Professor Lynne Frostick PGSDues to remain fixed at current levels, votes AGM

Geoscientist 19.7 July 2009

Fellowship dues will be held steady, following a resolution at the Annual General Meeting, President’s Day (June 3). In view of the current financial downturn and low inflation, Fellows voted to keep all dues levels where they are for the time being.

A new category, Junior Candidate Fellow, was also approved. Due to increasing demand from younger geoscientists, it had become apparent that the GSL needed to introduce a 'Junior Candidate Fellowship' to its list of categories of membership. This level of membership will be open to all those from 16 years up who are not yet at University and have an interest in Earth sciences. They will enjoy similar entitlements to Candidate Fellows, including Geoscientist magazine, use of the library, and allocated membership of a regional group. In addition, where relevant and appropriate, JCF's will be able to attend meetings at a discounted rates.

A week later, at the June Shell London Lecture (Speaker – Rachel Wood) the Society launched another new membership category – “Friend”. A Friend of the Geological Society will be someone who, while not qualifying for any existing category of membership, supports the work of the Society and wishes to be associated with it. The clear market for this new category has become evident as a result of the amazing success of the Shell London Lecture Series. These are regularly sold out and many are now presented in matinée performances to cope with the demand. Among other privileges, Friends will receive a monthly copy of Geoscientist.

Edmund Nickless told Geoscientist: “This new category shows the Society is reaching out to a whole new community, which we have been able to do thanks to the vision and generosity of our sponsors, Shell, who have supported our public outreach programme since Bicentenary Year. We look forward to building links with many more interested lay people as we develop this exciting new scheme”.

A similar scheme will also be created for schools, who will be able to affiliate with the Society, in a similar way to the Society’s existing Corporate Affiliates. The full package of educational benefits is yet to be worked out in detail, but it will include – you guessed it – copies of Geoscientist! TN

DarwinOn 12 November, the eve of Founders’ Day, the Society will celebrate Darwin’s Wollaston Medal with a black tie dinner and pre-dinner talk, writes Dawne Riddle.

Eleven good men and true, and two absent friends, signed the founding document of the Society at the Freemason’s Tavern, Great Queen Street, London on 13 November 1807. To mark the event, the Society instituted a Founders’ Day dinner in 2008, to build upon the great success of the Bicentenary dinners held on the 12th and 13th of November 2007. This year the new tradition continues.

Advertisements for the dinner will appear in due course, but the evening will follow a similar plan to 2008, with a lecture beforehand in Burlington House, followed by dinner at the nearby Méridien Hotel, Piccadilly (Chef de cuisine – Marco Pierre White). This year the sense of occasion will be heightened by black tie.

The Society is fortunate in having attracted a topical speaker of the highest calibre – previous winner of the Sue Tyler Friedman Medal, historian of science Prof. Jim Secord, Director of the Darwin Correspondence Projectat the University of Cambridge. His talk will be titled Charles Darwin and the World of Geology.

It is a little known fact that, as well as being the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species and the 200th birthday of its author, 2009 is also the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s Wollaston Medal – the highest honour conferred by the Geological Society, and first awarded to William Smith in 1831. Darwin won the medal for pioneering work on the structural uplift of the Andes and his theory of the origin of coral reefs. Over 75% of Darwin’s notes from the Beagle voyage consist of geological observations, and after the voyage his primary reputation was as a geologist. His books were widely discussed and his spectacular vertebrate fossils were on public show in London. He wrote on petrology, invertebrate palaeontology, and the action of worms in transforming the earth. In his most celebrated work, Darwin used a geological approach to solve that 'mystery of mysteries', the origin of new species.

So – put November 12 in your diaries now, and watch future Geoscientists for the advertisement.

Industrial bursariesThe Society is supporting an Industrial Bursary scheme at Portsmouth University to assist the training of engineering geologists, reports Dawne Riddle.

Eight bursaries in total are on offer, one from GSL and seven from industry. The Industrial Alliance Bursary Scheme (ABS) for the Portsmouth BEng (Hons) Engineering Geology & Geotechnics (Sandwich) is aimed at boosting recruitment to at least 25 graduating students per year, and to halt a recent downward trend against a background of a falling demographic.

Led by Nick Koor, the staff involved are Dr Malcolm Whitworth, David Giles, Andrew Poulson, Nick Walton and Dr Andrew Gibson. Students will follow a four-year course including an industrial placement in year three, and field mapping (including hazard mapping) in the French Alps.

Nick Koor says: “The scheme aims to increase the pool of talented, employable engineering geologists and geotechnical engineers in the UK, and forge stronger links between the department and the ground engineering industry.” Sponsors gain access to the best students and have an input into curriculum development.