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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...

The real thing


Geoscientist 22.04 May 2012

If any scientific tribe can be expected to understand the inevitability of change, it must surely be geologists. After all, we have seen it all before, and worse. Yet, increasing age can still cause any of us to rebel - even against changes we know are not only inevitable but necessary and desirable.

How many readers, for example, secretly ask themselves the question that dare not speak its name – namely, ‘how much longer they are going to have to put up with climatology masquerading’ (go on, admit it, that’s the word you mean) ‘as geology?’ Nature Geoscience and Nature Climate Change have become barely distinguishable. Why are we to be expected to care about prediction when, as any fule kno, geology’s essential charm lies in the past? And when can we go back to what really interests us orthogeologists – namely, finding out what stuff is where, what is the same age as what, which way up it is, how it got there, and whether it’s worth digging it up?

Recent anxieties expressed in these pages over the future of micropalaeontology - continued this week in Soapbox  - seem to crystallise just how out-of-joint the world has become when we find ourselves in this recidivist mood. Palynology, for example, used to be - and possibly still is, an area where industrial interest arguably outweighed the scientific. It may not have been that rewarding intellectually, splashing HF about and classifying microscopic flecks. But, by all that’s mucky and trilete, there was brass to be had in it. Was not such useful research exactly the sort of industrial grist that universities in the 1980s were expected to produce? What happened?

Well, while you put some effort into snapping out of it, I hope our two features this week amply prove that modern geoscience that is still recognisable as geology is yet pursued with pleasure and profit by both academe and industry. And anyone prone to Daily Mail moments about the state of Earth science can take Hertfordshire. Here, the home county of the puddingstone that features so prominently in our case for the deep-time perspective in climate change, has received a scientifically up-to-date but spiritually old-fashioned treatment, reviewed in this issue and featured in an Online Special by its Editor, John Catt. This fine book is a worthy successor to the county monographs of Robert Plot and is today a pleasing antidote to be taken whenever you are tempted to say scrotum humanum to the modern, future-obsessed world.