Quaternary hindsight

Quaternary – the last 2.6 million years of Earth history (click here for more detailed definition)
Hindsight – knowing what to do after the event

The 2012 Annual Discussion Meeting of the Quaternary Research Association, entitled Quaternary Science & Society, focused upon:

  1. The way in which observations of past environmental change can serve as “hindsight” with regard to the consequences of ongoing and predicted environmental and climatic change, and
  2. How scientists might best communicate scientific method and research findings effectively beyond academia, e.g. for policy makers, geoscience professionals and the general public.

Given the nature of this meeting it seems like an ideal subject for the first report on this blog. I will not cover details of all the talks here; however I hope to capture the key themes and highlight a range of interesting examples from this wide ranging and high quality scientific meeting. I will also try and provide links to external sites with further information on projects/researchers where appropriate.

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First blog post

January 2012.

Last year at the British Ecological Society symposium in Cambridge (Forests and Global Change) I very much enjoyed an evening talk by Ed Yong regarding science blogging and the purpose of blogging. I had always been slightly skeptical of blogs and failed to see the point of adding to the ever increasing mass of electronic ‘junk’. However, Ed got me interested… he writes the award winning blog Not Exactly Rocket Science and a great blogging advocate. The key point which grabbed my attention was that with a blog you can be now not only be “famous for 15 mins” but also “famous for 15 people”. Ed pointed out that this is particularly good news for academics who work in relatively small specialized fields so long as you are ‘famous’ for the right 15 people the blog is worthwhile. Anyway, I thought about this for some time trying to work out who might be the right 15 for me; I have outlined the my conclusions on the “Aims” page of this blog. Then I thought that the start of 2012 and the busy academic schedule for January was as good a time to start as any.

So here goes… If things go according to plan hopefully posts on Quaternary Research Association annual discussion meeting “Quaternary Science and Society” (4-6th Jan), the PAGES “Biodiversity” meeting (9-11th Jan) and Hutton Club Lecture in Edinburgh (13th Jan).