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A Preview of Goldschmidt 2007: Cologne, Germany

The 17th annual V.M. Goldschmidt Conference will take place August 19 - 24, 2007 on the premises of the University of Cologne in Germany. The local organizing committee (LOC) invites you to come and discover the unique blend of geology and culture that Cologne has to offer. In spite of the location of the conference at the heart of Europe, the organizing committee has striven to keep costs low (310 € for members and 200 € for studens) so that students and younger scientists are attracted to this major crossroad of transport, culture and, we hope, geochemistry.

Important Dates

Abstract submission will be open at the conference web site on February 1, 2007, and the deadline for submission of abstracts is April 19, 2007. Early registration and booking of field trips will open at the same time on February 1, 2007. The field trip to Santorini and Crete will close at the beginning of March in order to locate inexpensive flights.


Cologne is Germany's fourth largest city. Founded by the Romans nearly two thousand years ago, this city on the Rhine River has been since the middle ages one of the largest and most important in northwestern Europe. Its splendid medieval cathedral, completed in the nineteenth century, was briefly the world's tallest building. The city's Aerial view of Colognehistoric core or Altstadt includes in addition twelve important Romanesque churches and a plethora of major art museums. Cologne is also the center of Germany's thriving contemporary art scene. The park lining the river provides an ideal place to take a stroll, sample the fine local beer (Kölsch), and watch the boats on what remains one of the world's busiest rivers.

The conference will take place on the premises of Cologne University. Located just to the west of the old city (20 minute walk), the university opens onto the substantial park system that rings the city. Neighboring the campus as well are a lively student district and one of Europe's principal museums of East Asian art. The central lecture hall cluster and additional lecture halls in the main building of the University of Cologne will be the venue for all talks while posters will be presented in the upper part of the university dining hall, a modern building 200 meters to the east of the main building. A total area of 1200 square meters will be available for posters. Numerous hotels and pensions of various price categories are within walking distance. The banks of the Rhine and the cathedral can be reached within ten minutes by frequent tram service.

Cologne is the principal departure point for tourists wishing to drive, take the train, or cruise along the scenic Rhine River valley directly to the south of the city. The stretch of the river from Cologne to Heidelberg is one of Europe's most famous tourist attractions. The valley of the Mosel, a tributary of the Rhine, is equally beautiful, and leads to Trier, whose Roman buildings are the best preserved in northern Europe. Both rivers are lined with vineyards producing some of Germany's most celebrated wines. This scenic stretch is also the site of volcanism related to rifting, and attractions such as voluminous silicic volcanics of the Siebengebirge and the famous Eifel basalts with their mantle xenoliths are within easy reach of the city, crisscrossed by hiking and bike paths. The river Rhine itself is of course the object of one of the most remarkable and successful geochemical clean up stories, while weathering of the blocks of Siebengebirge volcanics that make up the cathedral document palpably the interaction of civilization with natural objects.

Excellent public transportation connects the university neighborhood to the rest of the city. The main train station is one of the hubs of international train travel in Europe, with frequent service to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt. It is also connected by train through the Chunnel to London. The Cologne-Bonn airport is small but has several international connections, including flights of the low cost Ryan Airlines and German Wings. High-speed train service links the city directly with major airports at Dusseldorf (30 minutes) and Frankfurt (1 hour).

Food, drinks and the evening scene

This cosmopolitan city known for its carnival celebrations is also a center of German television and news media with a lively music and theater scene for all tastes. The city is the home of the Kölner Philharmonic, there are numerous jazz groups that perform in the local pubs, and discotheques dot the well-frequented ring roads. Take in a concert during your visit to the city, stop by at one of the numerous local pubs to relish the unique local beer or taste the wine from the neighboring regions. The city offers a wide choice of cuisines in restaurants of all categories, including local specialties. You may want to discover what a Rheinischer Sauerbraten is during your visit.


The conference will begin late afternoon on Sunday with registration and an icebreaker in the mensa building. Scientific sessions will start at 8:30 in the morning on each of the following days. A plenary lecture each day will track the origin and evolution of the Earth, commencing from its dusty beginning on Monday and concluding with the appearance of life on the fifth day. Late mornings and early afternoons will be devoted to symposia in some 14 lecture halls. Poster sessions will be held in the later afternoon of Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. An area of 1200 square meters on the second floor of the mensa building will be reserved for posters, with beer from Cologne (Kölsch) on hand to facilitate the free flow of thoughts. Wednesday afternoon will be free for visiting the city and for small excursions in the surrounding area, e.g. a visit to Bonn or the Neanderthal Museum near Düsseldorf. . In the evening the conference dinner will be served in the Gürzenich, the traditional ballroom and reception hall of the City Council (dating from 1444) which was restored after the war and redeveloped in 1996-98 to become a stylish congress and special events centre. Award ceremonies of the sponsoring societies will be held before the dinner. The two Crawfoord Prize winners in Earth sciences from 1986, C. J. Allègre and G. J. Wasserburg promised to come to the meeting and address the audience. The conference will end Friday afternoon with a farewell party. Details of the program are available from the conference website.

Map of conference site

A Cologne campus map (216K PDF) shows the location of the main building of the university with the aula for plenary lectures, the Lecture Hall Building with four large lecture halls and several smaller conference rooms. The WISO building comprises four large lecture halls: Several smaller rooms for lectures are located between the WISO lecture halls and the main building.


Cologne has more than 230 hotels with a capacity of some 17,000 beds. Koeln Tourismus will help you with making reservation. They have prepared a special form for reservation← that may be e-mailed or sent by fax.


Detailed information on how to reach Cologne is given on the conference home page. If you arrive by car there is a large free parking area on Universitätsstrasse, five minutes away from the Conference Center. All participants will receive a weekly ticket for the public transportation system in Cologne, which makes it very easy to get around.

Social Events

As mentioned above the conference banquet will be held in the Gürzenich in the old city, reputed to be the oldest party hall (ca. 570 years) in Europe. It is a main hub of the famous Carnival celebrations but has also played host to more serious gatherings such as that of the G8 summit.

Field Trips

A number of one and two day field trips are planned:

  • A one day trip to the 13ka Laacher See Volcano and the Quaternary East Eifel Volcanic Field.
  • A one day trip to the West Eifel Volcanic Field.
  • A one day volcanic hike in the Tertiary Siebengebirge explosive subaqueous eruptions, syn-volcanic intrusions and medieval castles.
  • A three day trip to the impact structure at Nördlinger Ries, S. Germany.
  • A five day trip to a crustal cross-section - Ivrea Zone/North Italy.
  • A ten day trip to Santorini and Crete (Greece)- Quaternary arc volcanism and Tertiary high P/T metamorphism in the South Aegean.

Details of the excursions will be posted on the conference website.

S. Chakraborty, H. Palme