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From the GS President (#131)

head_brantley.jpg: Susan L. Brantley
Prof. Susan L. Brantley

Last summer, approximately 1250 participants attended the Melbourne Goldschmidt conference. As of May 1, the organizers of the Cologne Goldschmidt conference have received approximately 2400 abstracts! In general, the Goldschmidt conferences in Europe are larger than the conferences held in North America, but these meetings have been growing on both sides of the Atlantic.

The conferences are organized by the Geochemical Society when they are in North America and by the European Association of Geochemistry when they are in Europe. The two societies have occasionally decided to run meetings outside of the North America-Europe rotation (e.g. Japan and Australia), but we have no current plans to do this in the foreseeable future.

Currently, we are seeking draft proposals to host the 2010 and 2012 conferences in North America. If you have ever run a large meeting, you know that reserving conference and hotel facilities well in advance in North America is a requirement. I am writing this letter to encourage geochemists to consider hosting a conference. We have one absolutely excellent proposal for 2010 but for backup purposes we would love to have at least one more. A group that proposes for 2010 but does not host the meeting in 2010 might become the winner to host the 2012 conference.

Of course, our meetings have become very large and this represents a significant responsibility and privilege for organizers. Seth Davis, our business manager for the GS, is now in charge of helping to coordinate with the conference organizers. We also have accumulated significant experience in terms of running these meetings. For example, most recently, Scott Wood (Univ of Idaho) and Mike Hochella (Virginia Tech) ran meetings and can be emailed for advice. Information about running Goldschmidt meetings is contained in the Goldschmidt Organizer's Handbook. The GS has also discussed and will continue discussing whether it is a good idea to retain a professional conference organizer to facilitate these meetings.

The EAG is discussing whether the Goldschmidt in Europe should always return to Davos Switzerland (the proposed site for 2009). Obviously, returning to a site every year would make organizational tasks easier. The GS will also be discussing such a possibility as well, and I solicit GS member opinions on this idea. Would you like to see the Goldschmidt meeting held in the same place every other year in North America? If so, where would you like it to be held?

On other topics, I would like to mention that we have changed our procedure for choosing the Vice President and other officers of the society. We are currently seeking nominations for these positions and you should have received an email requesting your participation in our new procedure. We hope this will open up the society to new participants and new voices.

On a personal note, I would also like to express my personal condolences and support to my geochemical and geological colleagues at Virginia Tech after the horrifying events this past month. I am sure that the entire membership of the GS have been thinking of our colleagues as they heal from the trauma inflicted upon their campus.

Susan L. Brantley, President of the Geochemical Society
Earth and Environmental Sciences Institute
Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802
brantley@eesi.psu.edu