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From the GS President (#132)

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

As I write this, I am looking forward to the Cologne Goldschmidt conference where more than 2000 geochemists will gather. These 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.

Currently, we are still 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. For a number of months we have been soliciting self-nominations for conference teams and venues. We have one absolutely excellent proposal for 2010 but we would love to have at least one more for backup or for 2012.

Why aren't we seeing more volunteers to run the Goldschmidt? Of course, our meetings have become very large and this represents a significant responsibility and privilege for organizers. Even though Seth Davis, our GS business manager, is now in charge of helping to coordinate with the conference organizers, the job of organizing is still huge. I personally believe that the GS may need to retain a professional conference organizer to facilitate these meetings. However, the last time I floated this idea at a GS Executive meeting, it was not positively received. Several geochemists argued that part of the charm of the Goldschmidt meeting is that it changes 'flavor' every time.

Another option would be to hold the Goldschmidt meeting at the same venue every other year in the U.S. For example, given the extremely large numbers at the European Goldschmidt 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. I would like to hear from the membership: Would you like to see the Goldschmidt meeting held in the same place every other year in North America, and if so, where would you like it to be held? If you do not like the idea of holding the Goldschmidt in the same venue every other year in North America, then are you in favor of retention of a professional organizer by the GS?

I would like to end on a personal note. I would like to express my personal sadness about the loss of Professor Hal Helgeson. Hal died of cancer on May 28, 2007 in Alta Bates Hospital, Berkeley, California. Born in 1931, he was internationally known for his insights and contributions with respect to all aspects of theoretical geochemistry from high- to low-temperature. The mark he has left on geochemistry is profound, ranging from significant theoretical advances, to his many excellent students, to the oft-told Helgeson stories. He will be missed greatly by all but especially by the many 'Friends of Prediction Central'. Hal served as a director of the Geochemical Society from 1973-1976. He also received the prestigious Goldschmidt medal from the Geochemical Society in 1988. It was well deserved and his dynamic presence will be well missed.

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