13 December 2009
36 years ago, I attended my first AGU meeting. I was a student studying Earth and planetary science at Harvard. It was an exciting time: We were working on the returned Apollo moon rock samples and I was also pursuing other research directions on Earth rocks. Held in Washington D.C. in spring, my first AGU meeting was THE meeting for Earth scientists at the time and was a tremendous eye-opener for me. I was totally taken in by the excitement that I felt–the stimulation and cross-communication, the partnerships being forged, and the discussions on how best to pursue science for science’s sake and how to use science to directly solve society’s problems. The intensity of my first AGU meeting made a lasting impression on me.
It was not until years later (1981), after I had gotten my first faculty job as an assistant professor at MIT, that I made it to the Fall Meeting. I presented a paper there on my work on the igneous processes that were preserved in the lavas from Medicine Lake volcano in California. It think that the publication that resulted from my first Fall Meeting abstract had a lot to do with me getting tenure at MIT. Again the intensity, that interest and willingness to talk, discuss, and sometimes even argue about what we were presenting really was compelling.
That meeting in 1981 got me hooked on the Fall Meeting and I have been coming every year since. The meeting has grown and grown—this year’s attendance promises to reach more than 16,000, about 42% more than attendance 5 years ago—but it still feels like my intellectual home. I still feel exhilarated when I walk into a hall full of posters and hear that quiet, intense buzz of techno-babble that means people are totally into their science and are building collaborations, uncovering new research avenues, advancing their careers, and solving today’s problems.
Welcome, and I hope you will enjoy this meeting!
–Tim Grove, AGU President