“... People really do not change unless they continue to learn.”
As I am writing this column I am returning from the first European Region field workshop held in Mallorca, Spain. Once again, I am wondering how close the airlines are going to move the seats (my knees are now arm rests for the person in front of me), and eating food that nobody would touch in a regular restaurant.
Before I left, I heard on the news that some airline is testing a system to strap passengers onto boards so we can stand up the whole trip. Maybe it would be easier to swallow the food!
In any case, sitting or standing, Mallorca was worth the trip, because it brought me back to the roots and essence of our society.
The Mallorca conference was titled “Architecture of Carbonate Systems Through Time.” This conference was primarily focused on Mesozoic and Tertiary carbonate strata in the circum-Mediterranean and Middle East. It lasted three days and included oral sessions followed by poster sessions each morning and afternoon.
The conference was hosted by the AAPG European Region, and the conference organizers were led by general chair Mateu Esteban.
Approximately 140 people attended, so it was about the size of a large Hedberg conference.
One of the great parts of any conference is the people. The attendees were from all over the world, and each Region and most of the Sections were represented.
The important part was the power of the pure passion for science.
In our quest to provide service and products to members we often focus on membership problems, business issues or delivery of products and services. At the conference I was reminded that “science” and the ability to wrestle scientific questions with one’s peers is one of the key dynamics that drive people to be part of our Association.
At the end of each day there was general discussion on the things we had learned and what problems needed additional consideration.
There was considerable debate about the need for carbonate reference models. Some thought models were essential; others felt it would be better to build a dataset of parameters that would help each worker build models for each unique situation. This was a revelation to me -- and I realized that this is something that AAPG should and could help facilitate.
Also, there was general recognition of the role AAPG played in developing modern analogues during the 1960s and 70s. Several participants lamented the fact that there are only a few groups working on modern analogs and there has been little work on modern carbonates published since that time. Most agreed to the need for additional work in modern carbonates.
Again I asked, “Is there someway for AAPG to facilitate?”
All the discussion, talks and posters opened my eyes again to AAPG’s prime directive -- the dissemination of scientific data. That “science” represents the heart of AAPG. This group of diverse participants representing industry, academia and government institutions is one of the several nuclei of leaders that help foster new ideas and ultimately new processes and information for use and development by all AAPG members and other interested entities.
When I was a kid I liked to throw a handful of small pebbles into the center of a large pond. The small wave rings would grow and interfere, but would ultimately form a larger ring that covered the pond. Results from scientific presentations at meetings or in publications are part of the “scientific ring” of information that grows over time to be used by the largest company to the smallest consultant.
I am convinced that people really do not change unless they continue to learn. It is that essence of learning and its ultimate distribution to interested professionals that make an association of geoscientists, like AAPG, valuable and unique.
By now we have been on the plane for over eight hours, and everybody looks like they were at an all night party -- including myself. The flight attendants just served the pre-landing snack and we are all eating like bears just out of hibernation.
Who said travel was glamorous?