This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Distinguished Lecture Program, one of the oldest and most prestigious programs of AAPG.
The program selects scientific leaders from every corner of petroleum geology to create and share lectures at affiliated societies and universities around the world.
The Association created the program in 1941 and it consisted of four lecturers who visited nine locations during the year. Word began to spread and the program grew to include 23 locations the following year.
Today it reaches more than 650 locations, with plans in place to make it more efficient while maintaining its effectiveness in sharing science to more people than ever before.
The mission of the Distinguished Lecture Program reflects the mission of the Association, which is to foster scientific research, advance the science of geology, promote technology and inspire high professional conduct.
“It brings international geoscience experts to audiences that do not normally have access to such speakers, allowing the best science and technology to be widely disseminated,” explained Matthew Jackson, current co-chair of the Distinguished Lecture Program and previous lecturer.
“The lectures inspire students, sow the seeds of new ideas and spread examples of good practice,” he added.
The Perks of Lecturing
And, the lecturers find it to be as rewarding as the attendees do.
Jackson said of his Distinguished Lecture tour that he most enjoyed meeting “a wide range of professional and student petroleum geoscientists and was hugely impressed by their enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge.”
“I was quizzed, questioned, enjoyed long and fruitful discussions, and made new contacts that have persisted to this day. I learned as much as I educated others,” he added.
Jackson said he also had the opportunity to visit a number of places he might have otherwise missed.
“Wherever I went, I was generously entertained. Having thoroughly enjoyed serving as a Distinguished Lecturer, it is a pleasure to now be involved in selecting each new generation of lecturers,” he said.
Becoming a Distinguished Lecturer
The lecturers are nominated and then selected by vote each year by the Distinguished Lecture Committee. The main qualifications for prospective lecturers are that they are leaders in their discipline, capable of delivering entertaining and informative lectures and are worthy ambassadors of AAPG.
Current lecturers include Stephen Begg, Timothy Collett, Thomas Dunn, Kitty Millliken, Per Kent Pedersen, Paul Wagner, Peter Rose and Stephen Constable. A full list of their lecture titles are available on the program’s website, which is accessible by clicking “Career” at the top of the AAPG homepage.
While all of the speakers are impressive, Kitty Milliken is touring less than two years after receiving the Robert Berg Outstanding Research Award and the Pratt Award, and Timothy Collett carries celebrity status as an expert in geothermal topics.
Popular requests for the lecturers include Thomas Dunn’s “The Value of Looking at Rocks in the Era of Advanced Instrumentation and Computer Modeling” and Stephen Begg’s “Eliciting Expert Opinions and Uncertainty Assessments for Decision Making.”
The AAPG Foundation has been an important part of the Distinguished Lecture Program since 1985. The Foundation established five named funds in honor of past lecturers, which are contributed to thanks to the generosity of their family, friends and colleagues.
The funds are: the Alan P. Bennison Distinguished Lecture Fund, Merrill Haas-Wallace Pratt Distinguished Lecture Fund, Dean A. McGee Distinguished Lecture Fund, Roy M. Huffington Distinguished Lecture Fund, and J. Ben Carsey Distinguished Lecture Fund.
The Foundation has been the primary funder for the program, providing over $4 million since it’s involvement.
New Ways to Reach Out
This year, the program will include a new way to reach even more people around the world. Selected lectures will be recorded and posted on the program’s website and will be easily accessible to anyone who would like to view them.
“Whilst a recorded lecture can never entirely replace the immediacy of a presentation in person, and not all lectures may be suitable for dissemination in this way, we recognized that recorded lectures are still a very valuable route to increase the number of petroleum geoscientists across the world who can benefit from the program,” Jackson explained.
To learn more about the Distinguished Lecture Program, visit http://aapg.to/j4e9d. For information about establishing a named fund for the program, contact the AAPG Foundation at 918-560-2644.