Since this column is on science, I tried to find a wise saying or amusing anecdote to grab your attention. The problem is, scientists have a lot of anecdotes but very few are amusing. Searching Google, I found that chemists think they are especially funny with sayings like, “If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the precipitate.” Mm …
If you remember from my last column, this is a three-part series on my thoughts on science, membership and budget. I talked about budget last time … we are still working on it, so let’s talk science.
Excelling at Science Dissemination
The reason most professionals join AAPG is for access to science. That’s not just my opinion – it’s what members tell us. AAPG is very good about disseminating the work of our members and other professionals around the world. That’s our mission.
How many ways do we disseminate science? Let me count the ways.
Of course, the main method is the Bulletin, second is through our many conferences and forums, and third are special publications. In addition, there is the EXPLORER, Search and Discovery, and our many training programs. One of the greatest conduits of science is now through the new virtual conferences, because participants can access almost all of the talks during the meeting, or up to 90 days later. As a reminder, you can still register and access all of the 2020 Unconventional Resources Technology Conference talks online. Also, don’t forget to sign-up for the 2020 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition coming Sept. 29 to Oct. 1. It’s going to be a great virtual experience.
Regarding the Bulletin and other science avenues, we have a great editor in Bob Merrill. Bob is taking a holistic approach and has taken the responsibility of oversight of AAPG’s scientific output. His vision is “AAPG should be focused not only on the science presented in the Bulletin, but what the membership needs to advance them professionally. In other words, what technologies will propel them into the future?” As a result, we are seeing significant improvement in the Bulletin, EXPLORER and other content. Bob is essentially AAPG’s science officer.
Pay Attention to ‘Pivot’ Moments
Albert Einstein once said, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” He said this on the year of my birth. I don’t remember it and have no claim to genius, but Dr. Einstein reminds us that passion and curiosity for discovery is attainable by anyone.
I’ve had a passion for science even when I was a kid up through college. I believe one secret to my success is to always – always – pay attention to the really big things! During my career, it seemed that approximately every five years there was a major scientific discovery or technological invention – something that significantly changed our view of the Earth processes or allowed us to use technology for applications we had not imagined. Examples are plate tectonics, sequence stratigraphy, horizontal drilling with staged frac’ing, shale petrophysics, geo-analytics, among others. These are major pivot points in our science and profession.
I’ve found that it is important over my career to pay close attention to these events, embrace them and learn as much as possible. Now, keep in mind that these did not necessarily occur exactly at the time of my “A-ha!” moment of realization – many were developing for years. They just came into focus for me at a certain point in time.
I plan to mention one of these events that impacted my career as an “inset” in each of my next ten columns. See if you can figure out what those pivot points are in your own career. Right now I am looking forward to the next big discovery. We are going to have a debate in the EXPLORER on the next “big idea” and we plan to do a few live Zoom debates as well.
For example, one of the biggest scientific events of this next five years is the recent lift-off of the new Mars rover Perseverance. The Perseverance is expected to land on Feb 18, 2021. We are going to have a count down in the EXPLORER and follow this exploration that is expected to stash Martian rocks to send back to Earth with the next Mars mission in 2026. The exciting development for sedimentary geologists is that scientists now believe there were major oceans, lakes and rivers on Mars, based on the sedimentary features shown by the rovers, especially Curiosity.
Thank you for your support of science at AAPG. Now is a great time to develop a paper for the Bulletin or presentation at a meeting. Please share your knowledge and experience with your colleagues.