"Since October 1998, the American Geosciences Institute has organized this national and international event to help the public gain a better understanding and appreciation for the Earth Sciences and to encourage stewardship of the Earth. This year's Earth Science Week will be held from October 12-18 and will celebrate the theme Earth's Connected Systems."
I have celebrated this annual event in previous posts (although I seem to have overlooked last year) with a specific focus on the admirable Earth Science Literacy Initiative and their "Big Ideas" summary. This captures the fundamentals of our understanding of how our planet works and our relationship with it - the basics of our engagement with geology.
In addition to what we know, what keeps science alive and fascinating are all the things that we don't. This year, for readers who have not come across them already, I would like to draw attention to the superb series of recent posts on GeoLog, the official blog of the European Earth Sciences Union. Titled "The known unknowns - the outstanding 49 questions in Earth sciences", these summarise the basic questions that continue to vex our profession and stir controversy and debate, together with valuable links to appropriate resources. The link is to the third in the series, and I have so far counted 25 questions, so there is clearly more intrigue to come. As the introduction to the series states:
Science is about asking questions, as much as it is about finding answers. Most of the time spent by scientists doing research is used to constrain and clarify what exactly is unknown – what does not yet form part of the consensus among the scientific community. Researchers all over the globe are working tirelessly to answer the unresolved questions about the inner workings of our planet, but inevitably new answers only lead to new questions. What are the main questions that will keep Earth scientists busy for many years to come?
What I would like to think is that these kinds of initiatives will provide accessible and compelling materials that will stimulate young folk to become geologists and not-so-young folk to enquire further.
Meanwhile, a note about my absence for the last few weeks - I have been traveling. The image at the head of this post might provide a clue as to where, as might the photo below. More will, inevitably, be revealed in the near future.