Students at EGU2017

Jul 12, 2017 No Comments by 1323 views

Three EAG sponsored students visited the city of Vienna at the end of April 2017 to present their work at the General Assembly of the European Geoscience Union, the biggest geoscience conference in Europe. EGU2017 brought together nearly 15 000 scientists from all fields of geoscience research and from 107 countries around the world, where they had the opportunity to present their work as a talk, poster or Pico presentation in one of the 649 sessions.

Below, Douaa Fathy, Mark Zindorf and Pierangelo Romano reflect on their experiences—the city, the conference, their presentations—and offer some advice to others who may be thinking about attending EGU or participating in the EAG Student Sponsorship Program.


Douaa Fathy

Vienna – “The City of Dreams”- is one of the most enlightened cities in the world, hosting great architecture, museums and parks. The EGU General Assembly is a prominent annual event that brings together geoscientists from all over the world into one meeting covering all disciplines of the Earth, planetary and space sciences. This year I had a poster session and I also attended several oral and poster presentation sessions. My research is about the geochemistry and sedimentology of Cretaceous oil shales in Egypt. I spent a great week listening to talks and looking at posters that were all relevant to me. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to present my research and meet geoscientists from all over the world. While presenting my work, I received some very useful ideas from the leading experts in this area that will certainly enrich my knowledge during my PhD study.

I would like to thank the EAG for giving me this opportunity which allowed me to expand my knowledge as well as my scientific network. I look forward to attending many more meetings of this kind throughout my career. Finally, I was very happy to promote EAG and I would highly recommend the EAG Student Sponsorship Program to my fellow early career scientists.

About Douaa Fathy:

Douaa Fathy is a PhD student at the Department of Geodynamics and Sedimentology, University of Vienna, Austria. She works under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Michael Wagreich. She is working on the geochemistry, petrophysics and sedimentology of hydrocarbons in source and reservoir rocks.


Mark Zindorf

My own presentation was a poster with the title “Oxygen minimum zone dynamics and anammox in the Gulf of Alaska (IODP Site U1419)” in the session “Polar continental margins and fjords – climate, oceanography, tectonics and geohazards”. As this subject is relevant to both geochemistry and Arctic environmental research, this poster was of interest of a broad range of scientists. This session was particularly well-suited for my presentation as it was not aimed at a specific scientific discipline. Hence, it provided the ground for discussing results from a variety of scientific perspectives.

The host city for EGU in 2017, as well in the previous few years, was Vienna in Austria. This city is worth visiting on its own. With its very special flair and the great number of historical buildings, Vienna is a nice scene for an international conference (not to mention the better weather than I get in my UK home town!). The many nice pubs and restaurants in the city provide lots of opportunities to catch up and network after the conference, to forge new connections and to refresh old ones.

Prior to the conference, Vienna also hosted a March for Science, a welcome opportunity for researchers who arrived early to stand up for their work in a difficult time. The insight that more has to be done to communicate science to the public was also noticeable at the conference. Various panel discussions took place to figure out which strategies should be employed to reach out to the media and to parts of society that are not as science-literate.

The EGU is a great conference in particular for young researchers – not only from Europe. It is a place for your research to be seen by many people, but also to see many people’s research. It provides great opportunities for networking and for meeting the big names in your field. It is certainly less focused than a smaller meeting, but in exchange it provides you with the chance to get insights into different geoscientific disciplines and to develop a new perspective on your own work.

I want to end this short review with a big thank you to the EAG, who kindly contributed to funding my stay at EGU 2017.

About Mark Zindorf:

Mark Zindorf’s research interest is the geochemistry of marine sediments of higher latitudes. Currently, he is a PhD Student at Newcastle University (UK) and is studying the geochemical composition of sediment cores from IODP Expedition 341 to the Gulf of Alaska. The main focus of his work here is the early diagenesis of marine sediments and its link to paleoenvironmental changes. For this, he uses mostly inorganic, but also organic and isotope geochemistry as well as reactive transport modelling. Mark received his BSc and MSc degrees from the University of Trier (Germany), where he was involved in geochemical research on Southern Chilean fjord sediments.

Pierangelo Romano

Attending the EGU conference was my first opportunity to take part in one of the most important conferences concerning the Geosciences world. The EGU conference is the biggest Geosciences conference in Europe, and the fact that my work was selected for an oral communication was excellent for me because I had the opportunity to present my results to scientists involved in high quality research. The first result was the interest provoked in some researchers concerning some of the experimental results. Indeed, soon after the talk, I had the opportunity to speak with a colleague who is also involved in the study of peralkaline magmatic systems. This represented a good starting point for my future career because to be part of a wide scientific network is fundamental to developing a high level scientific career.

One of the most curious things that impacted me and my thoughts during my time at EGU was the dimensions of the spaces. The location of the conference seemed enormous to me and when I arrived at the conference centre I felt quite disorientated, but it was not difficult to find the right indications and to start to feel a part of the conference, especially once I met my first geo-friends, who introduced me to the atmosphere. It was the first time that I had been in such a large space, full of people focused in their thought but part of a common project. Moreover, the EGU conference gave me the opportunity to visit Vienna, a city that I found wonderful, with a charm different from the other European capitals I had visited before. However, the thing that I enjoyed most at the conference was without a doubt the moment of my talk at the EGU conference. The possibility of presenting my own results, after three intense years of PhD research, in such an important location and in front of an international community of researchers, was something that I really enjoyed and appreciated a lot. My advice to other students is to search for the opportunity to take part in these events, which, although expensive, are an important chance to develop your research.

About Pierangelo Romano:

Pierangelo Romano grew up in a small village in the middle of Sicily (Italy). After high school, he moved to Palermo, the capital of Sicily, where he began his studies in Earth Science. After graduating, he spent one in year in Madrid (Spain) within the Erasmus project, where he attended courses and fieldtrips at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. One year later, he was back in Palermo to finish his masters project in Earth Science and Technology and to discuss a Masters thesis on volatiles dissolved in melt inclusions. After completing his Masters, he won a scholarship to undertake research activity abroad and moved to Orleans (France) for seven months to work at Institut des Sciences de la Terre d’Orleans (ISTO). At ISTO, he started to work in petrology, performing high P-T experiments on magmatic systems. After his time in Orleans, he went back to Palermo and was selected to join the PhD programme of the Department of Earth and Marine Science, University of Palermo. His PhD work focused on peralkaline magmatic systems and he spent several years again at Institut des Sciences de la Terre d’Orleans where, working in close collaboration with other staff, he performed high P-T experiments on the magmatic systems of Pantelleria island (Italy).


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