Science Beyond Borders: Geophysicists Meet
in South America

AIP’s Center for History of Physics Director Greg Good traveled to Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil earlier this year to take part in the Meeting of the Americas (August 8–12), joining more than 2,000 scientists from around the world to learn about recent developments in geophysics. The conference was cosponsored by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) as well as many Latin American scientific organizations and governments.

In July 1949, Physics Today published an article by Bart J. Bok on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and international coll-aboration in science. Today, more than 60 years later, international collaboration among scientists is ongoing. But it is not on autopilot.

The recent Meeting of the Americas beamed a bright spotlight on this issue, dedicating a special session to discuss many aspects of international collaboration. Among the twelve speak-ers were Jack Hess (Geological Society of America), Pat Leahy (American Geological Institute), and Greg Good (AIP).

Jack Hess discussed the complexity and successes of the recent International Year of Planet Earth, with its effects in countries everywhere. The results will go to UNESCO with policy recommendations later this year. Pat Leahy argued that collaboration among divergent scientific societies is needed for tackling complex geo-problems. Other speakers included Brazilian graduate students in the history of physics from the Federal University of Bahia. One of these students, Indianara Silva, based her talk on materials she found in the Niels Bohr Library & Archives while conducting research supported by a grant-in-aid from the Center for History of Physics.

Also this fall, Greg Good presented his research at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, the Science Studies Unit at Aarhus University (both in Denmark) and at Oslo University, Norway. While there he met with more young historians of science.

The Center for History of Physics sees its cultivation of international activity as essential to its mission, and recognizes the special importance of encouraging the rising generation of historians of physics in Brazil, Europe, China, and elsewhere.


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