Montana State University

MSU research to be presented at massive conference

December 12, 2014 -- By Evelyn Boswell, MSU News Service

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BOZEMAN – Findings from more than 60 Montana State University researchers will be presented Dec. 15 through 19 during the world’s largest meeting devoted to earth and space science.

Nearly 24,000 people are registered to attend the 47th fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. In addition to scientists and policy makers, they include reporters for the New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera America, the BBC and German Public Radio.

MSU presenters will share the research projects they conducted in Montana, the United States, around the world and into space. Those projects focused on a variety of topics, including Antarctic microbes, student-built satellites, solar flares, carbon sequestration, hydrogen peroxide cycling and much more.

“I think it’s significant that MSU has such a large role in international research,” said Ben Poulter, assistant professor in ecology and one of the MSU presenters. “AGU is a great venue for presenting research to colleagues from around the world, to keep up with cutting edge discoveries and to make new collaborations.”

Colin Shaw, director of MSU’s Undergraduate Scholars Program and an assistant research professor in the Department of Earth Sciences, said the large number of MSU researchers represented at the conference suggests that they are a diverse group of scientists with different interests and expertise.

Shaw estimated that he has attended eight AGU meetings since the late 1990s. Although he is not presenting a talk or poster this year, he is a co-author on two student presentations and a volunteer judge on student poster presentations. During the conference, he will meet with co-authors on a paper to be submitted later this month, and he wants to find some prospective graduate students. Shaw said his main reason for attending this year’s conference is to meet with colleagues to begin planning a major grant proposal that they will submit in 2015.

“AGU promotes the exchange of ideas between earth scientists from a wide range of disciplines and stimulates new ways of thinking,” Shaw said. “I am always energized and excited about science when I return from AGU. It helps me hatch new ideas for research and to devise new approaches to solving challenges in my research. AGU provides a place to meet colleagues and collaborators to work on projects and publications. Some aspects of doing science just can’t be done by email and Skype.”

This year’s AGU meeting includes more than 1,700 sessions, with a mixture of more than 23,000 oral and poster presentations. The annual fall meeting is where scientists present their latest discoveries, learn about trends and challenges in their fields, and make connections to enhance their careers.

AGU is a Washington, D.C.-based international nonprofit scientific association with more than 60,000 members who work for corporations, universities, nonprofit organizations, research labs, and federal, state and local government agencies. Their research encompasses everything from exploring the planets to understanding natural hazards on Earth and in space; from searching for resources like coal and oil to predicting the impact of air pressure, temperature, water vapor and wind speed on our weather; and from studies of hydrology and water resources to understanding the Earth’s atmosphere and the causes of climate change.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or evelynb@montana.edu