News from the Sector – January

Images in banner © Horniman Museum and Gardens

Lecture Series

The Liverpool Geological Society is hosting a series of talks:

  • 26th January 2021 Dr David McClay, University of Edinburgh: An illustrated update on the Charles Lyell collections and access plans
  • 9th February 2021 Dr Steve Barrett, University of Liverpool: The ABC of Stellar Evolution
    “What are the origins of all the elements on Earth? This talk is a look at the birth, life and death of stars. What are the three critical factors (the ABC) that determine why stars are the way they are, why they evolve the way they do, and the origins of all the elements?”
  • 3rd February 2021 Dr Christian Baars, National Museums, Liverpool: Why caring for geological collections is neither as simple nor straightforward as sometimes perceived. “Several hundred mineral species are vulnerable to the effects of moisture, temperature, air pollutants, and light. Some species undergo significant changes when exposed to minor deviations from their stability limits, the most prominent one of which is perhaps pyrite. A current research project is trying to shed a new light on these challenges, and attempt to update guidance for the care of geological collections.”
  • 2nd March 2021 Amani Becker, University of Liverpool: Energy River
    “Exploring the energy potential from the River Mersey”

The Geological Society of London is hosting “2021: The Year of Space!” A series of talks on our solar system are taking place throughout the year:

  • Our Solar System – How Geology Began
    10th February 2021. Virtual event
  • Mercury
    3rd March 2021. Virtual event
  • Venus
    22nd April 2021. Virtual event
  • Mars
    12th May 2021. Virtual event
  • Asteroids and Comets
    30th June 2021. Virtual event
  • The Moon and Early Earth
    29th – 30th November 2021
    Venue: The Geological Society, Burlington House, London

SedsOnline is an online webinar series sponsored by the International Association of Sedimentologists. They have a webinar every Wednesday at 4pm BST, as well as regular communal Coffee Breaks!


Online Events

The Geological Society of America is holding a webinar on 28th January 2021 to “learn about all aspects of applying to graduate school in the geosciences, from what to consider when choosing a graduate school, assembling the application, and selecting a research project.” Registration is via their website. Obviously more relevant to our readers on the other side of the pond!

After a short break, Nature Live Online hosted by the Natural History Museum London is back on 2nd February 2021 with Asteroid Mission. “In December 2020 the Hayabusa2 spacecraft brought back samples from the asteroid Ryugu for scientists to study on Earth. What exactly is an asteroid? How did Hayabusa2 get there? What can we learn from Ryugu? Join the conversation with science communicator Khalil Thirlaway and curator Helena Bates as they answer these questions and more!” See their website for details.

The European Geosciences Union’s General Assembly will take place online 19th – 30th April 2021, due to the continuing risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting restrictions on international travel. Please see their website for more details.

The American Institute for Conservation (AIC) and the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) are holding a joint virtual Annual Meeting this year, due to take place 10th May – 24th June 2021, with a week of pre-sessions 3rd – 7th May. Registration is now open and there is a draft schedule available on the website.

The 2021 virtual Digital Data in Biodiversity Research conference will be held 7th – 9th June 2021. It is due to be hosted by the Florida Museum of Natural History in co-sponsorship with iDigBio and the Natural Science Collections Alliance (NSCA). Registration opens on the 1st February 2021.

The London Natural History Society is hosting a series of talks in 2021. On the 22nd July 2021, there is a palaeontology themed talk titled “Microworld: How Microfossils Unravel Ancient Natural Histories by Anke Marsh, which will no doubt be of interest to many.

The Geographical Society is planning their 2021 Annual International Conference for 31st August – 3rd September 2021. They are currently hoping to have some in-person elements where possible, due to be confirmed in April 2021.


A Statement from URGE

We would like to introduce you to Unlearning Racism in Geoscience (URGE), a community-wide journal-reading and policy-design curriculum to help diversify the Geosciences.

The year 2020 shone a light on the many injustices minoritized communities face, and 2021 is continuing in the same vein. We recognize that the racism and injustices impacting society are reflected and perpetuated in academia, especially in Geosciences, which remains one of the least diverse STEM fields. We strongly believe that our community needs to shift our culture from one that is, at best, passively not racist to one that is actively anti-racist.

URGE’s vision is to empower geoscientists, especially those who are historically over-represented, to implement anti-racist strategies into their workplaces and careers, thus taking ownership of the need for real change in our discipline. We invite lab groups, departments, professional societies, and others to form ‘pods’ that will serve as their discussion groups. Pods will engage in eight two-week units that incorporate readings, interviews with experts, and discussions focused on learning about and implementing effective anti-racist strategies. Also, please read our Medium article that summarizes the project further. You can sign up for our email list and register your pod now on the URGE website,

We call upon and challenge our academic leaders to commit to the objectives of URGE and rally their departments and lab groups behind these initiatives. We ask that you forward this to three geoscientists who may not have heard of URGE before! Please, visit our website and come help us unlearn racism in Geoscience!

URGE is supported by the National Science Foundation under grant EAR#1714909 and by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed by this program are those of the URGE leadership team and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation or Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.


Send us Your Stuff!

If you would like to contribute content to our monthly blog series News from the Sector (and get some free advertising) please get in touch with Emma Nicholls, email If you would like to submit an article to our journal Geological Curator, please note the next submission deadline will be in February 2021.

News from the Sector is compiled by the GCG Blog Editor Dr Emma Nicholls, Deputy Keeper of Natural History at the Horniman Museum and Gardens.

Images throughout © Horniman Museum and Gardens.

Please note, events listed above are not necessarily endorsed by the Geological Curators’ Group. If you have any concerns about a listing, please get in touch with Blog Editor, Emma Nicholls, at

© Horniman Museum and Gardens

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