Comments as a Past President of AOGS
| Harsh Gupta
AOGS President – 2010 to 2012
National Geophysical Research Institute
Among the various responsibilities that I have had, being the President of the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society has been one of the most cherished and satisfying. The highlights being over viewing the successful conduct of two Annual Meetings of AOGS at Taipei, Taiwan (2011) and Singapore (2012); inviting Nobel Laureates and other distinguished scientists globally to deliver prestigious AOGS Lectures; having the first Joint Assembly with American Geophysical Union (Western Pacific Geophysics Meeting) and adding a new Biogeosciences Section in 2012 to the existing six sections and an Interdisciplinary Working Group.
The mission of AOGS to promote geophysical science for the benefit of humanity in Asia and Oceania is becoming more important with escalating catastrophes and changes that are affecting our environment and society. Asia and Oceania are the area most prone to natural hazards accounting for about 80% of human lives lost globally due to calamities of nature. The March 11, 2011 Mw 9.0 Japan earthquake and the resultant tsunami and the damage to the nuclear installations in Japan is the latest example. An earthquake of this size was not anticipated in this part of the world. This calls for increased efforts in understanding the geological phenomenon and application of advances in natural and social sciences to better address hazard related issues. Responsive to these requirements, AOGS organized a very successful one whole day session dedicated to March 11, 2011 Japan earthquake at its 8th Annual Meeting at Taipei on August 12, 2011. AOGS took another important step at Taipei, in forward planning, and decided to hold the 10th and the 11th AOGS Annual meetings at in the years 2013 and 2014 at Brisbane, Australia and Sapporo, Japan respectively. This provides ample opportunity to plan these meetings meticulously. AOGS has been very successful in providing an opportunity to showcase geo-scientific products, techniques, publications to the world business community at its Annual Meetings. There were 25 stalls at Taipei, which were well visited. In my personal capacity, I very much enjoyed Springer’s invitation that read “It is a pleasure to invite you to the “Author Meet and Greet” for the recently published “Encyclopedia of Solid Earth Geophysics” at the Springer booth A2, on August 9, 2011, 15.30 to 16.30 hours with the editor Harsh Gupta in attendance”. Interacting with several individuals about the genesis, contents and utility of this the two volume, 1500+ pages encyclopedia was indeed a delightful experience.
From August 13 through 17, 2012, AOGS organized a Joint Assembly with the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) Western Pacific Geophysical Meeting (WPGM) at Sentosa Island Singapore. The 2012 has become a historic year in the annals of AOGS in its pursuit to expand regional and international collaboration in different disciplines of Geosciences for the benefit of mankind. One of the highlights of the 2012 Joint Assembly was the addition of the Bio-geosciences section. Over the past few years, Bio-geosciences have made a very rapid progress and its importance is well recognized. So, addition of this new section has been a step in the right direction. There was a whole－hearted collaboration and co-operation with the AGU officials that led to a very successful and so far the largest attended meeting. Seeing the success of this joint venture, there is an interest expressed by AGU to have similar collaboration in the future. Another important happening at Singapore was the meeting of the seniors where several issues related with AOGS were discussed. The proposal to celebrate the 10th anniversary of AOGS at Brisbane, Australia in a be-fitting manner was accepted by all. The proposal to prepare a coffee table book of the 10 glorious years of AOGS was whole heartedly accepted. This coffee table book is the outcome of the deliberations in the meeting of the seniors.
Here, I must mention that AOGS is a family of very well meaning individuals, who serve AOGS selflessly. The seniors are always available for advice and guidance and take pride in AOGS achievements and progress. We are lucky to have their guidance and continued support. The Secretariat of AOGS runs very efficiently and the response to a variety of requirements is excellent. The Annual Meeting books are prepared with great care and it is pleasure to use them. Over the years, globally, the importance of the geographical region covered by AOGS has increased in leaps and bounds. I believe AOGS has a very bright future and would play an important role in the well being of the human race.