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February 8, 1996 E-mail:

Earth-Science News of 1995 in Review, What's Ahead for 1996

ALEXANDRIA, VA. -- Traditionally, GEOTIMES devotes an entire issue to a review of earth-science developments during the preceding year. In the current February issue, 44 geoscientists* provide their assessments of major developments taking place in 1995 across a wide range of disciplines: surficial studies, paleobiology, micropaleontology, natural resources, environmental and engineering geology, oceanography, solid-earth studies, and rocks and minerals. *Names of contributing authors follow.
In "Comment," Robert D. Hatcher Jr., 1996 President of the American Geological Institute, suggests how earth scientists can meet the challenges of an evolving profession as it moves into the 21st century. "We must pull together as a community," he states. "Geoscientists must act collectively and become more proactive in communicating with our elected representatives at all levels of government...." Addressing educators, Hatcher urges more emphasis on quality teaching and less dependence on federal grants, describing them as "addictive and dangerous to the long-term health of academic institutions." For the future, he concludes that geoscientists must make opportunities and take opportunities to become part of the decision-making process -- if they want their profession to survive.
The February issue also provides a forum for policy-makers to address national and international issues of concern to the earth-science community as a whole. Chief among these issues may be the need to promote science literacy throughout all levels of the general population. Writing on behalf of the National Science Foundation, Luther S. Williams, head of the Education & Human Resources Directorate, reports that the agency is committed to creating an infrastructure which will provide certified teachers, expanded curricula, and updated materials to the nation's schools.
The changing focus of federal science and technology policy in the post-Cold War era is another major concern to geoscientists. The National Research Council's Board on Earth Sciences and Resources reports that its mandate is to respond to requests from federal agencies as they redefine their missions, restructure their programs, and become more responsive to customer needs and societal goals. "If recent history is a reliable guide, then the next few years are likely to see programs cut, agencies abolished or consolidated, and perhaps whole federal departments eliminated," predicts Director Craig M. Schiffries.
Coming up ... the March issue of GEOTIMES examines the impact of government policy on the geosciences. Executive branch administrators and Republican congressional leaders share their views on the role of geology in government and the uncertain future of federal support for earth-science research.
GEOTIMES is published by the American Geological Institute, a nonprofit federation of 29 member societies representing earth and environmental scientists. AGI also produces GeoRef, an online bibliographic database of more than 1.9 million geological references that serves a worldwide geoscience community.
Contributing Authors, GEOTIMES Annual Highlights Issue:

National Research Council, Craig M. Schiffries
Education Reform and the Geosciences, Luther S. Williams
K-12 Education, B.J. Brunkhorst
Geoscience Information, Barbara E. Haner
International Geoscience Activities, John A. Reinemund

Planetary Geology, James R. Zimbelman
Meteoritics, Harry Y. McSween Jr.
Quaternary Science and Geomorphology, Allan James and Steve Colman
Caves, Harvey DuChene
Soil Science, H.H. Cheng
Mapping, Raymond A. Byrnes

Micropaleontology, Martin B. Lagoe
Palynology, Reed Wicander and Jan Jansonius
Paleobotany, Leo J. Hickey
Invertebrate Paleontology, David J. Bottjer
Vertebrate Paleontology, Kenneth D. Rose and Hans-Dieter Sues

Exploration Geophysics, William H. Dragoset
Exploration Geochemistry, John E. Gray
Petroleum Geochemistry, Barry Katz
Hydrogeology, Thomas E. Reilly
Geothermal Energy, Patrick R.L. Browne
Oil and Gas, M.K. Horn
Coal, James C. Hower and James R. Staub
Metals and Mining, Douglas Silver
Aggregate, Ken Nelson

Environmental Hydrogeology, R.G. Slayback
Biogeochemistry, William H. Schlesinger and J. Patrick Megonigal
Paleoclimatology, Wallace S. Broecker
Remote Sensing, Farouk El-Baz
Satellites and Remote Sensing, Ernest D. Paylor II and Miriam Baltuck
Engineering Geology, Susan Steele Weir

Marine Geology, Donn S. Gorsline
Sea-Level Change, David G. Aubrey

Earthquake Seismology, Goran Ekstrom
Mantle and Core Studies, Guy Masters and Adam M. Dziewonski
Structural Geology and Tectonics, Carol Simpson
Volcanology, Stanley N. Williams
Sequence Stratigraphy, Peter J. McCabe and Keith W. Shanley

Mineral Chemistry, Charles Shearer
Igneous Petrology, Attila Kilinc
Metamorphic Petrology, Gray E. Bebout
Carbonates, Charles Kerans, Robert K. Goldhammer, and Jay L. Banner
Clastic Sedimentology, Michael H. Gardner
Clays, Ray E. Ferrell Jr.

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