Iris here –
The annual meeting of the German Geological Society (Deutsche Geologische Gesellschaft Geologische Vereinigung (DGGV)) was hosted by the city of Karlsruhe in 2021. Like many other conferences in the last two years, it was held online. At online conferences it is particularly difficult to have fun get-togethers and to participate in casual conversation. At GeoKarlsruhe 2021, some social events were organized that helped to make the conference more lively.
Firstly, there was the well-organized icebreaker on Sunday. Within the online platform “wonder” a nice room was prepared with several spaces and activities. Among them a pub quiz, a video space, a music space and individual spaces to meet. The pub quiz was quite entertaining and there were small prizes to be won. Sadly, I did not win a prize 😉. The video about an excursion to Oman was very cool and increased my interest to visit the region myself. Overall, the icebreaker was a great opportunity to talk to attendees in advance in small groups or individually.
The conference itself offered a wide variety of scientific topics. They ranged from Earth surface processes and sedimentation to marine geology, climate, geo-energy, geo-analytics, regional geology, tectonics, and applied geology, as well as mineralogical and geophysical topics. My greatest scientific interest was in the sessions on paleoclimate and sedimentology. However, the main reason I attended the conference was to organize the Early Career Researchers (ECR) meeting, the ECR game night, and the Young Scientist Session.
At the Young Scientist Session, we had 13 very interesting oral presentations. The session was divided into three parts, lasting from Tuesday morning to evening. At lunchtime on Tuesday, the SGA Student Chapter organised a little “networking speed dating” event. It was quite fun because you were sent into a breakout session with another random person, where you briefly got to know each other and talked for a bit. After 15 minutes, you were then assigned to the next person to talk to. The atmosphere was relaxed, and it was nice to meet some of the other attendees and learn what fascinated them most about their research topics.
The ECR meeting took place on Wednesday at lunchtime. At the meeting, we, the early career network of the German Geological Society, briefly introduced ourselves and then opened the space for networking and exchange between ECRs. For this, breakout sessions with different research independent topics were open for 45 min. It was super nice to get to talk about topics that are relevant to many early career researchers. It was a good reminder, that others are struggling with similar issues in their studies and PhDs. I was able to benefit from the experiences of the other attendees in my breakout room and even received some helpful tips.
Wednesday evening, starting at 8pm, we had an online game night. Here we had a lot of fun playing “geoguessr”. In this game you are set in a place on earth (unknown to you) and you can only navigate through Google Street View. You can move and look around a bit to find clues to where you are. Finally, you have to choose a point on the world map based on the visual impressions and see how close your guess is to the actual place you’ve seen.
Overall, the conference was very interesting. For me, it had a good balance between listening to interesting talks (while chilling on the couch) and talking to other conference participants. Still, it was a bit tiring to sit in front of the screen all day, often aswell during lunch breaks and in the evening to talk to people. I have yet to experience an online conference where networking is as fun as in a face-to-face conference. But the lower impact on the climate by eliminating the need for long journeys make online conferences very attractive. I would like to see more hybrid events in the future. It would be great to be able to attend international conferences without having to travel far by plane, but also to attend some regional conferences in person again to have the full conference experience from time to time.