# Julian Dowdeswell awarded the IASC Medal for 2014
27th February, 2014
Julian Dowdeswell has been awarded the IASC Medal for 2014 by the International Arctic Science Committee 'as a World leader in the field of Arctic glaciology'. The committee also highlighted Prof. Dowdeswell's outreach and communication activities which have been instrumental for public understanding of Arctic change. The full citation for the award is on the IASC website.
# Prof. Jon Harbor: Reconstructing spatial & temporal patterns of past glaciation of the Tibetan Plateau, Tian Shan, & Altai Mountains using geomorphic mapping & cosmogenic radionuclide dating
18th February, 2014
Prof. Jon Harbor, Purdue University, Lafayette, Illinois, will be speaking on Thursday February 20th on the subject of "Reconstructing spatial & temporal patterns of past glaciation of the Tibetan Plateau, Tian Shan, & Altai Mountains using geomorphic mapping & cosmogenic radionuclide dating".
# Overtopping not river bank failure
17th February, 2014
The Department's Dr Tom Spencer, and others from the British Society for Geomorphology, have written to The Times to highlight the important role of geomorphology in understanding the current storms and floods (14 February 2014): 'Sir, your vivid front page aerial image of the Thames flooding ("water world', Feb 11) shows the severity of the situation and the consequences of the recent weather. However, to say that "the Thames burst its banks" is not correct. Rivers do occasionally burst through embankments but in British rivers when there is too much water for the channel to contain, the channel is overtopped and water spills onto the floodplain. This is not just semantics but rather, as geomorphologists know, it is key to understanding what solutions to the problem will eventually be needed, because dredging cannot provide channels large enough to contain the amount of water being rained upon us. Ken Gregory, Heather Viles, David Sear, Steve Darby and Tom Spencer British Society for Geomorphology'.
# Professor Paul Robbins, Distinguished International Fellow in Cambridge February 10-14
5th February, 2014
Professor Paul Robbins, Director of the Nelson Institute at the University of Madison-Wisconsin, will be visiting us from February 10th-14th. Paul is the Department's first Distinguished International Fellow. He brings with him a wealth of expertise in the field of political ecology. He is the author of the analysis of the ecology of suburban American lawns in his book Lawn People: How Grasses, Weeds, and Chemicals Make Us Who We Are, in which he famously asked "how did the needs of grass come to be my own?". During his week long visit, he will be giving a departmental seminar, an early career researcher seminar, and a public lecture, as well as interacting with researchers.
# Book prize: Atlas of Epidemic Britain: a Twentieth Century Picture
4th February, 2014
Professor Andrew Cliff and Professor Matthew Smallman-Raynor (School of Geography, University of Nottingham) together won the British Medical Association's prize for the best new book in public health, 2013, and the overall prize for the best medical book, 2013, for their full colour Atlas of Epidemic Britain: a Twentieth Century Picture (Oxford University Press). Using nearly 500 new maps, charts and photographs, this Atlas views a century of change - the ebb and flow of infection - in Britain's epidemic landscape. It maps and interprets the time-space tapestry woven in twentieth century Britain by the uneven retreat of some infectious diseases, the emergence of new infections, and the re-emergence of historic plagues. The Atlas summarises the epidemics caused by different pathogens, their current status and the probability of future control.
# Brave New Epoch: a search for humankind's mark on the Earth
30th January, 2014
Paul Crutzen, an atmospheric chemist began popularising the idea of the Anthropocene in 2001, citing evidence such as humanity's alterations of biodiversity and our changing of the climate through the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Scientists agree that evidence of these and other global changes will leave a lasting impression in the geological record. However, the Anthropocene is not recognised by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS), the body which safeguards the geological time scale. Jan Zalasiewicz's efforts may change that—his ICS working group wishes to formalise the Anthropocene time division.
Other geologists argue that the Anthropocene may not be suitable for the geological timescale at all. One critic, Philip Gibbard, a Cambridge stratigrapher and member of the ICS working group, says the time in which we now live should be called the Late Holocene, because it is consistent with this most recent official Epoch. "For the Anthropocene to merit formal definition, a global signature distinct from that of the Holocene is required that is marked by novel biotic, sedimentary, and geochemical change," Gibbard wrote in a paper published last year. (article by Billings, in Nautilus 2014).
# Assessing coastal ‘bio-buffers’ from space
27th January, 2014
The Cambridge Coastal Research Unit of the University of Cambridge participates in a 2.8 M Euros EU research project to use satellites and ecosystems in flood risk management strategies.
The European 7th Framework Programme (SPACE) is funding a consortium of five European institutions (including the University of Cambridge) from the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Romania and Spain to work on the FAST project (Foreshore Assessment using Space Technology). FAST started this month (January 2014) and will last 4 years. The consortium will generate the first standardised tool for integrating ecosystem properties into flood risk management strategies. To achieve this objective, space technology and field measurements will be combined to study 8 foreshores and floodplain ecosystems in four European countries.
# Cambridge in Davos
24th January, 2014
Professor Julian Dowdeswell has been at the World Economic Forum in Davos (22-25 January 2014), delivering an invited presentation on 'Glaciers, Ice Sheets and Environmental Change'. He is part of a Cambridge contingent that includes the Vice-Chancellor, Lord Martin Rees and Jon Hutton. They each spoke in a session on 'Cambridge Ideas' at the Forum. Julian has given interviews on the changing polar regions and their global implications in Davos and more information about Cambridge in Davos is available. A video of Julian's interview is available online.
# Ash Amin awarded CBE in 2014 Queen's New Year's Honours for Contribution to Social Sciences
21st January, 2014
Economic geographer Professor Ash Amin has been awarded a CBE for his services to Social Science. Amin is known for his work on, amongst other things, the economy as a cultural entity, the geographies of modern living and globalisation as an everyday process. Recently he has focused on cultures of calamity, the contemporary urban condition, and the rights of the poor, looking into urban cohesion and racial integration.
# Chris Sandbrook appears on the BBC Radio 4 Shared Planet series
20th January, 2014
Chris Sandbrook, the Lecturer in Conservation Leadership, was interviewed as part of a programme about community conservation in the BBC Radio 4 Shared Planet series, first broadcast on Tuesday 14th January. You can listen to the interview, which starts about 18 minutes into the episode.