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ASEG Tech Talk - Selling Planet Earth: Communicating Geoscience for Society

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Thursday, March 31, 2022

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Virtual (Zoom)

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Event Details

Title: Selling Planet Earth: Communicating Geoscience for Society

Presenters: A/Prof Heather Handley and Prof Iain Stewart

Date: Thursday 31st March

Time: 6pm AEDT




Professor Iain Stewart:

Iain Stewart is the El Hassan bin Talal Research Chair in Sustainability at the Royal Scientific Society (Amman, Jordan), co-Director of the Centre for Climate Change & Sustainability at Ashoka University (India), and Professor of Geoscience Communication at the University of Plymouth. The founding director of the University of Plymouth’s ‘Sustainable Earth Institute’, Iain’s long-standing research interests are in natural hazards, sustainable geoscience, and earth science communication. 

His geo-communication work has built on a 15 year partnership with BBC television presenting geoscience programmes (notably ‘Earth: The Power of the Planet’, ‘Earth: The Climate Wars’, ‘How Earth Made Us’, ‘How To Grow A Planet’, ‘The Rise of the Continents’ and ‘Planet Oil) and recently was academic advisor on Sir David Attenborough’s acclaimed BBCseries ‘Severn Worlds, One Planet’. 

Awarded an MBE for his services to geography and geology education, he is President of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, and was Communications Lead and Evidence Chair for the Scottish Government’s Climate Citizen’s Assembly. A global champion of Earth science, Iain leads the UNESCO International Geoscience Programme project 685 on Geology and Sustainable Development and holds a UNESCO Chair in Geoscience and Society.


Associate Professor Heather Handley:

Heather Handley is a volcanologist and geochemist and has worked on some of the most active volcanoes on the planet. She uses the chemistry of volcanic rocks and their minerals to better understand how volcanoes work and what triggers volcanic eruptions in order to reduce volcanic risk. 

 Heather holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Geology from The University of Edinburgh and a PhD in Volcano Geochemistry from Durham University in the UK. She was awarded an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship in 2012 to advance our understanding of the timescales of Earth-system processes. Heather is an Associate Professor in Volcanic Hazards and Geoscience Communication at the University of Twente and Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University. She is a member of UNESCO IGCP 685 Project Team and Governing Councillor of the Geological Society of Australia.

 Heather is driven to communicate the critical role of geoscience in our sustainable future. She is Co-Founder and Director of the Earth Futures Festival and part of an international team currently creating an atlas to highlight the many contributions of geoscientists to global sustainability challenges. Heather is a Science and Technology Australia 2021-2022 Superstar of STEM and passionate science communicator. She has led and participated in over 70 geoscience outreach events and workshops. She frequently writes for The Conversation and has given more than 90 television, radio and print interviews on volcanoes. Heather has featured in documentaries for National Geographic and Discovery Science and is currently writing a popular science book on Australia’s volcanoes.

 Heather strongly advocates for Women in STEM, diversity and inclusion and is Co-Founder and Inaugural President of the Women in Earth and Environmental Science Australasia (WOMEESA) Network. Heather received an AIPS NSW Young Tall Poppy Award in 2014 and the Geological Society of Australia’s Beryl Nashar Medal in 2021. Heather is also mum to two very curious young girls.