Beyond Earth System Science

An Approach for the 21st Century

This presentation, by Kip Hodges, was given at the April 2007 workshop on Connecting Geoscience Departments to the Future of Science: New Structures for Research and Curriculum. To view his presentation, click on the "play" arrow below. You can also download the original presentation (PowerPoint PRIVATE FILE 27.2MB Apr27 07) if you like, or scroll down to view the slides and a written summary.

Video of Kip's presentation

Slides and written summary

What kinds of programs and structures, within and beyond the department, are needed to support the research and education we envision for the future? Earth and space science are becoming increasingly multidisciplinary, oriented toward solving the grand challenges facing our society. Our programs, too, then, will need to become multidisciplinary, encouraging problem-solving. But finding solutions to problems will not be enough; we will also need to work with policy makers and communicate effectively with the public.
In asking Kip to give this presentation, Tim Bralower charged him with being an agent provocateur....

... So here it goes:
While considering the Earth as a system (Earth System Science) is necessary, it is not sufficient; our planet is an open system.
To understand the process of planetary evolution, we need to bridge the realms of physics, chemistry, and biology, and we need to be prepared to deal with complexity.
Understanding our planet's processes is not just societally relevant, it is essential. Our species has become a globally important agent of geologic change. We need to understand our impact on our planet in order to be able to make intelligent choices.