PESGB July 2008
President’s Page- Jerry Chessell
As we enter the (for some) post Licence Round silly season when us grown ups are temporarily allowed to act as youngsters (a geophysicist I know manages to attend most of the big festivals), dress up (Henley, Ascot or Wimbledon anyone?) or even wear flowers in our hair (Chelsea Flower Show), two themes have converged to point me back towards the discussion of how to inspire the next generation of Geoscientists.
For one thing early June (as I write) is also that time of year when the current crop of MSc students surface from their exams and take their (often) first tentative/bold steps into the “real” world via their summer projects. Simultaneously, further into this month’s newsletter an article provided by the Chairman of the Earth Science Teacher’s Association (ESTA) explains how vital support is provided by that organisation to the teachers sowing the seeds of enthusiasm for our subject amongst school age kids.
Those of you who attended the AGM in May will be aware that, notwithstanding the requirement for maintaining reserves against the next rainy day period (what next oil price slump?), the Society’s finances (thanks largely to the ongoing biennial success of PETEX, steady income from the newsletter and the good stewardship of the last few years) are currently in good shape. The Council have therefore decided that, as part of the Society’s remit as a charity to support the education of the general public in the Earth Sciences, both selected individual MSc students and ESTA will receive financial support from the PESGB during 2008. Other deserving causes will also receive appropriate disbursements but these two areas for support are, I believe, particularly relevant to encourage a new wave of professionals.
Not that we can particularly force the pace of development. There is obviously also a natural (if time lagged) response to market forces at work. The last Membership survey showed a mini bulge in the 25 to 30 years old age group – which is probably a response to the steady to spectacular recovery of the oil price since the low of 1999. Higher salaries will eventually attract higher numbers of students. Whether they will also be of a higher calibre is another question, but if we can encourage good basic geoscience learning from an early age, via support for enthusiastic earth science teachers, and if we can also provide a decent amount of encouragement for deserving MSc students to make the next jump to being a useful contributing member of our Industry, then at least we are contributing as a Society to the inspiration of the next generation of oil finders and producers.