• Photo by Nicolas J Leclercq on Unsplash
  • Photo by Nicolas Tissot on Unsplash
  • Photo by NASA on Unsplash
  • Photo by USGS on Unsplash

6th IAGA Summer School

The 6th IAGA Summer School will be conducted from 6th to 11th July 2023 in Niemegk Observatory, Germany. As always, it is conducted in the week before the General Assembly. The IUGG Assembly will take place in Berlin, Germany from 11th to 20th July 2023.

IAGA will sponsor around 20 early career researchers (ECRs) to attend and stay at the summer school. The school provides a chance to interact with fellow ECRs in the community and gives an understanding about a wide range of topics relating to magnetism and aeronomy.

Images from the IAGA 2017 summer school hosted by SANSA Space Science, Hermanus in South Africa.

The last date to apply is 30th September. ECRs need to fill the application form and submit it to the head of the IAGA Division they belong to. To know more about the application process, click here.

To know more about IAGA and its Summer Schools, look for our blog series 'All things IAGA' in the right hand panel, or click here.

Pandemic PhD Stories : My french struggle

If you haven't figured it out already from the title, in this blog, I am blaming the pandemic for my lack of french, among many other things. I'll admit it's my brain's fault as well. But lets put more blame on something that can't fight back. Just can kill me or heavily damage my lungs.

Starting with a little background- my name is Shivangi, and I am from India. The first time I ever travelled abroad was for my PhD. So you can imagine my excitement to move to France and finally start my salaried life :D

I took some french classes before arriving in Nantes in November 2019. Half a day here and I realised the left hemisphere of my brain is pretty useless. But also that I needed it to work in order to survive. This meant I had to re-take language classes if I wanted to show off my french back home.

So, I started my lessons again in January and was excelling them. Nice to know my rupees earlier and euros now were not all wasted. But like always, life had other plans (Somehow, they never really match mine). Fast forward two months, and we were in lockdown. I didn't know enough french to get around and didn't have enough knowledge to do my research alone at home. And so my best friends were Netflix and literature review.

The city opened up again and so did my vigour to learn french. I enrolled for the next semester. And, drumroll...... we were back in lockdown! But this one was not that strict and we were still having online classes. But that meant there was always a google translate page open, you know, just in case. I then figured it out- my french classes were triggering the lockdowns. So I gave up.... For the greater good.

Well, it's safe to say that my french sucks. But I get by. Although it does get overwhelming sometimes to constantly hear a language and catch only bits and pieces. The only relief was when I would go to international events but that was like twice in my last year, thanks again to the great pandemic.

Here I was, hoping to meet aliens, but the only foreign bodies I met should be trapped in my mask and thrown away!

But for anyone learning french, don't let it deter you. Like I slandered stressed said, it was the pandemic's fault. As long as you regularly speak it (with and without mistakes), you'll get there. Just keep practicing with a person, and not with a wall like I did.

Image Credits: Pinterest

Comment below your pandemic story!

Do you also have your own Pandemic PhD stories? Tag our social media channels and share your stories or send it to us here and get featured in our next blog! 


Shivangi Sharan is a third year PhD student at the Laboratory of Planetology and Geosciences in France. Her research focusses on the study of the magnetic field of planets and to infer their internal structure from it. She is an active member of the IAGA Blog Team and can be contacted via e-mail here.

How To... Help with Outreach

In our new series of blogs we want to shine a light on some of the basics that researchers undertake in their day-to-day lives and provide guidance for early-career researchers. There are some tasks that a researcher will never have any official training in but are expected to do as part of their jobs. We hope these blogs make it easier. The first blog in this "How To..." series focuses on outreach. 

Science is fun and interesting! That’s why researchers choose to do the job that they do! But a large part of a researcher's job is communicating new results to the wider scientific and public community – sometimes referred to as ‘outreach’. So here’s a quick ‘How To…’ guide to provide some insight into everything outreach.

What is outreach?

The process of communicating science to others. It usually refers to educating the public in science and other topics they might not encounter in day to day life.

Why do outreach?

It is rewarding and can be a lot of fun. The general public funds a lot of research through taxes and it is a great way to demonstrate why science is important. Also, it is a great way to show your results to others and may allow you to appear on TV or help with a film related to your research (e.g. Jurassic Park!).

How do you do outreach?

Outreach can happen on all scales; it can be as simple as talking to an individual or running an international science festival! However, regardless of the size of the project there are some things you should always remember:

1.    Be age and material appropriate – a 4-year old child will not have the same understanding of the world as their parent. Therefore, we have to tailor the words and activities we use for the situation.

2.    Be engaging – asking people questions or having an activity for participants can help keep the audiences’ attention.

3.    Be organised – it is important to have everything set up and ready to go ahead of time. Think about what materials you will need and how the event will run.

4.    Be ready for questions – people love asking questions back! Make sure you know a bit more than just about the field you work in.

Want to know more?

The best way to become more involved with outreach is to join an existing project in your nearby community. There’s lots of materials out there if you search the internet. There’s also events run through international organisations (e.g. AGU, RAS, EGU etc) which you can join. Take a look at the websites below to be inspired:







Image Credits: Created using fotor.com

Hannah Rogers has just submitted her PhD thesis at the University of Edinburgh and is a member of the IAGA Social Media team. Her specialism is in investigating regional magnetic fields of Earth at the surface and the core-mantle boundary using mathematical methodologies. You can follow her on Twitter at @Hannah_Rogers94.

PhD in IAGA #5

IAGA has a lot of different scientists working on various topics. In this series of blogs, we will introduce some topics that are being worked on by PhD students. Hopefully this will give a better picture of the work being done in the field and encourage more early career researchers.

Sarasija Sanaka, is a PhD student working at the Institute of Geophysics Polish Academy of Science, Poland. Her supervisor is Dr. hab. Anne Neska. Sarasija says:

My research is about source effects in Magnetotellurics. Source effects are the inappropriate source signals which lead to distortion in the results, which further leads to misinterpretation of the subsurface electrical structure. My task is to identify and understand the origin of such problematic signals. Such signals are dominant in the high to mid-latitude regions. To recognize source effects, we have considered long-term magnetotelluric data, because they reveal temporal changes which cannot be explained by subsurface conductivity changes.

The above figures represent time-dependent transfer functions at 4000s for Grabnik (GRB) and Suwałki (SUV) stations in Poland.

IAGA Division 6 EMIW 2026

The Division 6 of IAGA organises a biennial workshop on Electromagnetic Induction. The 27th workshop is in 2026 and the call for proposals is out!

The proposal could be from a single country or be a joint venture of multiple countries. A 15 min oral presentation will take place in the 2022 Division Business Meeting. They should include the location, dates and cost of the workshop.

For more information, check the website of EMIW here

If you are interested in following this year's EMIW workshop, register here. The workshop would be in Turkey from 11th to 17th September 2022.

Q&A with IAGA!

All your questions about how IAGA works answered in this blog!

Where does IAGA get its funding from?

IAGA is a non-governmental body that is part of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG). The IUGG has 58 regular and 15 associate member countries that pay subscriptions to it. This fee is used to fund the 8 organisations of IUGG, IAGA being one of them. Click here to know the process if your country would like to join IUGG.

How does IAGA appoint representatives?

On behalf of the Member Countries, IAGA is administered by an Executive Body that is elected by a Nominating Committee, following the by-laws mentioned here. Each country has a National Correspondent nominated by the national bodies. The Chief Delegates may vote on all matters. Officers normally serve 4 years (some 8 years). They preside over one IAGA and one IUGG General Meeting.

Can an Early Career Researcher be part of IAGA?

Any researcher can be a part of IAGA. There are no membership fees or formality to participate in the activities of the organisations. IAGA welcomes scientists from all over the world to take part in the Associations' events as well as scientific information exchange.

Can an Early Career Researcher be a representative of any IAGA Committee?

There are Early Career Liaison Representatives for each Division as well as Commission. Most of the ECRs are elected for this position. However, there are no age limits determined for other positions, which makes it possible for ECRs to represent IAGA in them as well. They may also act as National Correspondents of their country. To know more, they can contact the present Correspondents. The list can be found on this website under the 'Administration' tab.

Who do I contact if I have something (good/bad) to say/ask about the workings in my country?

You can contact your National Correspondents for any issue in your country. You may also contact the Executive Body for any details you might need or questions you might have. You can contact the Division members specifically if your query is related to it. You can find the contact information of all IAGA position holders here.

What a PhD on Core-Mantle Interaction looks like

I’m interested in how we can separate regions of the Earth’s main magnetic field into local regions to better understand how the mantle and core interact. It is important to remember that the main field is the most dominant contribution (>90%) to the Earth's magnetic field at the Earth's surface and changes over time due to the movement of conductive liquid in the outer core. This liquid is mostly composed of iron and is swirling in a complex current system due to the release of heat from the centre of the Earth, the turning motion of the planet, and the magnetic field perturbing the conductive liquid. Core flow and magnetic field models at the CMB tend to be described by spherical harmonics, which are not suitable for separation into individual regions due to large leakage being generated during the separation (Backus, 1968; Wieczorek and Simons, 2005). Spherical Slepian functions can spatially and spectrally separate bandlimited potential fields by transforming the spherical harmonic coefficients into the Slepian basis and sorting the functions by contribution to the patch (Simons and Plattner, 2015). 

We wished to make geophysical interpretations of the impact of the Large Low Velocity Provinces (LLVPs) on the core surface flow over time. LLVPs are two antipodal regions of anomalously low seismic velocity cover ~25% of the CMB surface (Koelemeijer, 2021). Long-lived features in the Earth’s magnetic field have been speculated to be linked to the LLVP structures as evidence for top-down control on the geodynamo (Tarduno et al., 2015). Whether these features apply a thermal forcing, a chemical exchange, dynamic topography or other effect to the core remains to be explored (McNamara, 2019; Zhao et al., 2015; Rhodri Davies et al., 2012).
The decomposition of SV at the Earth’s surface achieved from 5 biannual snapshots from May 2008 to May 2016 using 69 altitude-cognizant Slepian eigenfunctions to describe the Inside LLVPs. The blue circles in the global spherical harmonic plot show the data variability over the time period due to the satellite coverage.
In my PhD, we successfully incorporated spherical Slepian functions into regional SV inversions from satellite data for 2006–2021 and separated 150 years of COV-OBS.x2 SV model coefficients to investigate how LLVPs may be affecting core surface flow over time (Hammer et al., 2021; Huder et al, 2020). We identify that the energy within the region is incrementally changing over time. The spectral energy within the LLVPs at the Earth’s surface are changing over time and there is good correlation between periods of known acceleration change (from Mandea et al., 2010; and Duan and Huang, 2020) and inflection points in the spectra at l = 2 and l = 4 which reflect changes in signal due to antipodal structures. Inversions of satellite energy within the LLVPs have been relatively constant over the last 20 years and is roughly proportional to the surface area of the LLVPs but the longer time series shows a reduction in spectral energy within the LLVPs over time which is slowing over time. This work requires further investigations about the best applications of spherical Slepian functions, the cause of this SV change and extending the time period (e.g. using GGF100k, Panovska et al., 2019).

Hannah Rogers has just submitted her PhD thesis at the University of Edinburgh and is a member of the IAGA Social Media team. Her specialism is in investigating regional magnetic fields of Earth at the surface and the core-mantle boundary using mathematical methodologies. You can follow her on Twitter at @Hannah_Rogers94.