• Photo by Nicolas J Leclercq on Unsplash
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IAGA Schools

All about the upcoming IAGA School (Aug 2021) - http://iaga-iaspei-india2021.in/iaga-program.html

IAGA Schools are organised in the week before the IAGA Scientific Assemblies with the aim of providing some basic understanding of a variety of topics covered by IAGA to early career scientists. The sponsored participants include the recipients of the IAGA Young Scientist Awards, and a number of PhDs or Post-Docs who are selected from nominations by the IAGA Divisions and Working Groups. Geographical and gender diversity are additional criteria for the choice of students as well as scientific excellence. Lectures on a broad range of IAGA topics are given by distinguished international experts in the fields, with accompanying practical sessions. 

The schools are a great way for early researchers to socialise and interact with each other and other scientists who are working in the same field. Not to mention, a great opportunity to visit a new country and practically learn about cultural diversity.

First IAGA School participants and lecturers in Merida, Mexico (2013).

The first IAGA school was held in Merida, Mexico in August 2013 attended by 20 students of 14 nationalities from 11 countries. It covered a wide range of topics like paleomagnetism, electromagnetic induction and data inversions.

The second IAGA school was held in Prague, Czech Republic in June 2015 attended by 22 students of 13 nationalities from 14 countries. It covered almost all topics related to magnetic fields and magnetic field models.

The third IAGA school was held in Hermanus, South Africa in August 2017 hosted by SANSA Space Science and attended by 19 students from 15 countries. The students got hands-on experience handling large data and learning about the atmosphere and space.

The fourth IAGA school was held in Quebec, Canada in August 2019 attended by 20 students from 11 countries. Distinguished scientists shared their knowledge about the physics of planets and its interaction with the sun.

For the first virtual school, this map provides a context about the places where the students and lecturers reside at present. The green rings represent the participating students and the red circles represent the lecturers.

The fifth and upcoming IAGA school was to be held in Hyderabad, India but will now be conducted online from 16th to 20th August 2021. 30 participants from over 10 countries are already interacting with and learning about each other through different online platforms. They will attend lectures and practicals online through virtual rooms on magnetism and aeronomy. 

Though this time the school is online, the organisers are leaving no stones unturned so that the students can interact with and learn about each other as they would face-to-face. Even the lecturers are sparing no effort to make the first virtual school a success. 

And a special message from IAGA to the participants: 

We are looking forward not just to the great scientific exchanges but also to your introductory videos through which all of us can get to know each other in our virtual environment and deepen this when we will finally meet in-person. We hope you extend your network through the school and make new friends! 

And another one from the IAGA President: 

The 5th IAGA School is planned for August 16-20, just before the IAGA-IASPEI Joint Scientific Assembly. The IAGA Summer School Program offers an exciting set of courses with a modern edge in geomagnetism, electromagnetism, paleomagnetism and aeronomy. In these five-day long courses, introductory through advanced level, students will explore specific IAGA topics. 

An international team of professional lecturers will guide you via a journey from the Earth’s core to the magnetosphere. Through lectures and practicals, you will take advantage of the abundant topics our disciplines have to offer. Practical times will help you to develop new skills and refine your understanding of Earth’s magnetism. You will join a vibrant, diverse community of motivated students and distinguished faculty as you satisfy your intellectual curiosity, make new friends from around the world, and explore the many facets of the IAGA. Fill your mind with knowledge and your social networking time with memories. Work hard, play hard and enjoy the balance of achieving your academic goals while enjoying a fun, fulfilling experience with new friends at your side. Today in a virtual world, tomorrow in a face-to-face event, as closeness and face-to-face are two powerful communication and connection tools. 

Your brilliant future is ahead of you!

With my very best wishes,
IAGA President

Stay tuned for students sharing their experience of the first online IAGA school and know more about the upcoming 2021 IAGA-IASPEI conference in next month’s blog!

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


Planetary Magnetic Fields : Terrestrial Planets

Cutaway views of the interiors of the terrestrial planets reproduced from Solarview. Image : Mulyukova and Bercovici 2021

The four innermost planets of our Solar System - Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars - are classified as the terrestrial planets due to their similarities in structure. They are composed of metals or rocks and have a solid hard surface.

Starting with our planet Earth, it has the strongest magnetic field among these four. You must have heard that the Earth has a magnet inside it. Well, that’s not entirely right. The convecting motion of metals in the core produces a magnetic field that is similar to the field produced by a bar magnet. To make this dominant dipolar field easier to understand, the field is represented by a magnet inside. But, we also have non-dipolar fields from the core and other sources like the crust and the ionosphere. Equally interesting to study is the change in the magnetic field over time which also tells us that the field changes its polarity. So the compass you are using now will not show the same results to your descendants born after a reversal!

Image : Mouritsen 2015. It shows a representation of the Earth's magnetic field. The geographic and magnetic axes are not aligned but at an angle of about 12 degrees.

The smallest of the planets, Mercury, has a weak core field. The slow rotation of the planet is one of the reasons for its low magnitude. Another is it's not-so-hot core. But the field is still strong enough to have a magnetosphere. More magnetic data from upcoming missions will help to fully understand the planet.

Image : NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington, from results of the early phases of Messenger satellite. It is a depiction of the magnetosphere of Mercury with distortions of magnetic field (blue) from solar winds. 

Mars has been the hot topic lately. It has also had a bunch of satellites orbiting it and landers on it for some time now. So we can say assertively from those observations that it once had an active core field, i.e., a dynamo. It has remnant crustal fields of magnitudes higher than that observed on Earth that interact with the solar winds and produce mini-magnetospheres. So, surely it had a strong dynamo in the past, sometime near 3.7Ga or maybe 4.1Ga ago?

Images : (Coloured) Brain et al. 2015. The solar wind carries with it particles (yellow and dashed lines) that interact with the Martian crustal magnetic fields (orange). (Black and white) Zhang et al. 2008. Schematic of the induced magnetosphere of Venus.

Lastly, we have Venus. You can feel a little sad for the planet because no one talks much about it when it comes to magnetic fields. That’s because there has been no evidence of any core field there. But don't feel too sad, NASA and ESA have selected a total of three future missions to visit the planet!

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


ICH sessions in IAGA-IASPEI 2021!!

ICH has co‐organized two sessions as part of the upcoming 2021 IAGA‐IASPEI Joint Scientific Assembly : 

“Analogue Data for Future: Preservation and Present‐Day Utilization of Instrumental Historical Data in Geosciences” (together with IASPEI) 

“Remarkable geomagnetic events and indices: Derivation, history, and applications for space weather” (together with Div. IV, V and ICSW)

Do attend the sessions for the submissions from both IASPEI and IAGA communities covering all aspects of historical research in geophysics and involving historical data archives.

Contributed by the Chair of the Interdivisional Commission on History, Dr. Anatoly Soloviev, from the Geophysical Center, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow. The Commission encourages historical geophysical research and preservation of IAGA's history.