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


The International Association of Physics Students (IAPS) has started a campaign called Physics4Peace. It aims for physicists and students to come together to promote peace and raise awareness about past events where physicists joined hands.

People can anonymously share stories of what they are going through, especially in Ukraine and Russia. IAPS aims to collaborate with their partners for the campaign #physics4peace. Click on the link for more information and to get involved!

IAGA has a collaboration with IAPS and supports its efforts. IAGA also released a statement regarding the ongoing conflict on its website.


Online vs Offline Science

Science communication has changed a lot in the past few years. With the population online growing at an exponential rate, the presentation and promotion of science also shifted, or rather tries to co-exist, both offline and online. To a great extent, it is due to the pandemic. As soon as everything in the real world closed down, everyone was forced to look for alternatives using the internet.

Global overview of internet usage in January 2022. Credit : DataReportal

This led to a lot of changes in our daily routine. And it also led to changes in scientific outreach and it's participation statistics. The virtual participation in conferences or workshops unintentionally opened doors to a lot of people who couldn't attend before due to various reasons- be it lack of funding, location issues or maybe even stage fright. The registration fees were lower and a 'compromised timezone' was built to ensure maximum virtual presence.

Another issue that was addressed was the inclusion of minority groups. It is no secret that many groups have less representation in academics compared to others. If you ask me which, off the top of my head, I'll say women, black, queer and probably many others that I don't even know about. Female attendance grew by 253% while gender queer attendance grew by 700% (Source), thanks to virtual meetings!

Online scientific outreach also gave birth to a lot of new avenues. Many groups, laboratories and universities started web based chats to discuss both professional and personal life in the lockdown. People found it easier to reach out online vs offline. Webinars became much more frequent and interactive. One example is the MagNetZ (Magnetic NetworkZ) webinars, which is an informal space to present and discuss science related to Earth's and planets' magnetism. Another workshop I attended during the pandemic was the Deep Mantle mini-workshop by the SEDI (Study of the Earth's Deep Interior) community. I'm sure there are many more such involvements in all disciplines.

So, if you ask who wins in the online vs offline war, personally, I'd still say offline. I'm sure most of us, especially the early career researchers actively looking for networking, would prefer attending offline rather than online. Online participation can't beat the old school face-to-face interactions, but it's coming real close with present technological tools. If managed properly and coordinated carefully, hybrid meetings can go a long way, providing the possibility of not being able to attend physically but still being part of at least the important events we would have otherwise missed.


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.



PhD in IAGA #3

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.

Samuel Fielding, a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh, says:

My research topic is looking at the current forecasting capabilities within the field of space weather, and trying to improve them and find new avenues of research within the field using machine learning. With the large amounts of data being collected on space weather from the many satellites currently in orbit around the Earth or at the L1 Lagrange point, there is a lot of data to train machine learning algorithms on, and the Earth-Sun system is currently not well modelled by current physical models because of the complexity of interactions within the system. This means that the field is a perfect place to explore machine learning models, and it is a very active field with a lot of research on optimising current prediction models. Can these models be optimised further, and looking forwards, is machine learning the right way for us to predict space weather events?


False-colour image of a solar eclipse from 21 August 2017. Copyright Miroslay Druckmuller. As published in SciTechDaily, 21 June 2021 and Habbal et al. 2021.