In 1919, two small science committees merged with the goal of supporting and promoting geoscience research. Soon after, the newly named American Geophysical Union held its first meeting, with 25 members, all elected to the society. About a decade later, membership restrictions were lifted, and the organization grew rapidly, creating a community that embraced the joy of science and its practical applications in fostering a sustainable world.
From these humble beginnings 100 years ago, AGU evolved to become an influential voice and leader in science around the world. We’re continuously looking inward and outward by working to make pathways to science more inclusive and finding new ways to communicate research to the public. Today, our membership soars beyond 60,000, we publish 20 journals that last year featured nearly 6,000 peer-reviewed articles, and our Fall Meeting 2018 attracted more than 27,000 attendees from all over the world. And that’s just what we accomplished in the first 100 years.
It’s now 2019, and we are thrilled to kick off our Centennial celebrations, starting right here in Eos.
Each month, we’ll turn our focus to different fields, starting in January with the atmospheric sciences and the study of climate change. Read about how a task force from the Global Climate Observing System is studying lightning as both a symptom and a cause of climate change. Be motivated by a scientist who was frustrated by the long wait for an aircraft to survey a California neighborhood after a serious gas leak. He turned that frustration into an initiative, launching this month, that will donate $100,000 of flight time to atmospheric scientists who help communities in urgent situations.
Climate change is an interdisciplinary topic we’ll surely come back to again and again this year. Learn about the “escalator to extinction,” through which mountain species flee upslope as their environment changes, until there’s nowhere left to go. Meanwhile, climate policy leaders have been preparing for the new session of Congress, which convened on 3 January, after a shake-up in the 2018 midterm elections. When the Fourth National Climate Assessment was released over Thanksgiving weekend, we published an exclusive from the report’s authors that puts numbers to the deaths and the costs we could see if we don’t curb greenhouse gas emissions and adapt quickly to our changing environment.
Throughout 2019, Eos will celebrate AGU’s Centennial by looking at the evolution of scientific fields over the past 100 years. We’ll also be taking a deeper look at the trends and critical research going on today. Finally, we’ll do our best to peer as far into the next century as we can to predict what Earth and space science might reveal to us.
Explore more at AGU’s official Centennial website. There you can learn about—and apply for—grants for projects that demonstrate innovative ways to promote the value of Earth and space science. Find facts and figures from every field of Earth and space science to share on social media, or browse ways to volunteer your time and expertise. We think you’ll enjoy our AGU Narratives project, featuring stories recorded from scientists working in the field today, many of which we collected last month at Fall Meeting 2018. You can record your own story on your phone and share it with us through the StoryCorps app, using the community code AGU100.
This month is a special one for Eos as well. Established as Transactions in 1920, we added the name Eos in 1969, evolving hand in hand with AGU. In 2014, we launched our website and, soon after, our monthly print magazine—January 2019 (PDF) is the first issue of our 100th volume. In the time since then, we’ve won awards for overall website excellence, print design, and opinion writing; brought you news from myriad Earth and space science projects under way around the world; and provided one more way for AGU members to connect with one another.
For both AGU and Eos, I eagerly look forward to the next 100 years.
—Heather Goss (@heathermg), Editor in Chief, Eos