Page 1

media (the Internet and CD-ROMs, for example) on their own

teachers judged the introductory events held in Bavaria and

and to carry out simple experiments that will help them

North Rhine-Westphalia as a total success. They also awarded

visualize the information they are absorbing. The lessons range

high marks to the concept behind the subjects dealt with in the

from »Volcano in a Jam Jar« to »Tornado in a Bottle«. »About

seminars: a well - coordinated combination of lectures and

80 percent of the materials can be found in the pupil’s own

presentations of simple experiments that can be carried out in

kitchen,« says Frank Siemer, a scientist involved in the project.

the classroom.

»That makes it easy for pupils to approach the phenomena of the natural sciences and reduces their reluctance to carry

The next event in the series, which will be organized in

out experiments.«

cooperation with the Academy for the Continuing Education of Teachers in Saxony, will take place in Schloss Siebeneichen


in Meißen from November 25 – 27, 2002. Further seminars are planned for 2003. More information on the project

Concentration! Participants of the teachers’ seminar in Bochum in June 2002

In cooperation with the education experts in Kiel, the

and the seminars for teachers can be found on the

GEOTECHNOLOGIEN coordination office conducts seminars in

websites of GEOTECHNOLOGIEN and the IPN (http://

continuing education programmes for teachers throughout

Germany. The target group consists mainly of specialists in the fields of chemistry, physics, geography and biology. Participating


Science instead of shopping: GEOTECHNOLOGIEN in the elegant shopping mall »SchadowArkaden« in Düsseldorf


The Year of the Geosciences 2002, initiated

mineralised »black smoker« channel from the

by the Federal Ministry of Education and

depths of the Pacific Ocean. The multimedia

Research, offers an outstanding platform for

presentation is now also available on a CD that

When it is not taking part in one of the various

GEOTECHNOLOGIEN programme. Accordingly,

the effective public presentation of research

can be ordered from the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN

central events of the Year of the Geosciences,

the March 2002 issue of this magazine in-

in the geosciences.

coordination office.

the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN presentation is on

cluded an eight-page report on the various

Accordingly, the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN coordi-

Another attraction enjoyed by the viewers was

tour throughout Germany in the form of a

topics of GEOTECHNOLOGIEN. Whether satel-

nation office has organized an extensive pro-

the series of classroom experiments developed

travelling exhibition, set up in shopping malls

lite missions, early warning systems to help

gramme of activities for this year - long event.

as part of the »Research Dialogue on System

and savings banks as well as Ministry

deal with natural catastrophes, or state-of-the-

For example, representatives attended the

Earth« (see the article »Laboratory Earth« in this

buildings and regional parliaments in order to

art technologies for disposing of the dangerous

major events of the Year of the Geosciences

issue). The experiments made the geosciences a


greenhouse gas carbon dioxide – readers lear-

in Berlin, Leipzig and Cologne and presented

hands-on subject and helped viewers to literally

programme and the geosciences in general.

ned in an entertaining and easily comprehen-

a travelling exhibition in numerous German

»get a grasp of« the broad spectrum of work



sible way about the tremendous relevance of

cities. Furthermore the programme was the

being done in these fields and its multiple appli-

presented on three different occasions in

geoscientific research to our everyday life. The

subject of an extensive report in one of the

cations. Not only children but also adults were

Berlin: It could be viewed at the Federal

positive response to these pages, from the

most popular German customer magazines.

thrilled by the experiments. The visitors’ enthu-

Ministry of Education and Research on the

business sector as well as other categories of

siasm increased from one event to the next.

»Day of the Earth«, on April 22, and on the

readers, testify to the success of this some-

Accompanied by a fiery background program-

Ministry’s Open House Days, on August 17 and

what unusual way of publicizing science.

me, the crowds of visitors who came to Cologne

18. In addition, it accompanied the lecture

One of the most important activities of

– more than 80,000, according to the organizers

series »The Geosciences – Water Is Life« at the

GEOTECHNOLOGIEN during the Year of the

– exceeded all expectations. Staff members of

Konrad Adenauer Foundation on several days

Geosciences was its series of presentations at

the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN coordination office

in mid-June. Future venues include the state

the Year’s various central events. The pro-

and the Institute for the Teaching of the Natural

parliaments in Hannover and Schwerin, the

gramme of presentations was designed to

Sciences in Kiel worked very hard to meet the

GEO-2002 conference in Würzburg and the

reflect the many facets of the geosciences. The

visitors’ expectations. And of course there was a

Geocentre located at the site of the German

tremendous spatial and temporal dimensions

long list of interested visitors wishing to receive

Continental Deep Drilling Programme (KTB) in

that the geoscientists deal with was one of the

further information on GEOTECHNOLOGIEN

Windischeschenbach. To find out when this

topics highlighted. Other themes included the

and the various classroom experiments.

presentation can be seen at a site near you,


an ideal medium for acquainting interested non-scientists with the geosciences and the








check the »News« link on our Website.

relevance of their research to everyday life, the breadth of their expertise and the high technological level of their work. A multimedia show and spectacular exhibits that gave viewers a glimpse of the researchers’ daily activities turned out to be a magnet for younger members of the audience in particular. Especially popular exhibits included






Finding out about the geosciences in entertaining way — The CD accompanying the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN research programme

GEOTECHNOLOGIEN boards the train In Germany passengers on long-train journeys enjoy reading the »DB-mobil« magazine published by the German national railway system,

Continental Deep Drilling Programme (KTB) at

Deutsche Bahn AG. More than 500,000

Windischeschenbach, hissing gas hydrates and a

copies are distributed every month. It is clearly

Reading for your train trip: The March 2002 issue of »DBmobil« included a comprehensive report on the topics of GEOTECHNOLOGIEN


A new programme is launched and five research themes are already being funded

»Laboratory Earth«

Status seminar »Gas Hydrates in the Geosystem«

attracts pupils and teachers to the geosciences

– the latest from gas hydrate research

Dear reader,

Public relations activities – getting to know GEOTECHNOLOGIEN

A new programme is launched

A new programme has been launched! And you can read all about it in the main article of the first issue of the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN Newsletter. Indeed since the founding of this special programme by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG – German Research Council), a lot has been accomplished. More than one third of the 13 research themes, many having a direct relevance to everyday life and a considerable application potential, are already being worked on as BMBF-funded projects or DFG priority


Liftoff: The carrier rocket bearing the CHAMP satellite leaves the Russian space centre at Plesetsk in July 2000

programmes. GEOTECHNOLOGIEN is also receiving widespread public attention outside the realm of science, thanks to the comprehensive public relations activities that has

A special event kicked off the year 2002: the launch of the

It is, therefore, no wonder that most of the research projects

been providing continual support to its scientific pro-

GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) mission.

funded are being carried out in cooperation with industrial

gramme. The Year of the Geosciences 2002 offers excellent

Several hundred pupils came to the satellite’s »launch party«


opportunities for further publicity, but we will also be taking

at the GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (GFZ) where live

other opportunities to provide up-to-date information on

coverage from the Russian space centre at Plesetsk and inter-

new developments and successes of the programme.

views with prominent figures in the field were featured in a

The Newsletter, which will be appearing twice a year from

lively programme centring on the satellite and its mission. Not

now on, will serve as an important platform for the ex-

long after its launch on March 17, the first scientific data was

The project launches for the other research themes in the

change of information, background reports on current re-

transmitted to the ground stations for further assessment.

GEOTECHNOLOGIEN programme may have been less specta-

search projects and tips on new trends and dates to remem-

German participation in the international satellite missions

cular but are certainly equally effective. By the end of 2002,

ber. In short, it will be a marketplace where all those who

GRACE, CHAMP (CHAllenging Minisatellite Payload) and

projects in a total of five areas will be funded.

are interested in GEOTECHNOLOGIEN can meet and en-

GOCE (Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation

The investigation of gas hydrates has so far been the largest of

gage in dialogue. I look forward to welcoming you to this

Explorer) forms the core of six joint projects currently being

the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN research themes. A total of 14 coope-

marketplace in future issues.

funded by the BMBF within the framework of the research

rative projects on Gas Hydrates in the Geosystem are being

theme Observation of the System Earth from Space.

funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. At a

In line with the integrative funding concept of the

status seminar held at GEOMAR in Kiel from May 6 – 7, the

GEOTECHNOLOGIEN programme, these topics will be aug-

latest findings of these research projects were discussed and

Ludwig Stroink

mented by a series of DFG-funded projects in the near

presented to the press (see the report on the status seminar

Head, Coordination Office

future. All of the projects will include the participation of

»Gas Hydrates in the Geosystem«).


universities as well as research institutes not affiliated with universities. The many application possibilities of this topic in particular are quite obvious.


News & People

Six of the cooperative projects dealing with the research theme

Preparations are currently in full swing for the research theme

Information Systems in Earth Management will soon

Investigation, Use and Protection of the Underground.

receive funding. These projects will provide an important contri-

Potential areas of research were defined in a panel discussion

bution towards creating a scientific and technological basis for a

by experts at the BMBF office in Bonn on December 18, 2001.

New website

more efficient use of large heterogeneous collections of data

Because of their special relevance to the labour market and

The GEOTECHNOLOGIEN research and develop-

and will help ensure that such collections remain available for

environmental policy, the results of this discussion have been

ment programme presented its new and modern

scientific research, business and administration in the long term.

published in an information brochure entitled »Going into

website on the Internet on April 1, 2002.

More than half of the projects are being carried out in close co-

Depth – Transportation and Economic Activity Underground«.

At you can find out

operation between research institutes and small and medium-

The brochure can be ordered from the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN

online everything you need to know about the

sized enterprises. A »kickoff meeting« is planned for January

coordination office (currently available in german only).

programme, dates to remember, calls for applications, events and press releases. The site is already

2003 in order to allow scientists participating in the projects to establish contact with one another well ahead of time and thus

Cover page of the informational brochure »Going into Depth – Transportation and Economic Activity Underground«

to ensure for cross-project cooperation. The priority programme »The Dynamics of Sedimentary Systems under Variable Tension Regimes, as Exemplified by the Central European Basin System«, implemented by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), will make a direct contribution to the research theme Sedimentary Basins: Mankind’s

registering more than 10,000 hits per month; it will be soon available in english!

Greatest Resource. The overarching goal of the 24 cooperative projects of the programme is to attain a better understanding of the mechanisms by which major sedimentary basins are created in order to make better and more effective use of the tremendous economic potential of these subsidence structures in the Earth’s crust. Another research theme currently in the preparation stage is

GEOTECHNOLOGIEN’s own series of scientific publications

Early Warning Systems in Earth Management. A number of

GEOTECHNOLOGIEN has started its own series of

panel discussions have been held in order to not only formu-

scientific publications called »GEOTECHNOLOGIEN

late a research and development plan for this highly topical

Science Reports«. They can be ordered from the

theme but also to coordinate it with other initiatives. Because

GEOTECHNOLOGIEN coordination office and will

of its scientific-technological orientation, this research

also be available in the libraries of most geoscientific

theme could become a model for integrated funding by both

research institutes in Germany. The first issue in-

the BMBF and the DFG.

cludes the »Extended Abstracts« of the status seminar »Gas Hydrates in the Geosystem« (in english).

Information on the future progress of the research themes Investigation, Use and Protection of the Underground and

»Around the World«

Early Warning Systems in Earth Management are available

This information flyer is intended

at the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN website.

to inform young people about interesting careers in the geosciences. It contains information

The GRACE satellites »Tom and Jerry«.

on degree programmes and the job market, as well as a compreThe research theme Global Climate Change – Causes and

hensive list of Internet addresses

Effects will be investigated within the framework of a cross-pro-

that are relevant to university

gramme initiative. This was thought to be a logical step because

study in this field. The flyer is avai-

the German Climate Research Programme (DEKLIM), which is

lable from the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN

also funded by the BMBF, was launched at nearly the same time

coordination office (in german only).

as GEOTECHNOLOGIEN. As a result, projects concentrating primarily on reconstructing the paleoclimate will be imple-

Passing on the baton

mented under the joint responsibility of DEKLIM and GEOTECH-

After three years in office, Prof. Hans-Peter Harjes,

NOLOGIEN. (Further information is available at

Bochum, handed over the chair of the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN Coordination Committee to Prof.

COUNTDOWN BEGINS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH THEMES Over the past years, scientists all over the world have been

Volker Mosbrugger, Tübingen. Prof. Harjes had Flooding on the Elbe River in Brandenburg in 2002 – Germany too needs effective early warning systems

chaired the Coordination Committee since its foundation in 1999.

focusing on continental margins. The GEOTECHNOLOGIEN research programme deals with this extremely sensitive tran-


sition zone between the continents and the oceans in its research theme Continental Margins: Hot Spots for the


Earth’s Potential Uses and Risks. A public call for project

GEOTECHNOLOGIEN Coordination Office

applications was announced, and the submitted project pro-

Telegrafenberg A6, 14473 Potsdam, Germany

posals are currently being evaluated. Funding of the initial

Tel.: + 49 (0) 331-288-1071

research projects is expected to begin in 2003. For future

Fax: + 49 (0) 331-288-1077

research projects a close cooperation with European and U.S.


initiatives in this field (EUROMARGINS and MARGINS

respectively) is intended. The GEOTECHNOLOGIEN research and development programme is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).

Status seminar »Gas Hydrates in the Geosystem« ABOUT 120 SCIENTISTS FROM GERMANY AND ABROAD MET AT THE GEOMAR RESEARCH CENTRE IN KIEL ON MAY 6 – 7, 2002 TO DISCUSS THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN THE FIELD OF GAS HYDRATE RESEARCH AND SET TARGETS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH PROJECTS. THIS MEETING Chilling out: The Mallik research drilling project in northern Canada is investigating gas hydrates in the continental permafrost


Today, researchers all over the world are fo-

development of pressure chambers and cham-

drilling project, which included German scien-

tists working on the projects were present at a

cusing on gas hydrates. In Germany, gas

bers for experiments will enable its researchers

tists supported by GEOTECHNOLOGIEN, was

final press conference, where they answered

hydrate research is also receiving high priority.

to be the first to examine gas hydrates under

the first to successfully tap a gas hydrate reser-

questions from representatives of the local

That is why gas hydrate research is high on the

the actual pressure and temperature conditions

voir in the Arctic region of Canada in late 2001/

and national press.

list of projects in the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN

that prevail on the ocean floor and to use this

early 2002.

research programme.

data in further experiments in the laboratory.

The scientific reports presented at the status

Research work in the oxygen-free depths of the

seminar dealt primarily with these highly topical

Black Sea has already provided new insights

themes with the participating scientists pre-

into biospheres that had previously been closed

senting the current status of their respective

The status seminar for next year will be part of

The main objective of German scientists, how-

to scientists. A cooperative international project

projects in a total of 30 lectures and 35 poster

the joint conference organized by the European

ever, is not to explore the energy potential of

carried out by scientists from the universities of

presentations. The event also offered an ex-

Geophysical Society (EGS), the American

gas hydrates. They set an even higher priority

Hamburg and Göttingen and the Max Planck

cellent platform for scientific discussion and

Geophysical Union (AGU) and the European

on the role that gas hydrates play in the

Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen

an opportunity for the various project groups

Union of Geosciences (EUG). It will be held in

carbon cycle, their possible effects on climate

succeeded in demonstrating the presence of

to coordinate their efforts. To ensure that each

Nice from April 6 – 11, 2003.

and their potential risks. For example, they

primitive microorganisms that can break down

project benefited from external expert opi-

recently cooperated in a unique joint inter-

methane in the absence of oxygen and there-

nions, members of the review committee for

national project to set up measuring stations

fore play an important role in the methane

the project proposals also participated at the

for long-term experiments on a mountain ridge

cycle of the oceans. A comprehensive report

event. All presentations given at the seminar

off the coast of Oregon, USA, that is composed

was published in the journal SCIENCE in the

have been published in the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN

almost entirely of gas hydrates. The project’s

issue of August 9 (SCIENCE, Vol. 297, p. 1013

Science Reports series No. 1 (ISSN: 1619-7399).

innovative sampling technologies and the

– 1015). The Mallik international scientific

The organizers of the seminar and the scien-



»Laboratory Earth« A sandwich spread that crackles and pops: the »Volcano in a Jam Jar« experiment – before and after (left)


Teachers’ seminar in Bochum – simple but effective experiments for the classroom (right)


The starting point of this research project was a national survey

basic principles of the natural sciences,« explains project leader

of just under 200 pupils on what they understood under

Sylke Hlawatsch.

»System Earth«. Answers such as »animals«, »plants«, »culture« and »communication« led the initiators to the obvious conclusion that there are still considerable gaps in pupils’ know-


ledge of the Earth. Based on up-to-date research results instructional modules on


the following four topics have been developed: • Earth

/ life – a complex dynamic system

The declared aim of the working group led by Horst Bayrhuber

• Material

of the Leibniz Institute for Education in the Natural Sciences

• Using

(IPN) in Kiel is to change this situation. Scientists working at the

• Natural


and safeguarding material, energy and food resources events

IPN on the »Research Dialogue on System Earth« develop speGetting pupils interested in the natural sciences – for these four girls, the project has obviously worked

cial concepts and materials for the classroom that are intended

Future plans aim on the development of concrete teaching

to make it easier for pupils to acquire a comprehensive basic

materials for each instructional unit that can be given to the tea-

understanding of the Earth as a biosphere. »We want to use this

chers. These will include background information and work-

project to integrate topics from the geosciences into public

sheets for the pupils. The developers of the teaching materials

education and to promote cross-disciplinary instruction in the

consider it very important for pupils to be able to use the new