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OCR for page 45

OCR for page 45

OCR for page 45
Appendix A THE VI EW FROM THE MOS COW MEETING by Linn Hoover The 27th International Geological Congress, held in the Soviet Union in August 1984, provided a clear reminder of the importance, if not the necessity, of international cooperation in research in the geological sciences. The broad scope of scientific papers, the variety of well-attended field excursions, and the exchange of scientific ideas and research results among more than 5,000 geologists from some 90 countries showed how much the geological sciences depend upon international cooperation to achieve further progress. For geology, unlike most other fields of science, the ultimate laboratory is the entire earth, and its practitioners need access to all parts of that laboratory at all times. The only way they can obtain it is through open and unfettered participation in research programs by all of the world's countries. In recent years, the record of worldwide research cooperation has been pretty good. The pattern was established by the International Geophysical Year, which demonstrated the great advantages accruing from an international program of planned research on clearly defined topics. The ICY set an example for similarly organized programs concerned exclusively with research on solid earth problems. We recall the Upper Mantle Project and the International Geodynamics Project as forerunners of the current International Lithosphere Program, and we can point to the International Geological Correlation Program, the international phase of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, and the International Hydrological Decade as other successful ventures in international scientific cooperation. Linn Hoover, a member of the Committee on Global and International Geology, died of a heart attack on February 8, 1985. The following article, written shortly before his death, summarizes his thoughts on the need for and value of international cooperation in the geological sciences. Originally published as an editorial in the February 1985 issue of Geology, it is reprinted here with the permission of the Geological Society of America as a tribute to Dr. Hoover's contributions to international scientific affairs. 47

OCR for page 45
48 Whether conducted under the auspices of an international nongovernmental body, sponsored by UNESCO, or organized as an intergovernmental scientific endeavor, these programs have all been characterized by an emphasis on science and not on politics, an openness in program planning, and freedom of travel for their participants. What is the outlook for international cooperation in geological research during the next decade? So far, it looks fairly promising, but some disturbing trends are becoming visible. One is the increasing difficulty of obtaining adequate financial support for international research programs. Costs continue to escalate, and government or private funding agencies look for ways to control this increase. The result is that, generally, international programs are drastically underfunded. Another problem is the tendency of some governments to discourage foreign scientific visitors, particularly geologists who want to 'snoop around." And then we are faced with the as yet unpredictable results of the anticipated United States withdrawal from UNESCO, which could have unfavorable repercussions on a broad range of international scientific programs. The ultimate effect of these and other potential dangers depends primarily on the collective wisdom of the scientists who design and conduct international collaborative research programs and the administrators, in and out of government, whose responsibility it is to see that such programs are adequately supported and are pursued free of political interference or pressure. We have all seen pictures of earth taken from space, and we cannot help but be impressed with the unity of the globe. Through plate tectonics, we have a better understanding of crustal dynamics and of how plate motions in one region can affect the geology of another. We know the need for basic geological research on a worldwide scale to solve problems of resource availability and mitigation of natural hazards. And through exciting new techniques of laser ranging and whole earth tomography, we are close to obtaining a fresh insight about crustal movement and related deep-earth structure. Progress in all these fields is contingent on unfettered international cooperation in geological research. We should all do our utmost to make certain that the political climate for such work remains cloudless. Linn Hoover Secretary-General, 28th International Geological Congress Deputy Chief, Office of International Geology U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Va.