My AGU (American Geophysical Union) congress

My AGU (American Geophysical Union) congress

19/12/2019 Perigeo 0
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This story begins few months ago, when I’ve been awarded the 1st CRUST workshop best poster prize. So, CRUST (Centro Interuniversitario per l’analisi sismotettonica) supported my expenses to go to a congress (thanks!), and I chose the biggest one, the AGU, which was held in San Francisco on 9-13 December. I’m quite scared by big, overcrowded conferences, but you know, it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance.

San Francisco must-see: Golden Gate bridge, sea lions at Pier 39, a foggy skyline and rockclimbers on the Corona Heights fault plane

I sent an abstract and it was selected for a poster presentation… cool! The poster is available here, but I’ll speak about the scientific poster in a later post.

Then, December come.

It was my 1st time at AGU congress and also my 1st time across the pond. When I first thought about the number of scientists attending the congress, I instinctively thought to the population of the village where I grew up, but phew!, what a dumbass… I had to multiply that figure by 10 to reach the about 28000 people attending the AGU!

The venue is the Moscone Center, which occupies an entire block. And yes, I got lost inside the Moscone. Actually, twice.

What most impressed me the 1st day was the queue for badge pickup: I’m > 30yo and I’ve never experiences such a tidy, self-organized queue at home. Later, I had further proofs (at the coffee break, toilet, supermarket, airport): queueing in the US is something different from Italy. I think it’s a matter of geometry: US folks make 1-person straight lines, eventually right angles or circles like a spiral. In Italy, it’s more like a violin plot (for non-dataviz disciples: here‘s how it looks like).

Each day I followed the shoals of poster tubes in the morning and of hungry scientists at lunchtime. I had the opportunity to see in person some of the geoscience legends I follow on Twitter. It’s weird, because you don’t know what to expect: gli eroi son tutti giovani e belli – all heroes are young and handsome as Guccini sung almost 50 years ago…

I listened to as many talks and looked to as many posters I could. By the way, stitching all the posters presented at AGU, a 30-km long (18 miles for US friends using strange units) carpet can be made! The science I heard at AGU was overwhelmingly great and gave me food for thoughts for the next months.

My poster!

During the 5-days congress, I’ve walked over 45 km (28 miles) – did I mention I got lost inside the venue?


  • You can be in one single room at a time; with 50+ sessions ongoing at the same time, I missed lots of supercool stuff.
  • I’m a backpacker and I felt comfortable on the floor, but this may not be tha case for elders and/or disabled people. Please add chairs outside the ballrooms!
Views from Moscone Center.

Finally, since #Geolympics is everywhere (check the previous posts on this website to figure out what it is and here to take a look to all the projects supported by AGU Centennial), I now have a favorite MLS team: San Jose Earthquakes!

Thanks, #AGU19!

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