CFP: Building Interdisciplinary Bridges – Historians of Science and Geologists

First posted Friday, December 18, 2020 /  Yom shishi, 3 Tevet, 5781

By David Orenstein

Here’s an opportunity for historians of Canadian Science and Technology to meet and work with the workers and students in a major and very successful field of Canadian Science: the Geosciences.

The 2021 annual congress of the combined Geological Association of Canada / Mineralogical Association of Canada will offer a history session: “History of Geosciences in Canada”. It’s listed as Special Session No. 26. Here’s the site for the overall May 17-19, 2021, GAC-MAC 20201 Congress:


And guess what, the call for abstracts has just opened and you have exactly one month to submit your abstract. They’re due Monday, January 18, 2021. You can submit your abstract here:


If you’re used to the more relaxed CSTHA abstract submission process, you might be surprised by a couple of things. First of all, there is a $50 non-refundable fee for abstract submissions. But there are two mitigating factors here. First of all, acceptance is largely the work of the session convenors and we’re all experienced historians of Canadian science. Furthermore, the cost can be assigned to research budgets, either your own or your supervisor’s. And with the online option, think of all the money you will save on travel costs.

Next you have to set up an online account to allow you to submit an abstract. As with all online processes patience is required.

Though all three co-convenors are from the CSTHA (UQAM’s Raphaël Pelletier, Waterloo’s Matthew Wiseman, and me) the session is also co-sponsored by three divisions of the Geological Association of Canada: The Canadian Tectonics Group, The Palaeontology Division, and The Canadian Sedimentology Research Group.

So why don’t you help make this possibly day-long session a success by by offering a paper yourself?


Here’s the most recent update of the History Session Prospectus:

GAC-MAC 2021
May 17-19, 2021
London Ontario, Canada
In-Person and / or Online


Exploring Geosciences Through Time and Space

Themes: Earth and Planetary Systems
Life, Climate and Environment
Tectonic Processes and Geohazards
Resource Geoscience.


Special Session No. 26:

History of Geosciences in Canada

Convenors:  David Orenstein (Toronto DSB)
Raphaël Pelletier (UQAM & CIRST)
Matthew Wiseman (St. Jerome’s U @ U Waterloo)

The Geosciences in Canada have long been a major part of the Geosciences internationally and a leading component of our nation’s scientific community. As early as 1913 Canada hosted an International Geological Congress (President Frank Adams) and our Geological Surveys predate Confederation (William Logan).

Geoscience has been vital to Canada’s economic development (the Klondike Gold Rush) , our understanding of biological evolution (the Burgess Shale Biota and the early land vertebrates from Joggins), and the globe’s tectonics (the Newfoundland Atlantic Sandwich). Geoscientists from around the world (Charles Lyell, Peter Kropotkin,  Simon Conway Morris) have been coming to Canada both to learn from our rocks and our scientists (the Dawsons –  John William and George Mercer , A.P. Coleman, Tuzo Wilson).

This session is in preparation for the celebration of the semi-centennial of the 1972 Montreal Geological Congress and papers may be delivered in either English or French

Sponsored by:

I) GAC Divisions

GAC Canadian Tectonics Group
GAC Palaeontology Division
GAC Canadian Sedimentology Research Group

II) History of Science Society

Canadian Science and Technology Historical Association


Presentation Format

GAC-MAC oral presentations are slated for 20 min (15 min presentation + 5 for Q&A and transition to next presentation).

We do not know yet the detailed format for next year’s meeting aside from our current plan to have it as a hybrid between “in person” as well as virtual presentations.  So this leaves it currently open to the abstract submitter and presenter whether or not they wish to be on site for the meeting.

If the University / City / Province shuts us down next spring, then we will revert to an entirely virtual meeting.




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