Public Release: 

2007 Joint Assembly in Acapulco -- press conference schedule

American Geophysical Union

Contents of this message:

  1. News Media Sign-in/Registration
  2. Monday Preview/Media Orientation - Bilingual
  3. Press Conference Schedule
  4. Press Conference Call-ins
  5. Attention PIOs: Sending press releases to Joint Assembly
  6. The Press Room
  7. Journalism Awards
  8. Who's coming

  1. News Media Sign-in/Registration

    On-line press registration is closed. All news media, preregistered or not, should stop by the Exhibitor Registration Desk (just inside the main entrance) to show identification and to receive badges. Media who have preregistered can pick up preprinted Press (Green) badges there. If you have not preregistered, you will receive a temporary badge at the Exhibitor's Registration Desk. Please then proceed to the Press Room (Room 15) in the Exhibition Hall (Salón Chichen-Itza) to fill out a News Media Registration Form. Your Press badge will then be made for you as you wait.

    The Press badge provides access to any of the scientific sessions of the meeting, as well as to the Press Room and Press Conference Room. No one will be admitted to press conferences, sessions, or the exhibit hall without a valid badge. Eligibility for press registration is limited to the following persons:

    • Working press employed by bona fide news media: must present a press card, business card, or letter of introduction from an editor of a recognized publication.
    • Freelance science writers: must present a current membership card from NASW, a regional affiliate of NASW, CSWA, ISWA, or SEJ; or evidence of bylined work pertaining to science intended for the general public and published in 2006 or 2007; or a letter from the editor of a recognized publication assigning you to cover 2007 Joint Assembly.
    • Public information officers of scientific societies, educational institutions, and government agencies: must present a business card.

    Note: Representatives of publishing houses, for profit corporations, and the business side of news media must register at the main registration desk at the meeting and pay the appropriate fees, regardless of possession of any of the above documents. They are not accredited as News Media at the meeting. Scientists who are also reporters and who are presenting at this meeting (oral or poster session) may receive News Media credentials if they qualify (see above), but must also register for the meeting and pay the appropriate fee as a presenter.

  2. Monday Preview/Media Orientation - Bilingual

    Monday, 21 May
    17:30h - 18:30h
    Press Room (Room 15), Exhibition Hall (Salón Chichen-Itza)

    Meeting co-chair Jaime Urrutia Fucugauchi (Professor of Geophysics, National University of Mexico, Mexico City) will present an overview in English and Spanish of scientific highlights of the conference. He will also discuss basics of covering the conference--for instance, how to determine where and when a talk takes place from the code number assigned to each presentation (example: GC22A-03). Scientific sessions will begin the following day, Tues. 22 May, at 10:20 a.m. (after a meeting-wide Opening Ceremony from 8:00h to 10:00h)

  3. Press Conference Schedule

    The following list of topics and participants is accurate as of the day of sending this advisory, but it is subject to change. Press conferences may be added or dropped; subject emphases may change; and participants may be added or dropped. Any changes subsequent to this message will be announced in the Press Room (Room 15) at Joint Assembly.

    Remote call-ins by reporters to press conferences are welcome (see below).

    Session numbers at the end of each press conference listing may show only the first in a series of related sessions on the topic.

    Tuesday, 22 May

    What's Brewing Over Megacities?

    Megacities (cities greater than 10 million inhabitants) are multiplying, particularly in South America, Asia, and other parts of the developing world. By pumping pollutants into the atmosphere, these hubs of industrial activity and intensive motor-vehicle use cause local, regional, and global effects that are coming into focus as a result of targeted scientific investigations. In this press conference, panelists will discuss some key results from major field studies conducted in Mexico City and São Paulo, Brazil. Among the highlights, scientists find that the chemistry of emissions from developing megacities differs from what's brewing over established megacities, particularly with regard to aerosols important to climate change and health.


    • Luisa T. Molina: Principal Research Scientist, Department of Earth Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA; Director, Molina Center for Energy and the Environment (MCE2) Lead scientist, MCMA-2006 /MILAGRO;
    • Jeffrey S. Gaffney: Chair and Professor, Department of Chemistry University of Arkansas, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA; Lead Scientist, MAX-Mex/MILAGRO;
    • Paulo Artaxo: Institute of Physics, University of São Paulo, Rua do Matão, Travessa R, 187 São Paulo, SP, Brazil; Member, Global Air Pollution Forum.

    Session: A23C

    Tuesday, 22 May

    Keeping Track of Earth's Slippers

    One of the great geophysical advances in the last decade has been the development of Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers as tools for directly measuring plate tectonics. Using networks of GPS receivers that routinely gauge deformation in plate boundary zones around the world, scientists find that plates don't just creep along at a steady pace. Rather, they sometimes suddenly speed up or even change direction--actions known as slow slip events (SSE) or transient deformation. Nowhere are SSEs more dramatic than in Acapulco, where what may be the biggest transient deformation ever observed occurred last year. Geophysicists suspect links between SSEs and moderate earthquakes in the Acapulco region, but how those events affect the likelihood of a much larger quake expected eventually in the area remains a puzzle. Speakers will discuss recent findings related to whether SSEs increase or reduce seismic hazards and why some SSEs are small and periodic, while others are much larger but less frequent.


    • Vladimir Kostoglodov: Instituto de Geofisica, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico;
    • Tim Melbourne: Associate Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, Central Washington University and Director of the Pacific Northwest Geodetic Array (PANGA), Ellensburg, Washington, USA;
    • Rob McCaffrey: Senior Geodetic Scientist, GNS Science, Lower Hutt, New Zealand.

    Sessions: G32A/ G33A

    Tuesday, 22 May

    Latest Discoveries from the Surface of Mars

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity continue to explore and to return new scientific evidence more than three years after completing their original three-month prime missions on Mars. Opportunity has been investigating the rim of an 800-meter-diameter crater, where crater walls expose layers of geological history. Spirit is in a range of hills, gathering clues to a complex geological history that includes volcanism and water. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) has been returning stunning images of diverse landforms. For example, detailed images of very recent impact features are providing information about physical properties of both Mars' surface materials and planet-crossing asteroids, and providing insights into how the cratering record can help constrain the ages of terrains or processes that modify them.


    • Alfred McEwen: Principal Investigator, High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and Professor of Planetary Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA;
    • Steven W. Squyres: Principal Investigator, Mars Exploration Rover mission, and Goldwin Smith Professor of Astronomy, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA;
    • Albert S. Yen: Mars Exploration Rover science team member, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, USA.

    Session: P32A

    Wednesday, 23 May

    Ancient Debris Suggests Deadly, Climate-changing Blast

    Investigations of a buried layer at sites from California to Belgium reveal materials that include metallic microspherules, carbon spherules, nanodiamonds, fullerenes, charcoal, and soot. The layer's composition may indicate that a massive body, possibly a comet, exploded in the atmosphere over the Laurentide Ice Sheet 12,900 years ago. The timing coincides with a great die-off of mammoths and other North American megafauna and the onset of a period of cooling in Northern Europe and elswhere known as the Younger Dryas Event. Speakers will discuss numerous lines of evidence contributing to the impact hypothesis. The nature and frequency of this new kind of impact event could have major implications for our understanding of extinctions and climate change.


    • Richard Firestone : Staff Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California, USA;
    • James Kennett: Professor, Dept. of Earth Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara, California, USA;
    • Allen West: Geoscience Consulting, Dewey, Arizona, USA;
    • Luann Becker: Associate Researcher, Institute for Crustal Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, California, USA.

    Session: PP41A

    Wednesday, 23 May

    Challenges to Water Purity: New Results on Contamination Sources and Solutions

    High levels of naturally occurring contaminants in groundwater can limit future developments of these water resources throughout the world. In particular, elevated concentrations of arsenic and radionuclides (radon, radium, uranium) in groundwater have been identified in many "hot spots" in the United States and Latin America. Water supplies can also be contaminated by human activity. The use of fungicides is a rising concern in Central America, where they are used on bananas and other crops, and in Southeastern United States because of spreading soybean rust. Speakers will discuss new findings that include: causes of excessive arsenic in drinking water in Mexico and potential ways to mitigate it, evidence for widespread fungicide contamination of U.S. streams, and new understanding of radionuclide buildup in acquifers.


    • Ron Fuge: Senior Research Associate, Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, U.K.;
    • Avner Vengosh: Associate Professor, Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA;
    • Maria Aurora Armienta: Instituto de Geofisica, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico;
    • William A. Battaglin: Research Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey Toxics Substances Hydrology Program, Denver, Colorado, USA.

    Sessions: H42A/H51A

    Wednesday, 23 May

    How Climate Warming, Pacific Ocean Patterns, and Natural Variability Might Set the Stage for Prolonged Drought in the Western United States and Mexico

    For the past five years or more, much of the western United States and portions of Mexico have experienced sustained arid conditions. Data from tree rings and other forms of paleohydrological evidence yield new evidence of linkages between climate warming, decreases in eastern Pacific sea surface temperatures, and persistent droughts in those regions. In the context of the past 1,000 years, the current drought is not as bad as it can get -- past episodes have been spatially extensive and persisted beyond a decade. Recent climate model experiments also suggest links between prolonged aridity in those regions and climate warming - both today and in the past. All in all, the demonstrated linkages suggest that the current drought has the potential to both persist and worsen.


    • Glen M. McDonald: Professor, Geography and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA;
    • Connie Woodhouse: Associate Professor, Geography & Regional Development, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA;
    • Jose Villanueva-Diaz: INIFAP CENID-RASPA, Durango, Mexico;
    • Edward R. Cook: Doherty Senior Scholar, Biology and Paleo Environment, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York, USA.

    Sessions: U41B/U42B

  4. Press conference call-ins

    Call-ins by reporters to the press conferences are welcome. Here are the phone numbers and access code for doing so:
    From USA and Canada, call (toll free): +1 888 481 3032
    From other locations, call: +1 617 801 9600

    When prompted, please enter this access code: 115139 This code remains the same for all press conferences. However, you must place a separate call for each one, even in consecutive hours.

  5. Attention PIOs: Sending press releases to Joint Assembly

    Public information officers are urged to work with scientists from their institutions to produce press releases and other materials for the media, related to their research, regardless of whether the scientists will be participating in press conferences. We suggest around 20 copies of printed materials and three copies of any video for broadcast, which should be in commercial Beta format. The simplest way to send such materials is with the scientists themselves, asking them to drop them off in the Press Room (Room 15, Exhibition Hall (Salón Chichen-Itza), Acapulco Convention Center). Remaining copies of press materials may be collected up to 1300h on Friday, 25 May, after which they will be scrapped.

  6. The Press Room

    The Press Room is Room 15 of the Acapulco Convention Center. It is located in the Exhibition Hall (Salón Chichen-Itza) and will be open from 7:30 am to 6:30 pm Tues-Thurs, 7:30 am to 4:30 pm Friday. It will be equipped with wi-fi for use with your own laptop and with two Internet-connected computers for shared use, with a shared printer.

    The main phone number for the Press Room is 011 52 (744) 43501 32. However, calls can also be received on ten other lines: ... 33 to ... 42. The Press Room will provide to members of the media, upon request, calling codes for making business calls from the Press Room at no charge.

    Continental breakfast and lunch are served daily, Tuesday-Friday, for News Media registrants. Breakfast is at 0730h. Lunch is at 12:45h.

  7. Journalism Awards

    Thursday, 24 May
    7:00 pm (19:00)
    Hyatt Regency Acapulco, El Cabaret Ballroom

    AGU will present two journalism awards at Joint Assembly, as part of Honors Evening. News Media registrants are encouraged to attend the awards ceremony.
    These journalism awards, previously announced, will be presented:

    • David Perlman Award for Excellence in Science Journalism--News to Betsy Mason, Contra Costa Times

    • Walter Sullivan Award for Excellence in Science Journalism--Features to Kenneth R. Weiss and Usha Lee McFarling, Los Angeles Times

  8. Who's coming

    The following have pre-registered for News Media credentials:

    • Contreras Garibay, Heriberto G. - Consejo Veracruzano De Ciencia Y Tecnología /Manzanas De Newton
    • den Hond, Bas - Trouw, The Economist
    • Joseph, Lawrence E. - Morgan Road/Random House
    • Kerr, Richard - Science
    • LaGrave, Marina - UCAR-NCAR
    • Lindsey, Emily - Freelance
    • Mason, Betsy - Contra Costa Times
    • Perkins, Sid - Science News
    • VanDecar, John - Nature
    • Weiss, Ken - Los Angeles Times


Note: For previous advisories, please go to

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