AGU 2011 Fall Meeting Media Advisory 3

16 November 2011

Joint Release

Preliminary Press Conference Topics;
Journalism Awards Ceremony/Reception;
Winchester, Lubchenco talks/briefings

Moscone Convention Center
San Francisco, California
5–9 December 2011

In this release:

  1. Preliminary Press Conference Topics
  2. Simon Winchester and Jane Lubchenco lectures/press briefings and other special events
  3. Ceremony & reception for journalism awardees – Thu., Dec. 8
  4. Attention PIOs: Sending Press Releases to Fall Meeting and NEW virtual pressroom
  5. NCSWA Holiday Dinner – Sign up by Wed., Nov. 30!
  6. News Media Registration Information
  7. Registration Form – preregistration deadline Mon., Nov. 28
  8. Who’s Coming

For important information regarding visas for international reporters and hotel bookings at meeting rates, please see: Media Advisory 1

For additional information about searching the scientific program, please see: Media Advisory 2

Preliminary Press Conference Topics

We are planning a number of press conferences on some of the newsworthy presentations at Fall Meeting. The following list is subject to change, including deletion of items, likely addition of other press conferences, and different emphases. Reporters are urged to check the sessions and abstracts and attend sessions on topics of interest to them, in addition to attending press conferences.

A subsequent media advisory will contain the full list of press conferences, including days and times, explanatory blurbs and lists of participants. The advisory will also provide details for accessing those press conferences via the Internet. All press conferences will take place in the Press Conference Room, Room 3000, Moscone West, Level 3.

  • March 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami
  • Droughts past, present, and future
  • Science of renewable energy
  • Dawn mission to Vesta
  • Jane Lubchenco press availability
  • Simon Winchester press availability
  • 2011 Great Mississippi Flood
  • Weather technology
  • Ocean acidification
  • Mars Opportunity findings
  • Space weather – upcoming solar maximum*
  • Himalayan geology
  • Glacial lakes
  • Climate and natural hazards
  • And much more!

(* Workshop)

2. Simon Winchester and Jane Lubchenco lectures/press briefings and other special events

Author and journalist Simon Winchester will present the AGU Presidential Forum on Science and Society at 12:15 p.m. Mon., Dec. 5, in Moscone North, Rooms 134-135. Following his speech and book signing, Winchester will be available at 3 pm the same day to speak with reporters in the Press Conference Room, Moscone West, Room 3000, Level 3.

Jane Lubchenco, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will present the AGU Union Agency Lecture on Predicting and Managing Extreme Events at 12:30 Wed., Dec. 7, in Moscone North, Hall E. After the talk, Lubchenco will be available to speak with reporters in the Press Conference Room, Moscone West, Room 3000, Level 3.

For online information about the lectures by Winchester, Lubchenco, and others, see:

3. Ceremony & reception for journalism awardees – Thu., Dec 8

The 2011 Fall Meeting offers a special opportunity to honor and celebrate AGU’s most recent journalism award winners before their colleagues and peers. A brief ceremony (5-5:30 pm), followed by an hour-long reception, will recognize the outstanding reporting and writing of 2011 Perlman Award winner Steve Connor and 2011 Cowen Award winner Charles Petit. The ceremony will take place in the Press Conference Room, Room 3000, in Moscone Center West, Level 3, followed by the reception, diagonally across the hall in the Press Room, Room 3001A. For more information about the 2011 awards and awardees, see:

Note: Tom Zoellner, author of the book, “Uranium: War, Energy, and the Rock that Shaped the World,” will also be briefly honored by the American Institute of Physics at the ceremony.

4. Attention PIOs: Sending Press Releases to Fall Meeting and NEW virtual pressroom

Public information officers of universities, government agencies, and research institutions are encouraged to disseminate press releases and related documentation at Fall Meeting. We recommend around 50 copies of printed materials and three-to-five copies of broadcast quality video.

The easiest way to get these materials to the Press Room is to take them yourself, if you are going to Fall Meeting, or to give them to one of your scientists, with instructions to deliver them to the AGU Press Room (Room 3001A) Moscone West, from Mon., Dec. 5.

If you prefer, you may send these materials (but not to arrive before Dec. 2) by FedEx, UPS, or DHL to the following address:

Peter Weiss
(Guest arriving Dec. 2)
InterContinental San Francisco Hotel
888 Howard Street
San Francisco, California 94103
Phone: +1 (415) 616-6500, +1 (888) 811-4273

Shipments to the above address should be timed to arrive on Fri., Dec. 2, or after. They will be displayed from Mon., Dec. 5 or as soon as received (if later than Monday).

Remaining materials may be collected from Room 3001A by Fri., Dec. 9, at 1:00 p.m., after which they will be scrapped. NEW: We’ll have a virtual pressroom at Fall Meeting this year, so send us ([email protected]) a PDF of your press release if you’re interested in having your release online. We’ll announce the URL of the pressroom in a subsequent media advisory.

5. NCSWA Holiday Dinner – Registration deadline Wed. Nov. 30, New venue

[The following notice is provided on behalf of the Northern California Science Writers Association. Registration is required by Wed., Nov. 30 at]

Holiday Dinner: Intimate Aerials: Photography using Kite-Lofted Cameras Cris Benton, Professor of Architecture, UC Berkeley

Jannah restaurant, San Francisco (directions below)
Wed., Dec. 7

Join us for middle eastern food with a NorCal twist and a speaker who’s above the rest (literally) at our annual holiday shindig. Enjoy the imaginative offerings of Jannah restaurant, such as carrot ganoush, middle eastern pizzas, and pyllo doughs stuffed with meats or vegetables. Hobnob with your local friends and out-of-town colleagues visiting for the annual AGU meeting. And relax to a top-notch lineup of seriously unserious science trivia, whacky door prizes, and see visions of the earth as you’ve never seen it before.

Cris Benson’s talk will chronicle fifteen years of aerial photography using kite-lofted cameras. The views afforded by kite aerial photography offer a fresh perspective of familiar landscapes and in doing so challenge our spatial sensibilities, our grasp of relationships. The technique yields unique images from a range of altitudes (10-300 feet above the ground) that are too low for conventional aircraft. Examples will be shown from around the Bay Area in general and the South San Francisco Bay Salt Ponds landscape in particular. In 2003, more than 15,000 acres of former salt ponds were purchased from Cargill and are in the process of being restored as wetlands. As the salt ponds have been decommissioned and returned to a more natural state, Cris has been documenting both the history of the salt industry as well as the return of wildlife. In his talk, Cris Benton will touch on the history of early aerial photography, the equipment and techniques used as well as motivations for using kites in the current day. As an art form or a remote sensing tool, Cris’ low-level approach yields images that are both beautiful and useful.

For those science writers who also like fooling around with gadgets, Cris will be bringing his cradles, cameras and kites for some show-and-tell. His very-low-cost rig was the cover story of the first MAKE magazine. MAKE magazine is the inspiration for the very popular Maker’s Faire held every year in San Mateo and other sites across the country and has helped launch projects for innumerable do-it-yourself artists, kids, crafters and other science experimenters.

For the curious, here’s a 10-minute video of Cris explaining how to build your own rig for kite aerial photography

Cris Benton is a Professor of Architecture and former department chair at UC Berkeley. Benton first started developing aerial photography to help him design buildings and harbors considerable passion for Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) and its associated historical, applied, and artistic dimensions. He began his South Bay work during a sabbatical year spent as Artist-in-Residence at the Exploratorium in San Francisco where he worked on several KAP-related projects. The work has continued under Special Use Permits from the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge and the California Department of Fish & Game. The resulting images of the salt ponds have been shown in exhibits at the Cooper Hewitt Museum, the Exploratorium, and the Coyote Point Museum, as well as conferences and art galleries.

Jannah Restaurant
1775 Fulton St (Near Masonic)
San Francisco, CA
Phone: 415-567-4400

*** Easily reachable via Muni, on the 5, 21, 31, or 43 lines (the first three all stop on Market St. just outside the Powell and Montgomery St. BART stations.)

***Two hours free parking in garage across the street

Google Map

6:00pm – 7:30pm Happy hour with beer and wine available
7:30pm – 8:45pm Dinner
8:45pm – Speaker

$28 members
$18 students
$32 non-members & AGU attendees

NCSWA is subsidizing the cost for members in order to keep dinner affordable.

Register by Wed., Nov. 30 to reserve your spot!

6. News Media Registration Information

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 or other association of science journalists recognized by the World Federation of Science Journalists, or from the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ); or evidence of by-lined work pertaining to science intended for the general public and published in 2010 or 2011; or a letter from the editor of a recognized publication assigning you to cover Fall Meeting.
  • 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 will not be accredited as Press 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 for the day they are presenting.

News Media registrants will receive a badge that provides access to any of the scientific sessions of Fall Meeting, as well as to the Press Room and Briefing Room. No one will be admitted without a valid badge.

Details will be provided in a subsequent advisory about where preregistered members of the media will pick up their badges and where those who have not preregistered will be able to register onsite. In either case, please be prepared to show identification.

7. News Media Registration Form – preregistration deadline Mon., Nov. 28

The News Media Registration Form is set up for online submission only. Please go to

The last day for advance News Media registration (assuring speedy printing of your badge when you arrive) is Mon., Nov. 28, 2011. You may also register on-site.

8. Who’s Coming

The online list of journalists who have preregistered for the Meeting is updated daily and may be seen at: