258-2 International Geosciences Research Projects Benefit US Graduate Education

Tuesday, 7 October 2008: 1:45 PM
George R. Brown Convention Center, 330B
An Yin, Mark Harrison and Craig E. Manning, Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
One of the primary goals of geosciences is to understand the planet Earth a task not achievable in the territory of a single country. In the past 15 years the UCLA Geology Program has actively engaged in international research projects, involving more than 20 graduate students. The major scientific benefits of these research activities for the US students include the following. (1) They offer the students an opportunity to examine spatially variable geology at continental or even global scales. As the variable geology often reflects snap shots of different stages of shared geologic processes, this experience allows the US students to better appreciate the temporal evolution of some of the most fundamental geologic processes recorded in different parts of the Earth (e.g., continental collision, continental growth via accretion, evolution of large fault systems, etc.). (2) The US students learn to appreciate the differences in academic traditions and research practices between the US and host country communities. This is invaluable for effective communications with the international collaborators and in particular with regard to evaluating large amounts of existing data collected by the host-country geoscientists (geologic maps, stratigraphic sections, age assignment of fossils). (3) The US students in rare cases can access the state-of-the-art analytical facilities that are not available in the US. The societal impacts of the international research projects include (1) better understanding of the cultural differences between America and the host country, (2) learning the vastly complex ethnic, political and cultural diversities in single countries (e.g., India and China), (3) disseminating the research results in native language via the collaborators, and (4) networking that prepares the US students to become the future scientific leaders in the international arena.