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Geochemists unravel Earth's secrets. (News).

About 1,800 geochemists from around the world joined together for the 12th annual Goldschmidt conference in the alpine town of Davos with the continued aim of revealing some of the secrets of the universe. "There's a large range of exciting new discoveries being made with geochemistry today," says Professor Alex Halliday from the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. "New techniques are allowing us to use chemistry to explore the Earth, the environment, the origins of the solar system and even our own human body in a way that's totally unparalleled in the history of science."

The Goldschmidt conference is an annual meeting, which alternates in venue between the United States and Europe. It is organized by the European Association for Geochemistry and the Geochemical Society.

The conference is named after Victor Moritz Goldschmidt, who was born in Zurich in 1888 and is recognized as the founder of modern geochemistry. "It's geared towards geochemists from all walks of life," says Halliday, who heads Zurich's Institute for Isotope Geochemistry. "Those who use the chemistry of the elements to study subjects like the origin of the solar system and the planets right the way through to people who use chemistry to study ground water or anthropology."

The Goldschmidt medal--the highest honor in the field--is awarded annually to a scientist who is considered to have made an outstanding achievement in the field of geochemistry over the past ten to 20 years.

Some of the key players in geochemistry today are based in Switzerland, including the current president of the Geochemical Society and the vice-president of the European Association for Geochemistry.

Attendance at this year's conference exceeded all expectations. "There's a lot of excitement about the field right now," says Halliday. "Switzerland has become quite strong in this field. I think being centrally placed in Europe and in rather an attractive setting like Davos with good conference facilities is one of the reasons why the meeting has doubled in size this year."
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Title Annotation:Goldschmidt conference
Publication:Swiss News
Date:Oct 1, 2002
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