Planes, trains and automobiles…


Planning this lecture tour was an interesting experience, if a little stressful. In marked contrast to my 2-week AAPG Distinguished Lecturer Tour in 2013, which was pretty much fully planned (e.g. institutions, dates, flights, etc) by AAPG staff in Tulsa, GSA, a far more fast-and-loose organisation, simply said “get on with it”. I was to contact North American academic and related institutions and, in essence, invite myself to give a talk. So, armed with an Outlook contacts lists containing some of my US-based ‘friends’, and a map of the US, I set about emailing people I wanted to see and places I wanted to go.

I can’t lie; it was great fun. I was asked to conduct two, 2-week tours, one in late-2016 and one during the first half of 2017. However, due to the arrival of a new baby in September 2016, late-2016 was out, thus I had to conduct both tours in 2017. The challenge was not the cost (GSA provided a $10,000 travel bursary to cover transatlantic and internal US flights), but the scheduling. Let me break this down; not including transatlantic flights, each leg of the tour contained 10 working days. So, what do you do? Email individual institutions to gauge their general interest? Or email them with specific dates outlining your availability? And remember: you need to allow time to get between these institutions. Oh, and certain institutions have very specific days on which they run their department seminars or ‘colloquium’. In short, it was a headache, and I had a rather confusing (Excel) spreadsheet keeping track of the emails I’d sent and the responses I received. Some people got back straight away saying “yes, please come by whenever”, whereas some specified certain days. Some people didn’t reply straight away, eventually emailing a very excited, positive response a few weeks later, after all available dates had gone.

I am pretty happy the way both legs of the tour worked out. I get to visit some fantastic places that I have never been to before, and to meet some fantastic scientists who, if it not for the award, I may never have met. In some ways I wish I had been able to visit some smaller schools and colleges, or, like on my AAPG tour, some relatively small, local geological associations and societies; however, like I said, the schedule was essentially constrained by who I knew. Good job I know someone in Hawaii

Hawaii: it’s very nice, or so I hear (photo source:

In the next few posts, I’ll say a little about the origin of the Distinguished Lecturer Award itself, as well as some details about the first leg of the tour. It’s going to gripping stuff…

Author: Christopher Aiden-Lee Jackson

I am Professor of Basin Analysis @imperialcollege. I ❀️ πŸƒπŸΏ, 🚴🏿 and @basinsIC (⛏). I obsess about the tectono-stratigraphic development of sedimentary basins. Why? Because I'm hopeless at everything else.

2 thoughts on “Planes, trains and automobiles…”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s