‘Aquifers - and Scientists - Without Borders’, European Science Café

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Where : Alliance Française / German Cultural Center (Plaza Level, Colony Square Complex - 1197 Peachtree Street, NE - Atlanta, GA)
When : May 07, 2013 at 5:30pm
RSVP : http://www.meetup.com/AtlantaScienceTavern/events/115292052/

The European Consulates General in Atlanta are pleased to support the series of ‘European Science Café’ with the Atlanta Science Tavern. These events take place in Atlanta in conjunction with the Alliance Française and the Goethe Institute. During those events a consulate invites a European scientist to give a talk, which is then followed by a discussion with the public around some refreshments.

The next ‘European Science Café’ event will take place on May 07, 2013 at 5:30pm at the Alliance Française / German Cultural Center (Plaza Level, Colony Square Complex - 1197 Peachtree Street, NE - Atlanta, GA). Gerhard Schäfer, Professor at the Louis Pasteur University of Strasbourg (France), will talk about ‘Aquifers - and Scientists - Without Borders’.

’Aquifers - and Scientists - Without Borders’ – by Gerhard Schäfer
Boundaries between nations serve to delimit human political activity. But boundaries also exist in the natural world. These limit, for example, the flow of water and pollutants or the spread of insects and pollen and plants. It is rare that these two kinds of boundaries coincide.

In particular, groundwaters move slowly and invisibly in aquifers below the Earth’s surface. Ignoring political borders, they can carry pollutants from one country to its neighbors. Pumping on one side of a line on a map can deplete water reserves available on the other.

Appropriately enough, boundaries between disciplines - including fluid mechanics, physics, and chemistry - have to be crossed to develop a better understanding of the flow of water underground. Likewise, political boundaries have to be bridged so that countries can work together to formulate local and regional policies to better manage these common resources.

In the Upper Rhine area (Switzerland, Germany and France) a consortium has been built to do just this. They are charged with studying watershed dynamics of the region within a common framework while reinforcing exchanges between researchers and benefiting stakeholders involved by promoting cross-border perspectives. The working base task-force of this enterprise relies on a team of researchers and students of these three countries. This creates a “research territory” which is a map of the studied natural system, rendering the usual political frontiers entirely transparent.

About Gerhard Schäfer
Gerhard Schäfer is Professor at the University Louis Pasteur of Strasbourg and is responsible for the team of ‘elementary processes and modeling’ of the Hydrology and Geochemistry laboratory of Strasbourg (LHyGeS). He is also responsible for the development of transfrontier research within the REALISE network, and one of the founding members of the Eucor network for environmental sciences.

Since 2004 Professor Schäfer has taught fluid mechanics and transfers in continental hydrosystems at University Louis Pasteur of Strasbourg, where he arrived as a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer in 1990. From 2002 to 2008 he led the French branch of the Franco-German Research Institute on the Environment (IFARE) in Strasbourg. Gerhard received his PhD from the University of Stuttgart for studying the influence of layered structures and local heterogeneities on longitudinal dispersion in porous aquifers.