What motivates you to teach in the EES major at UCF?
Geology is fascinating, and I was always curious to learn about interdependencies of my discipline and to discuss it across academic fields with colleagues and students – especially as geology has become a hugely important research area: fossil energy and climate change, economic growth and raw material supply, material flows from and back into the environment, clean water supply, and consequences of big natural phenomena turning into catastrophes, among others. All these are catchwords in current public debates.
In the meantime, I teach a course about raw materials and another course about Geo-Hazards at UCF with students from different disciplines. I love it because I have met highly motivated and open-minded students and all exchanges during lectures, seminars, and excursions have been a pleasure.
What about your course and your field of expertise do you consider particularly relevant to the vast field of EES?
Societies need raw materials for its metabolism. This requires a profound knowledge of geology as well as about the consequences for the economy and the environment including manifold aspects of local and regional management and governance. Retired in 2014, I feel like a “young pensioner” with expertise as a scientist and from government institutions. After special interests in Precambrian Geology and tropical ecology at the universities of Heidelberg and Freiburg, I became more and more interested and involved in management as director of the Geological Survey of Hesse and then in its scientific questions when I held the Chair of Geo-Resources and Geo-Hazards at Technische Universität Darmstadt.
Do you have anything else to share about your course?
You may have realized that I like my discipline “geology” and that I tried to convince you that it is fun to study it. But certainly it is more than that, especially if “The Major Earth and Environmental Sciences takes an interdisciplinary approach in order to provide a holistic view of our planet Earth”, as it is said in your LAS-program.
The base of all is our mother Earth. Gaia is a beautiful but also a delicate lady. In order to understand her in all her facets, it has remained indispensable to learn more about her history. Personally, I learned during the last decades with students at universities as well as with decision makers in government institutions and in industries that first-year students or many non-geologists have difficulties to cope with these scales. The best way is studying her rocks and structures in the field in order to develop a feeling about the very different scales ranging from seconds to billions of years and from nano to global scale.