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In November 2009 Sue went to work in Trondheim at the Norwegian Geological Survey to assess the archives of theInternational Union of Geological Sciences IUGS ( as part of the preparation for their 50th anniversary next year (2011).

The IUGS was set up in 1961 as the last major scientific discipline to gain a voice in the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU). Coming from a long-gestated idea begun in the post-World War I reorganisation of international science, the geologists were the last major body to create an overreaching organisation. Such unions provide the worldwide scientific community with standards and outreach and are involved with the setting up of international conferences such as the 33rd International Geological Congress hosted by Norway in Oslo in 2008.

The important work to finally launch the IUGS was done by Scandinavians at a similar IGC in Copenhagen in 1960. One of those men was Johannes Dons, first IUGS Executive Treasurer, who died on November 14th aged nearly 91 (GEO 08/2009). This sad news came just as the Secretariat, which has been based in Norway for 25 years is undertaking the massive job of transferring to its new country, with the base at the USGS, Reston VA [Washington DC]. Dons had led the Norwegian delegation and represented IUGS at the next International Geological Congress in Delhi in late 1964.

A Canadian colleague, W.E. 'Bill' Hutchison had asked Sinding-Larsen to take over as Chair of IUGS initiative, CoGeodata setting standards in the new fields of information technology, when Hutchison became Secretary-General. In turn, Sinding-Larsen was elected to the post at the International Geological Congress in Moscow in 1984, when he set up the Secretariat in Trondheim. He chose architecture-trained, Hanne Refsdal as his 'anchorman'.
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In 1989, Sinding-Larsen ceased to be Secretary General but he entrenched the monumental role of Norway and retained the Secretariat in Trondheim making NGU its home, which became "Permanent" in 1992 after a landmark agreement with the government. Before that the IUGS Secretariat always moved with the Office of its Secretary General.

Last year, their 25-year long commitment ended when .Norwegians had fulfilled their role in IUGS; the Norwegian National Committee decided it was time for another country to take over servicing the union. The move at the end of 2009 entailed thousands of documents, journals, photographs and even oral history tapes as well as a small collection of promotional products. This IUGS archive now needs a permanent home with the upcoming 50th anniversary a good time to show more what the union does.

I go to the Arctic….brrrr!