INHIGEO: International Commission on the History of Geological Sciences

39th Symposium, co-sponsored by the Geological Society of America

Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, California

July 6 – 10, 2014


Conference Themes:
(1) Doing the History of the Earth Sciences: What, Why, and How?
and (2) California’s Place in the History of the Earth Sciences


In 1994, the Geological Society of America hosted the Penrose Conference, “From the Inside and the Outside: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the History of the Earth Sciences.” The focus of that meeting was on how practicing scientists (“insiders”) and professional historians (“outsiders”) approached research in our field. Twenty years later, it is fitting to ask where we stand presently on fundamental questions about scholarly inquiry into the development of the geosciences.

What is properly encompassed within historical studies of the earth sciences? How is the domain of investigation defined? Where do its boundaries lie?

Why should the history of the earth sciences be investigated and analyzed? What purposes are served by such historical examination? Who should care?

How should research on history of the geosciences be conducted? How should the results be formulated? How can constructive dialogue between scientists and historians be promoted? How can our research be better shared with colleagues and with the public at large?

Since the meeting will be held in California, along with the conference’s principal theme a second theme will be “California’s Place in the History of the Earth Sciences.”


The Asilomar Conference Grounds provide an attractive and congenial setting for extensive interaction among meeting participants, with meals taken in common at the center’s dining hall (learn more at The meeting sessions and mid-meeting excursions will occupy four days: Monday, 7 July through Thursday, 10 July 2014. We plan to have the mid-meeting excursions (localities in the vicinity of the Monterey Peninsula) on Wednesday the 9th. The meeting will open with a reception and dinner Sunday evening, 6 July.

Membership in INHIGEO or GSA is not a prerequisite for participation in the meeting or for a place as a presenter in the meeting program. The organizers strongly encourage attendance and participation by everyone taking an interest in the conference. For those who may need this encouragement, it should be said that research into any area of the history of the geosciences could be organized so as to address the programmatic, historiographical, and methodological issues stated in the main conference theme.


A post-meeting historical field trip, limited to about 30 participants, is being planned for 11 – 16 July. The itinerary includes Yosemite National Park and localities along the eastern escarpment of the Sierra Nevada, as well as sites from the mid-19th-century California Gold Rush.


Further information is available at and at or contact Kenneth L. Taylor, University of Oklahoma (