PLANET AUSTRIA (2009). G. Köck, L. Lammerhuber, W.E. Piller (eds.), ÖAW, 406 pages, ISBN 978-3-7001-6627-6 - Print Edition, ISBN 978-3-7001-6639-9 - Online Edition

 

A recent product of the international research programmes is the book project “PLANET AUSTRIA – rock, water, life”. The book presents the seven international research programmes administered at the Austrian Academy of Sciences through 33 research topics and 58 research projects. The wide range of these “earth system sciences” serves to highlight the international context of the studies as well as the significance of the individual research projects for scientists and practitioners alike. In line with the aim of the book to get students and non-experts enthusiastic about science, the volume has been delivered to all Austrian secondary schools providing general qualification for university entrance. The book is also available online at http://www.planet-austria.at/.

 

PLANET AUSTRIA was recognized with the Silberner Hahn Award 2010 and Goldener Hahn Award 2010 as best public relation project.

 

Book review from eco.mont 1/1 (2010) by Prof. Heinz Veit (University of Bern, Switzerland)

 

PLANET AUSTRIA presents current Austrian environmental research on 408 pages in an attractive design and a readily understandable language. The volume’s immediate visual appeal comes from the high-quality material, the large format and the protective slipcase. These features and the very classy modern design of the content make it look almost like a coffee-table book. PLANET AUSTRIA presents the seven Austrian research programmes on the themes of Stone – Water – Life at the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) through 33 research topics and 58 research projects. The wide range of these “earth system sciences” serves to highlight the international context of the studies as well as the significance of the individual research projects for scientists and practitioners alike. Werner E. Piller, chair of the Austrian National Committee of the International Geoscience Programme, Günter Köck, coordinator of the national and international research programmes at the ÖAW and wellknown photographer Lois Lammerhuber make up the competent editorial team.

Thanks to the expertise of the editors and the scientists involved the volume achieves what it has set out to do, that is to get students and non-experts enthusiastic about science. They are greatly helped in this endeavour by the exceptional photography and the attractive layout of the text. Against the background of wanting to kindle an interest in research topics, the editors seem to have hit the right note, not least because the opulent design of the volume creates a contrast to fast changing internet pages and e-learning. This book really invites you to browse and enthuse.

The introductory chapters include a preface by the Austrian President Heinz Fischer and an interview with the then Minister for Science and Research, Johannes Hahn, and ÖAW President ÖAW Peter Schuster, as well as a short presentation of the ÖAW and its national and international research programmes. It is followed by the two comprehensive main sections. The first is a photographic essay presenting each of the 33 research topics with a double-page photograph, a kind of visual summary that would have benefitted from a page reference to the matching chapters. Apart from listing the themes, this section is mainly about the people behind the research and attempts to visualize the working environment of the researchers in the field, in the lab or in debates. The second main section presents the 33 research topics in detail. The editors chose to use interviews, a casual and very attractive way of imparting knowledge. The questions are logical and probably in tune with what most readers would want to know. The researchers show great knowledge in their answers and touch on a variety of aspects that make the book appealing for scientists too. An accompanying booklet includes short descriptions of the 58 individual projects, plus contact details and internet links to explore them further.

Altogether, PLANET AUSTRIA succeeds in fusing information on current research with high-class photographs into an impressive volume that deserves to be widely recognized.

 

Günter Köck´s Research Page

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