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2020: The Year of Life

19 December 2018

The Geological Society of London has announced its theme for 2020 – the Year of Life. Throughout the year, the Society will explore the topic of life in a geoscience context, through research conferences, lectures, our education programme and other activities.

“The origin of life is among the most fundamental of scientific questions, and a source of endless fascination for the public and scientists alike” says Dr Alex Whittaker, Chair of the Geological Society’s Science Committee.

“The evolution and diversity of life on our planet through geological time is inextricably linked with Earth processes such as climate, plate tectonics and the development of a habitable surface environment. Planetary catastrophes such as bolide impacts and flood basalts have caused mass extinctions several times in our geological past, whilst the rise of life and vegetation fundamentally changed the Earth’s landscape, erosion and sedimentation.’

Events throughout the Year of Life will involve academia, industry, economists and government bodies, as well as partner geoscience societies and organisations.

‘The Year of Life is an opportunity to showcase both academic and applied research focusing on palaeontology, geobiology, biogeochemical cycling and astrobiology, among others’ says Dr Whittaker. ‘We welcome proposals for meetings and events aimed at a range of audiences to explore the geoscience of life on Earth.’


1. To find out more about our themed years, and how to get involved with the Year of Life, visit 

2. The Geological Society of London, founded 1807, is a learned and professional body of over 12,000 Earth scientists with a remit to investigate, interpret, discuss, inform and advise on the nature and processes of the Earth, their practical importance to humanity, and, in the interests of the public, to promote professional excellence. The Society offers advice to Parliament and Government, at individual and corporate levels. Registered Charity No. 210161.

Get involved!

Propose a conference, meeting or another event for the Year of Life by contacting David Riach.

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