How the Earth Works: 50 years of Plate TectonicsDr Sue Bowler, A&G Editor (Venue: Geological Society Lecture Theatre - no booking required) 1967 was the year when modern geophysics began; this was the year when plate tectonics became the new paradigm for understanding our home planet. This revolutionary new way of thinking about the Earth took place because of new technology, including the advent of computers in scientific research that radically changed both the amount and quality of observations of our planet. Dan McKenzie of the University of Cambridge was one of a handful of researchers worldwide who established this new model of the Earth with a key paper published in 1967; this talk uses his archive to show how geophysics revealed the history of the oceans, the origins and locations of vast hydrocarbon deposits, and the mechanisms behind volcanic eruptions and dangerous continental earthquakes – and what it can tell us about the possibility of life on other planets. Dr Sue Bowler is a professional editor, writer and communicator covering astronomy and astrophysics, planetary science and geophysics and for the past 20 years has edited the Royal Astronomical Society Fellows' magazine, A&G. After working at the Royal Greenwich Observatory at Herstmonceux, she took a BA degree in Natural Sciences (Geological Sciences) at the University of Cambridge, then a PhD at the University of Leeds on mountain-building. After post-doctoral work in the Western Alps, she joined New Scientist magazine as Earth Sciences Editor, where she covered everything from the centre of the Earth to the edge of the solar system. She continued to act as a Consultant to New Scientist when she returned to Leeds and began teaching Earth sciences and editing for professional-interest magazines such as Geology Today. In 1996 she launched Astronomy & Geophysics magazine for the RAS, developing it into a news and reviews magazine and associated website, A&G Forum, for RAS Fellows to share news of their activities. She also taught physics at Leeds and continues to teach communication skills both at university and professionally. She works as a freelance editor and writer, preparing press releases and producing magazines, booklets and websites for, among others, the RAS, the British Geological Survey, and the Geological Society of London.