11: Joining the Illuminati

“I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members” – Groucho Marx

In this episode of Core Ideas, we continue Into the Weeds of paleolimnology with an examination of some of the not-so-secret societies and associations that count paleolimnologists among their membership. 

The first topic we discuss is the formation of scientific societies, beginning with the oldest national scientific institution in the world, the The Royal Society , founded in 1660. The Royal Society is “dedicated to promoting excellence in science for the benefit of humanity.”  Closer to home, The Royal Society of Canada (RSC) was founded in 1882, with a broader mandate, to promote learning and research in the arts, the humanities and the sciences.

Sir Isaac Newton was the 12th president of the Royal Society from 1703 to 1727

However, the majority of scientific societies have a much tighter focus than “all of science and the arts”, with many relevant to paleolimnology given its interdisciplinary nature.



Dedicated to a specific indicator group:

Dedicated to a specific time period:

In our completely unbiased view, this is the best scientific society

Societies vary in both interest and purpose, with different levels of activity dedicated to advocacy, journal production, and the organisation of membership meetings. Josh is currently on the executive of The Society of Canadian Limnologists (SCL) and thus able to provide insight on where society dues go, and why you should give them money rather than it being the other way around.

We end by talking about our past involvement  with the Ontario-Québec Paleolimnology Symposium (PALS), a graduate student run annual(ish) meeting that is near and dear to our hearts.

Episode 11 can be found here.