Abstract

The International Geophysical Year (IGY) represented a worldwide effort to explore our planet using the best science and technology available in 1957. The IGY was somewhat misnamed in that it actually ran 18 months with a 12-month extension called the International Geophysical Cooperation (IGC). The goals of IGY/IGC were simultaneous observations in 15 areas: aurora and airglow, cosmic rays, geomagnetism, glaciology, gravity, ionospheric physics, latitude and longitude determination, meteorology, oceanography, rocketry, satellites, seismology, solar activity, radioactivity of the atmosphere, and World Days. The IGY took place simultaneously with the launching of the first artificial Earth satellites, which inaugurated the “space age.” Over 70 countries collaborated and supported the development of plans for peaceful collection and exchange of geoscientific meaurements, their interpretation, and understanding. Now, for IGY's 50th Anniversary, more than 120 countries are collaborating in several “geophysical years” to collect data about the Earth and its relationship to the sun. The major initiatives include the International Polar Year (IPY), the International Heliophysical Year (IHY), the Electronic Geophysical Year (eGY), and the International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE). SEG has officially recognized these specific international science projects.

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