The Ság Hill is a small volcano in the middle of the West-hungarian plain, built up of basalt about 5 million years ago. Because of its nearly-regular cone form and a plateau on the top, baron Eötvös selected as a test site for his newly developped torsion balance. Field measurements were performed in the summer of year 1891. While the observed gravity gradient values were well matched with the calculated effects (caused by the topography), field experience pointed out the weaknesses of this early device (e.g. lack of sufficient thermal isulation, separated reading optics, long setting time). After a nearly decade-long work, Eötvös and his aides were able to construct the „Balaton” device in 1899, the really fieldworthy torsion balance. Then the application of the gravity prospecting started.
Eötvös and his associates at the top of the Ság Hill. Eötvös is sitting at the telescope. All of his aides in the picture became university professors later.
Although the basaltic cap was outmined between1911 and 1957, the Ság Hill, even in a destroyed form, have remained an iconic place for the Hungarian geophysicists. A memorial column was erected in 1971, and the public school of the near city Celldömölk was named after Eötvös. A yearly physics competition in memory of him for the local (later for the whole county) pupils has been organised and prized by the Association of Hungarian Geophysicists.
The memorial column at the Ság Hill
As for the 125th anniversary of the first field measurements, a memorial day was organised in the city of Celldömölk on 15th November, 2016. The day started with wreath-layings at the local grammar school, then at the hillside memorial column. Participants visited later the the Kemenes Volcano Park (in the main building an original Eötvös-Rybár device is on display and a room presents the historic measurements for the laic visitors).
An original Eötvös-Rybár torsion balance (around 1932) on display at the Kemenes Volcano Park
Afternoon a lecture session was at the main auditorium of the guild hall, City of Celldömölk, full of students and laic people. Mayor and the Notary of the city, as well as the chiefs of the state educational board were present. A highlight of the program was when the Mayor received the leather-bound copy of the documents of Eötvös and of the torsion balance, selected by the UNESCO to the parts of the „Memory of World” this year. Dr. Tamás Bodoky, presenting Eötvös as a scholar and man, gave the first lecture. Other readings treated the recent situation in the oil industry, presented the Museum of the Hungarian Oil and Gas Industry, and told about the interrelations between the city of Celldömölk and geophysics.
At the main auditorium of the city, Mr. Tamás Bodoky, former president of the Association as well as the EAGE, greets the session
This event, organised by the Association and the city, was backed by the EAGE and the Eötvös Foundation. News on the day (and on the geophysics) got around in the city and in the county as well.
The Association of Hungarian Geophysicists, together with several domestic Earth-sciience-related civil organisations, organised a series of lecture sessions in 2016, backed by the EAGE via its Local Chapter. After a year and after 6 afternoons, results can be concluded.
This Budapest sequence of the lectures has a decade-old history, starting even from the events of the triennium of the Global Earth. These past years we organized the series in different titles, and recently we needed to select another slogan, representing our vision: the future is in the concerted efforts both globally and in this country. We do know that the synergies in the Earth sciences are favourable for the science, for the economy, and for the society.
Each lecture day (an afternoon mainly at the main hall of the Hungarian Geological and Geophysical Institute, sometimes at the lecture hall of the Hungarian Office of Mining and Geology) consisted of several papers, and is jointly organized by two Earth-science-related scientific civil organizations of Hungary. The subjects were the bordering themes among (or between) the disciplines.
As for an umbrella organ, years ago the FöCIK was established. This is a commonwealth of the Earth-science societies/associations to promote not only their expertise but to promote the effect of the Earth sciences on the society - both on the laic society and on the governmental-related organizations as well. Just now, 2016 activity is listed as follows.
17th February, 2016 (co-organiser: the historic Hungarian Society of Natural Sciences): “Using electromagnetic and sonic waves both in the human diagnostics and in the mineral prospecting”. Image-generating methods were presented in an ample wiev.
16th March, 2016: “Decisive physical and chemical isolation factors in planning repositories” For this event, several institutions were involved, taking part in the investigations in and around the Bátaapáti nuclear repository, and other industrial repositories. Problems in tectonic stability, rock mechanics, isolation testing, and closure methods were treated.
20th April, 2016 (co-organiser: Hungarian Society of Meteorology): “Location of green energy parks”. Methods for evaluating the meteorological (insolation, wind potential), and geological (geothermal) factors, locally and regionally, were presented.
18th May, 2016 (co-organiser: Hungarian Society of Hydrology): “Modelling regional systems of confined aquifers” Subjects: evaluation of the national Water-catchment Management Plan, regional hydrogeological models, geophysical prospecting.
18th October, 2016 (co-organiser: the LIGO Scientific Collaboration): “Gravity measured by caliper-square – novel researches in gravimetry”. A lecture presented the detection the gravitational waves – the most important result in astronomy and physics this year.
16th November, 2016 (co-organiser: Hungarian Speleological Society): “Dialog of spelunkers and doodlebuggers.” Karst and cave investigations in practice, application of geophysical methods to detect caves. Muon-tomography and 3D laser scanning results were presented.
These events were supported basically by the MFGI - Hungarian Geological and Geophysical Institute (in-kind support) and by the EAGE – European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (financial support).
Bulk of the lectures (in Hungarian) is published at this website (Hungarian language part) in condensed PDF form. In some cases (if we have had the authorisation of the author), even the original PPT files are available.
A short report of the traditional (45th) Meeting of Young Geoscientists, organised in Balatonföldvár this spring, was published in the recent issue of the FirstBreak. See the text here.
Thanks for the kind words, editor!