Geophysics is naturally a global science. From the time of Hutton's ‘great geological cycle’ to the current revival of the concept of continental drift, the periods when earth science was driven to focus on the earth as a whole have characteristically been exciting and ofttimes downright exhilarating. Small wonder, then, that AGU constantly finds itself deeply involved in worldwide scientific activities.
Geophysics is also of great practical import. Geophysical research lays the foundation for practical applications in such areas as water conservation, irrigation and watershed management, flood control, monitoring and management of the environment, practical uses of the oceans, land use planning and management, mineral exploration and resource management, weather observation and prediction, effective scheduling and conduct of radio communications, and on and on. Looking further to the future, one may anticipate additional applications in the prediction and even alleviation of earthquakes, in long-range weather forecasting and weather modification, and in mitigation of severe storms; one may also anticipate substantial advances in understanding and perhaps even influencing climate.