Author Information

52 Things You Should Know About Geophysics came out in 2012. Since then, we have released four more titles. We have shipped over 6000 copies, spreading geoscience out in the world. But this is just the beginning…

We are working on 52 Things… Geocomputing (we have a call-out for submissions), 52 Things… Shale (wait for more info), as well as an expanded Geophysics edition.

The 52 Things format

52 short essays, by about 40 authors, on a very wide range of topics, from “things I wish I’d known when I graduated”, to stories from the field and lab, to mini-tutorials on technical subjects. Some rants, some raves — it’s all in there.

You can read 10 Things about geophysics here [PDF].

And 10 Things about geology here [PDF].

Features of the books

  • Definitely not a textbook
  • Easy to read, hard to put down
  • Authors from 1 year to 50 years of experience
  • Inexpensive: under $20
  • Edited but not peer reviewed
  • Attractive design, good quality
  • Openly licensed

The books carry an open license. Authors retain copyright, and license the content to the world under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license, or CC-BY. This means that people can re-use the material without permission — but with attribution to the author, of course.

Some books will also benefit the community at large. For example, $2 from every sale of 52 Things… Geology is going to the AAPG Foundation; 52 Things… Rock Physics benefits SEG’s charity Geoscientists Without Borders. We welcome suggestions for other geoscientific foundations to support.

Author guidelines

The chapters are about 600–700 words. If you wish, you may submit more than one essay. Try to stick to one topic per essay; we do sometimes split a long story into two.

We can accommodate acknowledgments (e.g. for image credits, permissions, previous publication, that sort of thing) and a few scientific references.

There’s usually room for one or two figures. Images and drawings must be black and white. All figures will be reproduced at the full width of the page — so landscape format fits better than portrait. Aim for lots of pixels: at least 2000 wide. Don’t stress too much — we usually redraw figures anyway. Please bear in mind that the books are black and white.

As well as the essay, we will need a short bio and a hi-res black and white headshot photo.

Stuck for ideas? Try these…

  • Is there anything you have to explain at least once a month to someone?
  • What’s a common misconception in your field?
  • Can you think of something you wish you’d known in your first job?
  • What don’t, or can’t, they teach at university?
  • Is there anything you think this industry really sucks at?
  • What would you do with an unlimited research budget?
  • What are 3 unsolved problems in your field?
  • Have you ever been spectacularly wrong about something?
  • Team work vs lone work
  • Why we should (not) talk to astronomers / radiologists / mathematicians / geologists / geophysicists
  • Algorithms or patterns or methods I use every day

As for timing, we’d like to gather the essays as soon as you have something to share. If you’re a deadline kind of person, here you go:

  • Geocomputing: due March 2018
  • Shale: watch for call for chapters

We are considering other titles. If you would like to edit a volume, contribute an essay, design a cover, or just have bright ideas, we’d love to hear from you on any of these topics:

  • Acquisition & processing (of seismic data)
  • Seismic interpretation
  • Shale (from any perspective)
  • Writing (about geoscience)
  • Reservoir modelling and simulation
  • Technical management (of exploration and production projects and teams)
  • Petrophysics

Authors get two free books, and a 40% discount on all of the 52 Things books.

Nice words about the books

Here’s a smattering of the feedback we’ve received about the books…

  • Yesterday’s mail brought me an envelope from Stavanger — Matteo Niccoli sent me a copy of 52 Things. In doing so he beat me to the punch as I’ve been meaning to purchase a copy for some time. It’s a good thing I didn’t buy one — I’d like to buy a dozen. [a Calgary geophysicist]
  • A really valuable collection of advice from the elite in Geophysics to help you on your way to becoming a better more competent Geophysicist. [a student reviewer on]
  • We are interested in ordering 50 to 100 copies of the book 52 Things You Should Know About Geophysics [from an E&P company, who just ordered 100 copies for their new hires]
  • It is to the benefit of all lovers of science, education and rational thinking to get a copy of this book. [One of our lovely authors, in her blog]
  • Pat yourselves on the back. It is awesome in the British sense of the word… [a Calgary geologist]
  • Hall and Bianco have created a marvellous little book, full of nuggets of wisdom from the ‘who’s who?’ of our industry. I highly recommend this book to all young and aspiring geoscientists. [Dan Hampson, co-founder of Hampson–Russell]
  • This is a great book. …The contributing authors are among the best known names in our profession. The subject each author selects is an essential ‘thing’ that we all need to know about geophysics. I predict that when you get a copy of this book in your hand, you will look at every page. [Bob A. Hardage, past president of SEG]
  • Fascinating, in the current world of instant gratification this provides rapid “bites” of insight into many aspects of geophysics, seen through the eyes of some of the science’s best practitioners. [David Monk, Past president of SEG]
  • I like what you’ve done. I found that I was grinning to myself as I read some of the comments.  I liked the informal tone and the down-to-earth advice. The bite-sized pieces of advice will be most useful to students starting out in the field. It’s a fundamental truth that it is way more efficient to progress in your discipline if you gaze at the horizon standing on the shoulders of those who came before! [Henry Posamentier]
  • Geology is all about rocks, and rocks are all about detail and field context, and about actually being out there at that critical outcrop, right THERE, that proves our point. The new book “52 things you should know about Geology” is full of practical tips, commentary and advice from real geologists who have been there and know what the science is all about. We are not, primarily, number crunchers and we are not, primarily, laboratory analysts. We are people who get mud on our boots and under our fingernails, people who understand space and time and scale and orientation as critical elements of an understanding of how the Earth “works”. Don’t let anybody persuade you otherwise – Geology is a unique profession with a unique set of skills, and without us, minerals and energy resources would not be found. [Andrew Miall, University of Toronto]
  • 52 Things is a set of essays for those essential moments of fertile leisure, like a menu of cocktails or a row of beerpulls—or a hoard of mineral specimens to contemplate. It is no ordinary book. […] Hall is a Canadian petroleum-industry consultant who blogs at agilegeoscience, and 52 Things, like him, is innovative in several ways. It’s more like a deck of cards than a book. […] The book is literally made for page-turning. […] Keep it handy wherever it is you sit to unwind and refresh yourself. [Andrew Alden on]
  • If you’re right at the start of your career this volume will put you in touch with the human side of a geoscientist’s life in oil and gas, and will entertain as well as enlighten you.  For anyone else, you may nevertheless enjoy the insights into the preoccupations, predilections and prejudices of the life of an exploration geologist. [David Smith]