Plane truth

September 14, 2007

Mathew Humphrey asks why academics still travel by air, given the rise of new virtual communication technologies ("Time to stop flying in the face of reason", September 7). These are no substitute for field research that remains central for disciplines such as geography, anthropology and biological and environmental science. Nor can they replicate all the informal interactions conferences offer. And Humphrey recognises the third reason himself: international conferences are "fun". Why else would so many climate change academics travel millions of air miles to attend hundreds of meetings?

Mike Hulme
School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia

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