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"Pedology" is the scientific term for soil science. The discipline's roots lie in China where scientists first began to classify soils some 4000 years ago. ICTP's involvement in pedology started somewhat later--in 1983, to be precise, when the Centre held its first College on Soil Physics. The most recent session, which took place last month, focused on the critical importance of improving our understanding of soil properties and processes. Such knowledge will be particularly important for the developing world as it seeks to meet the challenges of feeding its rapidly growing population. Specifically, the College examined the impacts that erosion, fertiliser use, drainage and pollution have on soil quality worldwide. Particular attention was paid to instrumentation, measurements and modelling. The College was attended by more than 50 researchers who arrived from 25 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

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