Category Archives: People

Naming Schools after Nobel Laureates

The Washington Post recently ran a story about the late Abdus Salam, a physicist who won the Nobel Prize almost 40 years ago. The piece concerns the politics of naming a building at a Pakistani university in honour of a … Continue reading

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Tunguska’s Kulik

Leonid Kulik is probably another geologist you’ve never heard of. Well, it’s his birthday anyway, and here’s your chance to add a new name to your fact file, just in case you get that call from Jeopardy and the Remarkable … Continue reading

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Mantle Plumes May Be Real (or maybe not)

Geophysicist Tuzo Wilson had a creepy daydream. He imagined himself lying at the bottom of a creek, looking up at water flowing overhead. He blew bubbles. They rose, were caught by the current, and drifted away. He came back from … Continue reading

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Wegener’s Death and Drift’s Hiatus

Over the past few days, I’ve written about Alfred Wegener’s continental drift theory, which is celebrating its 100th year as a spunky idea that explains a lot of our geology. From mountains to earthquakes and deep sea rifts to island … Continue reading

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100 Years of Drift: Part 4

Today, we continue with Alfred Wegener and his continental drift theory. Today’s piece will not be pretty. At times, suppression of Wegener’s idea was ugly. There are a lot of reasons for the vilification. He was an outsider, a meteorologist … Continue reading

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100 Years of Drift: Part 1

Fifty years ago, we finally figured out why the Earth has mountains. But one hundred years ago, Alfred Wegener had already offered an explanation – it took those extra 50 years for his grand idea to catch on. The continents, … Continue reading

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Made of Stardust

Today, I am remembering a childhood hero, astrophysicist/author Carl Sagan. I was 12 when I bought his first book, Planets, from the Life Science Series. I paid for it from money I earned picking potatoes on the family farm in … Continue reading

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Finding Oil and Gas where God Dumps Them

Well, here’s a great idea. Sarah Palin has offered to head the Department of Energy when Donald Trump becomes president. “I think a lot about the Department of Energy, because energy is my baby: oil and gas and minerals, those … Continue reading

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Crater Lake

During the 1849 California Gold Rush, the easy pickings around Sutter’s Mill were staked off and scooped up rather quickly. The ’49ers, as the first prospectors were called, put gold in the bank while the ’50ers had to look further … Continue reading

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Another day, another dinosaur

You have to wonder when all the dinosaurs will be found. When will nothing remain to be discovered? That day is apparently a long way off. New dinosaurs keep popping out of the ground. In my home province, Alberta, it’s … Continue reading

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