Geologic Genealogy

Earlier today, Jessica Ball at Magma Cum Laude, posted a great summary of her “geologic genealogy.” She’s not alone in being asked about her academic lineage, so I thought I would dig back as far as I could, and share my own.

I did both an MS and a PhD. Here’s a sketch to make it a little clearer, since the ‘families’ sort of intertwine:



My PhD advisor was the incomparable Terry Plank (note: at the time she advised me, she was at Boston University). Her advisor was Charlie Langmuir, currently at Harvard. His advisor was Gilbert Hanson, whose advisor was Paul W. Gast, who was one of the “Four Horsemen;”  lunar geoscientists (of whom he was chief) and consultants to NASA during Apollo. Go read his 1971 paper, “The chemical composition and structure of the moon.” Gast was also the first Goldschmidt medalist (in fact, there is a Geochemical Society lecture named for him).

Prior to my time with Terry, I did an MS at Michigan State with Lina Patino, who, oddly enough, is now at NSF in an office adjacent to mine. This is where it gets incestuous: Terry served on Lina’s PhD defense committee as an external member. Lina’s advisor, Mike Carr at Rutgers (who wrote the IgPet software package, and knows everything about Central America) served on MY defense committee. His advisor was Dick Stoiber, who was at Dartmouth when Terry was there, and introduced her to Central American geochemistry, and oh look that’s what a chunk of my dissertation was about. Stoiber was interesting… a volcanologist who felt that international study and travel were essential. He was one of the first to make foreign experience part of the curriculum, taking students down to Central America to study in the field.

Everyone named above has produced an incredibly productive and interesting set of siblings and cousins for me. Backwards in time, I’m not sure where the lines go past Gast and Stoiber, but I’m proud to be a part of this crew.


Photos come from the embedded links for each person above, except for Lina Patino who would be quite mad at me for putting her photo on the internet (so you get a photo I took of a Costa Rican waterfall, instead) and the one of me (which my friend Samer took in Iceland). 



3 Comments on “Geologic Genealogy”

  1. Jessica Ball says:

    Hooray, a new geomeme! And, welcome to the blogging crowd.

  2. Loved this Jenn! Cool!

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