Taxonomy term

down to earth with

Down to Earth With: Glaciologist Lonnie Thompson

As a child growing up in Gassaway, W.Va., Lonnie Thompson was poor. When his father died while Thompson was a senior in high school, he realized he’d need to earn a reliable paycheck as quickly as possible. As an undergraduate at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., he knew he wanted to study science; he started off as a physics major before settling on geology. Later, when he arrived at Ohio State University (OSU) as a graduate student in 1971, Thompson’s intent was to study coal geology, a practical choice that he believed would quickly secure him a job.

17 Jan 2015

Down to Earth With: Ecologist Chris Field

Last summer, the American Geophysical Union honored Chris Field, founding director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology, with its annual Roger Revelle Award, which recognizes “outstanding contributions in atmospheric sciences, atmosphere-ocean coupling, atmosphere-land coupling, biogeochemical cycles, climate or related aspects of the Earth system.”

22 Dec 2014

Down to Earth With: CEO and Geo-Data miner Nicole Barlow

Miners are the classic geo-entrepreneurs. Nicole Barlow is a new kind of geo-entrepreneur: She also mines — but instead of rocks, she digs into dark data. That’s all the information stored away in file cabinets, boxes and geological survey store rooms. And instead of finding gold or silver, she uncovers nuggets of information and digitizes old documents.

18 Nov 2014

Down to Earth With: Molecular biologist Sarah L. Anzick

In May 1968, when Sarah L. Anzick was 2 years old, the 12,600-year-old remains of a male toddler were discovered at the base of a bluff on her family’s ranch near Wilsall, Mont. The Anzick infant — one of just a handful of ancient skeletons to have been found in North America and the only known Clovis burial site —  had been carefully buried with more than 100 stone and bone tools.

28 Oct 2014

Down to Earth With: Kerry Sieh

After more than 30 years as a professor and researcher at Caltech, earthquake geologist Kerry Sieh (pronounced “sea”) surprised his colleagues when he pulled up stakes in 2008 for a rare opportunity in Southeast Asia to be the founding director of the Earth Observatory of Singapore.

28 Aug 2014

Down to Earth With: Tom Malloy

Butte, Mont., is home to one of the nation’s largest Superfund sites — a 300-meter-deep lake of acidic, heavy metal-contaminated water known as the Berkeley Pit. As the reclamation manager of Butte-Silver Bow County, it’s Tom Malloy’s job to help clean it up.

27 Aug 2014

Down to Earth With: Chris Strong

Being a weatherman is sometimes a thankless job, particularly when forecasts don’t pan out as expected. But the two-fold task of meteorologists — predicting the course and severity of impending weather events, and clearly communicating those predictions to a broad audience — is a vital one. This is especially true when you’re part of the group that so many people, including other forecasters, turn to as the primary source for weather information and insight: the National Weather Service (NWS).

18 Aug 2014

Down to Earth With: Steven Stanley

It’s no wonder Steven Stanley says he can’t imagine having pursued any career other than research and teaching in geology and paleontology. After studying under eminent scientists like Alfred Fischer, Colin Pittendrigh and Harry Hess while a student at Princeton and then Yale in the 1960s, Stanley went on to add many of his own paradigm-shifting contributions to our understanding of fossils, evolution and Earth’s environmental history. He has also authored several popular textbooks and has won numerous awards, including the prestigious Mary Clark Thompson Medal from the National Academy of Sciences in 2006 and, most recently in 2013, the Geological Society of America’s (GSA) highest honor, the Penrose Medal.

24 Jun 2014

Down to Earth With: Martin Lockley

Shortly after a young Martin Lockley — a British paleontologist specializing in marine fossils — arrived in Denver in 1980 to begin a new job as a geology professor at the University of Colorado (CU), a student asked if he would like to check out some interesting dinosaur tracks. The tracks were located near the town of Gunnison, Colo., about four hours southwest, on the ceiling of an underground coal mine. Lockley and the student drove down to the site, and, agreeing that the impressions in the rock were tracks but not knowing much about them, Lockley carefully documented the site. At the time, little scientific literature existed on ancient tracks, so after publishing the information, Lockley — much to his own surprise — immediately became known as a dinosaur track expert.

17 Jun 2014

Down to Earth With: Scott Sampson

During a recent public lecture at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, dinosaur paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Scott Sampson was making a point as he walked up the aisle when a preschooler charged the stage, grabbed hold of his leg and wouldn’t let go until her mother retrieved her.

19 May 2014