[MSA-talk] R: early mineralogy interest

Demouthe, Jean JDemouthe at calacademy.org
Thu May 8 17:56:59 EDT 2014


My route to geology and mineralogy is a circuitous one, relying heavily on chance encounters with the science.

It probably started with my childhood fascination for the many rock walls in and around my small home town in upstate New Jersey.  And in our old family encyclopedia there were few color plates, but one of them was a composite of many gemstones from the American Museum collection.  My favorite page ever.



My Dad took a class that involved local field trips, and he brought us along.  I became addicted to that rush you feel when you find an interesting mineral or rock.



Starting college as a music major, I joined a couple of people I knew in taking geology to meet the physical science requirement.  There were drawers at the back of the room filled with minerals.  I know now that they were in bad shape from having been rolling around in there for years, but to me they were wonderful..  Changed my major to geology very soon after that.



Specimens like minerals evoke thought processes in humans of all ages that involve higher levels of cognition that mere pictures and words can never achieve.  The younger the audience, the more important it is to show them a diversity of natural materials.  Museums can offer exposure to specimens, as well as the opportunity for teaching and social interaction.



Museums often gauge the public's interest in exhibits by how long people linger in a particular hall, and by the amount of finger and nose prints on the glass at the end of each day.  Halls of minerals always have more smudges than any other.



Jean DeMouthe





Dr. Jean F. DeMouthe

Senior Collections Manager for Geology

California Academy of Sciences

55 Music Concourse Drive

San Francisco, California 94118

415-379-5258





________________________________
From: msa-talk-bounces at minlists.org [msa-talk-bounces at minlists.org] on behalf of Mark Logsdon [mark.logsdon at sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Thursday, May 08, 2014 12:51 PM
To: Rob Woodside; 'Wallace Kleck'; gregor at unisi.it; rctacker at yahoo.com; msa-talk at minlists.org
Subject: Re: [MSA-talk] R: early mineralogy interest

I grew up in farming country in Illinois, so exposure to rocks and minerals was limited.   My introduction was two-fold:  1) a trip with my family to Chicago that included a day at the Field Museum. 2) reading a book, ca. age 10, about Roy Chapman Andrews and the expeditions from the American Museum to the Gobi Desert during the 1920s.   The beauty of the museum specimens, certainly including what I would learn one day to call symmetry,captured my aesthetic sense.  The adventure, as well as the raw geography/geology, of the Gobi stirred my heart.  I vowed that I would become a geologist, and roam the world finding specimens of great beauty and having adventures.  [Made it to the South Gobi in 2007, for copper, not dinosaurs, but the principle was there.]

So both branches had deep connections to museums, and to this day someone has to drag me away from the door of a natural-history museum, - who knows that beauty and excitement there might be in there?  A great loss to me was Princeton's decision to close the old natural history exhibits in Guyot Hall.  As an undergrad, I spent hours and hours in there.  Oh, I understand, just fine, that none of that was cutting edge of science - even then; I know it did not fit with how the Department was evolving.  I am sure they did need the space.  But it was a good old natural-history collection, and a great source of sparks for the imagination.

Mark
Mark J. Logsdon
Geochimica, Inc.
9045 Soquel Drive, Suite 2
Aptos, California 95003
+831/687-0443 (tel)
+831/687-0448 (fax)
mark.logsdon at sbcglobal.net
On Thursday, May 8, 2014 12:30 PM, Rob Woodside <rwmw at telus.net> wrote:
At the age of 8 while walking home from school, I noticed for the first time that not all rocks were the same. Dad had taken a mineralogy course 30 years earlier and had forgotten most of it.  Armed with 14th ed of Dana’s Manual, pen knife, penny, glass slide, pocelaine tile, and loop, Dad said I could do just as well as him identifying out of context road rock. I have been fascinated by minerals ever since.
Rob Woodside

From: msa-talk-bounces at minlists.org [mailto:msa-talk-bounces at minlists.org] On Behalf Of Wallace Kleck
Sent: Thursday, May 08, 2014 4:27 AM
To: gregor at unisi.it; rctacker at yahoo.com; msa-talk at minlists.org
Subject: Re: [MSA-talk] R: early mineralogy interest

Three steps--1. As a child on a ranch east of Paso Robles, CA, I use to bring samples of chert back from my explorations and put them in the animal watering-troth (they were prettier wet); 2. As a young man, a family friend who was the foreman on the Tejone Ranch to the South of Bakersfield, CA showed me a garnet containing gneiss. The garnets ranged up to 2 inches in diameter, had subhedral crystal faces, and could be broken free of the rock--I found these grains fascinating; I still have a sample in my mineral collection. 3. When I was doing my geology Bachelor's at Berkeley, I had one course that I could choose; I chose a second course in mineralogy from Dr. Pabst. When I took that course, I discovered the geology department museum and spent several hours there studying the odd, varied, and dusty rocks and minerals; I still remember the 4 ft long quartz crystal laying on the floor. I think the combination of a second mineralogy course (taught with an obvious fascination for minerals) and the museum samples is what led me to emphasize  mineralogy during my Master's program.
Wallace

On Wednesday, May 7, 2014 11:25 PM, "gregor at unisi.it<mailto:gregor at unisi.it>" <gregor at unisi.it<mailto:gregor at unisi.it>> wrote:
well, as a child I was around to observe and collect almost everything which I could find in nature and seemed somehow curious or beautiful to any of our senses. And minerals and crystals as found on my trips through the Alpes was one of my favourite because, unlike flowers and mushrooms, they lasted longer (until eventually my mother became upset with all those dust-catchers and put them in the cellar).

Minerals inspired me then to take up chemistry end eventually become involved in materials science, solids with curious and useful physical and chemical properties.

This might be one useful thread to move interest in mineral exhibitions, sort of living museum offering the possibility to realize some experiment with polarized light, diffraction gratings and the like (BTW, 2014 is the International Year of Crystallography, http://www.iycr2014.org/).

I recently addressed this role of minerals in a short introduction to our mineral collection here at Siena, if you like I can make available the pdf of the slides (8 MB).

best

Miguel




Hello, group,

I'm interested in what influenced many of you to become interested
in mineralogy.

Pink feldspar gravel roads in the Black Hills of
South Dakota caught my interest, as well as the exhibits at
the South Dakota School of Mines. I had one of their
mineral collections, sold with samples of uranium ore and asbestos.
I was still interested in high school, then opted out of
pre-med in chemistry for what eventually became geochemistry.

Yes, I have an agenda: I'm interested in what role, if any,
mineral exhibits and museums played in developing your interests.
I'm interested in what moved you all into the "pipeline" and what
I can do to move younger people in that direction.

No, I won't use any personal stories without direct permission
from you. And no, I won't hit you up for any money.

Cheers,
Chris Tacker

R.. Chris Tacker, Ph.D., P.G.
Research Curator II in Geology
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Blogs:
http://naturalsciencesresearch.wordpress.com/author/christacker/
http://drsledge.wordpress.com/


--
Miguel Gregorkiewitz
Dip Scienze Fisiche, della Terra e dell'Ambiente, Università
via Laterina 8, I-53100 Siena, Europe
fon +39'0577'233810 fax 233938
email gregor at unisi.it<mailto:gregor at unisi.it>


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