[MSA-talk] early mineralogy interest

Michael Velbel velbel at msu.edu
Fri May 9 16:20:22 EDT 2014

Hello, Chris,

Growing up as I did in northern Illinois, there was much better fossil collecting than mineral collecting.  As for many other respondents, chemistry was my childhood favorite science, but I also followed the space program closely, and I knew how important it was to get samples from the Moon.  However, my sense of wonder at retrieving scientific knowledge from samples was founded on bi-annual K-12 school field trips to the Field Museum of Natural History.  The mineral exhibits were not especially impressive at the time, but the sense of awe at how much could be learned from the scientific study of natural history materials took root immediately upon my first visit to FMNH and was reinforced with every subsequent visit.  When the opportunity arose early in my undergraduate years to apply my fondness for chemistry to minerals, I was hooked.  Old-school taxonomic mineral exhibits at museums around the world are required stops for me on any self-directed itinerary, and I have spent many reflective hours at quite a few, at least in part in to re-experience the awe I first felt at FMNH.   


On May 7, 2014, at 4:17 PM, Chris Tacker wrote:

> 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/
> _______________________________________________
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M. A. Velbel, Ph.D.
Department of Geological Sciences
288 Farm Lane, room 206 Natural Science Building
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI  48824-1115
'phone (517) 353-5273 (direct)
355-4626 (Dept. office)
fax 353-8787
e-mail: velbel at msu.edu
web: http://geology.msu.edu/people/velbel.html
"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."  -- Bill Cosby

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