Issue #6 – In The Field

Issue #6 – In The Field

This week: the recollections, thoughts, and journey of a former geologist.

CONTENTS:
In The Field
To Tell a Story
Desert Landscapes
Because

NEWS & NOTES:
Recommended reading:
Stephen J. Gould wrote beautifully about the geological subfield of paleontology in “Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History” . It is a history of the Cambrian Era written as a detective story, with a fascinating, nerdy side trip into the methods of genius.

“PrairyErth” by William Least-Heat Moon, for another exacting and rich song of the Earth.

Last, but not least, a geological thriller: “The Really Big One”, by Kathryn Schulz in the July 20, 2015 issue of The New Yorker.

Credits:
cover art: Desert Landscape II by Deborah Zervas. 2007, mixed papers on canvas.
drawings: Deborah Zervas, charcoal on paper.
photographs: courtesy of Bruce Wujcik.

In The Field

In The Field

I.

I am asleep in the desert. I am dreaming this world and yet another. In which I am impossibly tall, resolutely female. My vision extends to the horizon. I see with an effortless, steady, dimensionless knowing. It is January and cold when the sun sets in the Mohave, so we retire to our separate tents early, campfire notwithstanding. Rhythms change. I sleep for four hours and awaken,

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To Tell a Story

To Tell a Story

Most undergraduate science coursework focuses on the nuts and bolts, the facts already known, the frameworks already accepted. Really you are simply learning the litany, the catechism, and the methods. Which, for a synthetic thinker, can be rather boring. Geology is different from other sciences, though, in captivating ways. It relies on firsthand observation in the field and on direct sensory data. And geology is an historical science, rich with narrative. The overarching framework is always in flux,

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Because

Because

I was rigorously trained as a scientist years ago, and I am a divergent thinker. So I like to ponder, wonder, and hypothesize about all nature of things, but I am exacting in my process.

People – including reporters, writers, doctors (and even scientists themselves!) – are often confused about the principles of scientific thought and practice, and so they have difficulty understanding, interpreting, and critiquing scientific results, and explaining them to others.

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