Your Window on AGI Perspectives and Activities
Fall 1999

For a  lisit of upcoming events, see the calendar on the Geotimes web site.

Legendary Geoscientist Award Goes to J. David Love

 AGI will award its inaugural Legendary Geoscientist Award to Wyoming geologist J. David Love. A Wyoming native who has studied the state’s geology since 1945, Love will receive the award during an Oct. 24 ceremony at the Geological Society of America meeting in Denver. “AGI is honoring an extraordinary individual who is a teacher, mentor, writer, raconteur and possibly one of the most influential field geologists who ever worked for the USGS,” says the AGI citation for Love’s award.

 Love is the first to receive this award, which AGI will give periodically to a living geoscientist who has a long history of sustained scientific achievement and exceptional service to the geoscience profession.

 AGI announced the award in early October, prompting a salute from Gov. Jim Geringer. Gov. Geringer congratulated Love in an Oct. 8 letter, saying, “Your important contributions in the field of geology have done much to benefit not only the state of Wyoming, but the nation. ... Your legacy as a scholar, mentor, writer and storyteller is extraordinary.”

 Recognition also came at a national level after Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-Wyo.) entered Love’s receipt of the award into the Congressional Record.

John McPhee describes Love’s life in part of his 1986 book Rising from the Plains.

In 1934, Love met Jane Matteson, who he married in 1940.  Jane Love earned her master's degree in geology from Smith College, has coauthored several publications with Love and has been a partner in his success.  Both of their sons, Charlie and David, are geologists.

David Love is senior author of two editions of the geologic map of Wyoming and the geologic map of Grand Teton National Park.  He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Wyoming and his doctorate from Yale University.  For his work on uranium depostis, Love recieved an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Wyoming.  He is an honorary member of the Wyoming Geological Survey and received an award from the survey for his investigations of the Grand Teton area. He worked most of his professional life with the U.S. Geological Survey and started the sruvey's Laramie field office.

 The Legendary Geoscientist Award is supported by the AGI Foundation, with additional support for this year’s award from Jan. F. van Sant, executive director of the foundation, and his wife, Mary L. van Sant, as well as from Russell G. Slayback, AGI’s incoming president, and his wife, Judith A. Slayback.

AGI Sponsors Earthquake Briefing on Capitol Hill
Just days after a magnitude-7.0 earthquake shook southern California near the town of Joshua Tree, the geoscience community recognized the tenth anniversary of the magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake on Oct 17. And on Oct. 22, the American Geological Institute, working with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Association of American State Geologists, hosted a special briefing for members of Congress and their staff called, “Ten Years After the World Series Earthquake: Progress Toward Safer Communities.”

The briefing, held in the U.S. Capitol Building, featured speakers David P. Schwartz of the survey’s Earthquake Hazards Program, James F. Davis, director of the California Division of Mines and Geology and Robert Panero of the insurance department for Pacific Gas & Electric. They described systems they’ve developed since Loma Prieta for using USGS information to save lives and property from earthquakes.

The briefing is the first in a series called “Science for Safer and Healthier Communities,” hosted by Rep. Thomas Davis (R-Va.).

David P. Schwartz of the U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Hazards Program discusses the progress in understanding quakes in the San Francisco Bay area since Loma Prieta and how that information is helping other 


Supporting Evolution

On Sept. 8, AGI President David Stephenson wrote to Kansas Gov. Bill Graves expressing support for the governor and the Kansas Geological Survey in their strong stance against the science curriculum the Board of Education adopted Aug. 11, which excludes any mention of biological macroevolution, the age of Earth or the origin and early development of the universe.  AGI’s letter, which follows below, includes the institute’s 1981 position statement on evolution. Copies of this letter were also sent to the Kansas State Board of Education.

AGI Letter to Kansas Gov. Bill Graves:

Sept. 8, 1999

The Honorable Bill Graves
Office of the Governor
State Capitol, Second Floor
Topeka, KS 66612

Dear Governor Graves:

 On behalf of the Executive Committee of the American Geological Institute (AGI), I commend you for your strong support of the teaching of evolution in your state’s public schools. We also support the active involvement of the Kansas Geological Survey in this issue. The new state science standards passed by the Kansas State Board of Education are misguided and send a signal to local school districts that will have long-term consequences for the quality of science teaching in Kansas.
 AGI is a nonprofit federation of 34 geoscientific and professional associations that represent more than 100,000 geologists, geophysicists, and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in our profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in mankind’s use of resources and interaction with the environment.
 In 1981, amidst an earlier controversy over the teaching of evolution in public schools, AGI approved the following statement, which is very relevant to today's situation:

“Scientific evidence indicates beyond any doubt that life has existed on Earth for billions of years. This life has evolved through time producing vast numbers of species of plants and animals, most of which are extinct. Although scientists debate the mechanism that produced this change, the evidence for the change is undeniable. Therefore, in the teaching of science we oppose any position that ignores this scientific reality, or that gives equal time to interpretations based on religious beliefs only.”

 Studies show that science and technology have been the driving forces behind more than half of the economic growth in this country over the past fifty years. In order to continue that growth, we must provide the next generation of Americans with the best science education possible. A strong science curriculum cannot be one that omits the core of our understanding of the development of life and Earth itself over geologic time.
 Evolutionary theory, like plate tectonic theory or the theory of gravitation, is the product of scientists’ continual commitment to search for a better understanding of how natural systems operate. Creationists seek to foster a popular perception that evolutionary theory and religion are contradictory, a view rejected by the many mainstream Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish denominations that have publicly stated that evolution is compatible with their faith.

Sincerely yours,
David Stephenson

cc: Kansas State Board of Education

Priscilla Grew Receives Ian Campbell Medal

The American Geological Institute has honored Priscilla C. Grew, professor of geosciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, with its most prestigious award, the Ian Campbell Medal. Grew is the 18th recipient and is the first woman to receive the medal. Previous recipients have included three directors of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Grew received the award Oct. 25 at the Geological Society of America Awards Ceremony in Denver. The institute presents the medal "in recognition of singular performance in and contribution to the profession of geology."  The institute honored Grew "for her leadership in the geosciences promoting awareness of the contributions of geosciences research to society."

After graduating magna cum laude in geology from Bryn Mawr College in 1962, Grew earned her doctorate in geology at the University of California at Berkeley (1967) and went on to a wide-ranging career as a geoscientist both in higher education and with government agencies.

She served on the faculty at Boston College from 1967 to 1972 and at UCLA from 1972 to 1977, including a year as a visiting assistant professor at the University of California at Davis (1973-74). From 1977 to 1986, she worked for the state of California, first as director of the Department of Conservation, then as commissioner of the California Public Utilities Commission. During that time, she also served as chair of the California Mining and Geology Board (1976-77) and the California Geothermal Resources Board (1977-81).

In 1986 Grew became state geologist of Minnesota, the second woman in the U.S. to serve as a state geologist. She held concurrent appointments as director of the Minnesota Geological Survey and professor in the department of geology and geophysics at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She came to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1993 as vice chancellor for research and professor in the department of geosciences. She stepped down from the former position earlier this year. Since 1998, she has also served as the university's Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act compliance coordinator.

Since 1989 Grew has served as a member of the advisory board for the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford University. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Geological Society of America, and the Mineralogical Society of America.

Balancing Economics with the Environment

            Eileen McLellan

Eileen McLellan, a geology professor at the University of Maryland, found her career direction during a research excursion to Canada. Originally tracing sewage movement along fault lines, McLellan’s group unexpectedly discovered a gold mine. Returning to the site after mining began, McLellan felt happy that she helped locate this resource, but she was dismayed that sediment runoff from the mining production had polluted the crystal-clear river she once canoed, she says. For her, the experience highlighted the positive and negative consequences of mining and inspired her to focus her career on balancing economic growth and environmental quality.

McLellan wants to realize this balance as AGI’s 1999-2000 Congressional Science Fellow, a fellowship supported by the AGI Foundation. Beginning this fall, she will serve as a science advisor for one year to a congressional member’s office. “As scientists, we often give scientific

 facts without useful information,” she says. McLellan wants to see “how science can be used in a fashion that is more useful to decision makers.”

 McLellan joins 37 other fellows supported by societies affiliated with the Congressional Science and Engineering Fellows Program, organized by the American Academy for the Advancement of Science. AGI member societies sending fellows include the American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America. McLellan attended a September orientation on the legislative and executive branches, and is now working on resource and land-use issues in the office of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a strong supporter of the geosciences.

McLellan earned her Ph.D. in earth sciences at Cambridge University in 1982. She became a geology professor at the University of Maryland in 1984 and an adjunct faculty member of the Environmental Sciences and Policy Program at The Johns Hopkins University in 1993. She has created and taught 14 courses in environmental science and policy as a faculty director of the College Park Scholars in Environmental Studies since 1994. McLellan says that, while teaching these courses, she became less interested in being a spectator and more interested in becoming involved in policy-making.

Geologists, McLellan says, are uniquely qualified by the nature of their training to contribute to balancing economic and environmental concerns. She believes that a commitment to natural resources exploration for production is a necessary investment for the future and emphasizes that needs must be met while minimizing environmental damage and maximizing economic return.
Julia Cole

In Brief

A Tribute to George E. Brown, Jr.

AGI joined 19 other science societies in hosting a Sept. 27 tribute to the late George E. Brown Jr., who served as a Democratic member of Congress since 1962 and was a strong advocate for science. Brown died July 16 at age 86 due to complications he suffered after open-heart surgery. He served in the House, first representing California's 29th district and then its 42nd.

The Sept. 27 program was held at the American Association for the Advancement of Science building in Washington and included speeches from leaders in the science community, such as Neal Lane, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy; Rita Colwell, director of the National Science Foundation; and Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences.

Wunsch Receives Kentucky Geologist Award

David R. Wunsch, who recently completed one year working on the Hill as AGI's 1998-99 Congressional Science Fellow, received the 1999 Outstanding Kentucky Geologist Award earlier this year from the Kentucky Chapter of the American Institute of Professional Geologists. The chapter gives the award every year to a professional geologist in Kentucky who has made significant contributions to advancing geological sciences and to practicing geology at the state and local levels.

Wunsch is coordinator of the Coal-Field Hydrology Program for the Kentucky Geological Survey. As AGI’s Congressional Science Fellow, Wunsch worked as a science advisor for the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.

Awarding Minority Scholars

AGI’s education department recently selected its 1999-2000 minority scholars. AGI’s 28-year-old Minority Participation Program awards scholarships every year to minority undergraduates in the geosciences, or to upcoming college freshman interested in geosciences or earth science teaching. This year’s awards are funded with a grant from the National Science Foundation. With the help of corporate sponsors and individual donors, AGI also gives scholarships to minority graduate students. Each scholarship recipient is assigned a professional geoscientist as a mentor for the school year.

Past Intern Joins AGI Staff

The AGI Government Affairs Program welcomed one of its former interns as a new member of its staff in September. Margaret Baker participated in the 1998 AGI/American Institute of Professional Geologists Public Policy Summer Internships program, working as a staff member of AGI’s Government Affairs Program. After she graduated with a dual bachelor’s degree in geology and Asian studies this year from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., she joined AGI as a program associate for government affairs. Working with Government Affairs Program Director David Applegate, Baker will maintain the Government Affairs Program Web site, report on congressional hearings, assist member societies with information on policy and coordinate internship and fellowship programs.

New Staff at Geotimes

Earlier this year, Kristina Bartlett, formerly an assistant editor for AGI’s Geotimes, became managing editor of the monthly geoscience newsmagazine. Bartlett earned her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Virginia in 1995 and worked as a newspaper reporter before joining the Geotimes staff in 1997, helping produce the magazine and writing for the “News Notes” section. New to Geotimes is Associate Editor Christina Reed, who earned her dual master’s degree in earth and environmental science journalism from Columbia University this year. Reed will help edit and produce the magazine and will also write for the "News Notes" section.

 GAP Welcomes Fall Intern

Working with the Government Affairs Program (GAP) this fall is Alison Alcott, who is earning her master’s degree in geology from the University of Utah. Alcott is participating in the 1999 AGI/American Association of Petroleum Geologists Fall Semester Internship in Geoscience and Public Policy.

1999 AGI Executive Committee
President David A. Stephenson
President-Elect Russell G. Slayback
Secretary Joanne V. Lerud
Treasurer William A. Thomas
Member-at-Large Suzanne B. O'Connell
Member-at-Large Steven M. Stanley
Member-at-Large Lawrence P. Wilding
Past President Susan M. Landon.
Chairman, Foundation 
Board of Trustees
Bruce Appelbaum
Executive Director Marcus E. Milling

 Please send any comments or questions about Geospectrum to Kristina Bartlett, editor and webmaster, at

This page last updated May 10, 1999

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