Thursday, September 24, 2009

How Come Only Presidents Get Carved on Mt. Rushmore?

And why do only four of them get chosen? We do seem to have our icons in the public sector, and being carved in stone seems to be the highest honor we can bestow upon our presidents, generals, and other assorted heroes. Not so much our pop culture folks, they like it better on beaten wood pulp or computer monitors. That doesn't last as long, though.

For a geologist, though, being immortalized for your accomplishments, it has to be stone, doesn't it? We are building a new Community Science Center at Modesto Junior College that will house our local natural history museum, an observatory, a planetarium, and the various natural and physical science departments, including the geology program. Part of the landscaping will include several rings of stone benches which will have the names of famous scientists inscribed upon them. One ring of benches will have room for 6 to 8 names of the founders and movers of the geological sciences.

So, the question of the day is: what should those 6-8 names be? I have my tentative list already, but I would like to see what you all think, to see if I am overlooking someone. There aren't any hard and fast rules, but keep in mind that geology is a science without national boundaries!

The picture today is of James Hutton, widely recognized as one of the founders of the science of geology, pounding away at a cliff that includes caricatures of his most prominent detractors. An early 1800's political cartoon!


Chasmanian Devil said...

Charles Lyell, Alfred Wegener and William Smith should definitely be there.

MK said...

J. Harlan Bretz would be my suggested contribution.

Chris R said...

Arthur Holmes.

Rock Head said...

My vote is for Harry Hess.

jrepka said...

John Wesley Powell, Grove Karl Gilbert, Clarence Dutton?

Ori S. said...

How about Josiah Whitney ?

Anonymous said...

Also Mohorovicic & Agricola

Roy said...

Definitely agree with Alf Wegener

Vadrosaul said...

Tuzo Wilson, Louis Agassiz. It would be a disservice to not recognize Darwin's contributions to the science.

Garry Hayes said...

Thanks everyone! If you are wondering what we chose in the end, they are:

James Hutton
Charles Lyell
J Harlan Bretz
Harry Hess
Arthur Holmes
John Wesley Powell
Alfred Wegener

Charles Darwin will also appear, courtesy of the biologists