Today I wrap up my Founding Five and announce that the blog will be on a short break while I move across the country and start a new job. But don’t worry, I’ll be starting a new series after everything settles down!
The letters between Ibn Sina and his rival al-Briuni show the Islamic world of the 9th and 10th Centuries was rich in scientific achievement. Both men were also avid geologists and made significant contributions to our understanding of the Earth. Their story proves the Islamic world has been a source of geologic knowledge for centuries.
Who invented geology? That question is harder to answer than you think. In this post, I write about James Hutton, Comte de Buffon, Nicolas Steno, and Rene Descartes, and suggest that even though Ibn Sina beat them to the punch, nobody really invented geology. Fundamental principles of geology have just been derived by different people in different times and places because of geology’s universal nature.
Franz Nopcsa was a baron, spy, and paleontologist who was nearly crowned King of Albania. He made many discoveries that were ahead of his time and founded the science of paleobiology. Yet you have likely never heard of him.
A dinosaur named Sue shows the complicated history of diversity, inclusion, and cultural awareness in paleontology. Sue was discovered by a woman on Native American land, and her story involves court cases, an FBI raid, and a multimillion dollar auction. Importantly, Sue’s story illustrates the complicated intersection of geosciences and Native American rights.
The letters written between Florence Bascom and her mentor Victor Goldschmidt describe their close bond. Their letters also describe the tragedy faced by Goldschmidt as a result of World War I and the post-war economic crisis in Germany. In these letters we see a side of Bascom most biographies fail to mention. Bascom’s relationship with Goldschmidt shaped her into the “Stone Lady” we celebrate today.
I introduce Chinese scientist Shen Kuo who wrote about paleontology in the 11th Century. I then ask “who invented paleontology.” The answer may surprise you.
Calcareous nannofossil species are 3.5x as likely to be named after men than women, a subtle sign of gender bias in paleontology.
An introduction to the concept I call “bias in the fossil record” where the contributions of women and minorities to geology and paleontology are hidden from history.