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 March 2000 

News about people and announcements
from the American Geological Institute’s
35 member societies

For students

The Society for Organic Petrology (TSOP) invites applications for two graduate student research grants of up to $1,000 each. The purpose of the grants is to foster research in organic petrology (which includes coal petrology, kerogen petrology, organic geochemistry and related disciplines) by providing support to graduate students who demonstrate the application of organic petrology concepts to research problems.

The grant program focuses on support of qualified candidates for master’s or equivalent degrees. Qualified doctoral candidates with expenses beyond the usual scope of funding by other agencies are also encouraged to apply. Grants are to be applied to expenses directly related to the students' thesis work, such as summer fieldwork and laboratory expenses.

Grant application deadline is March 31. Grants will be awarded in September. Detailed information and an application form are available on the TSOP Web site:, or from C. L. Thompson-Rizer, Conoco Inc. PR 3072, P.O. Box 2197, Houston, TX 77252-2197 US. Phone: (281) 298-3160, Fax: (281) 293-3833, or E-mail:

The Mineralogical Society of America announces the 2001 grants for student research in mineralogy and petrology and for research in crystallography from the Edward H. Kraus Crystallographic Research Fund. Each $3,500 grant supportts research. Selection will be based on the qualifications of the applicant, the quality, innovation and scientific significance of the research, and the project's likelihood of success. Grants will be made in January 2001. Some restrictions apply. Application instructions and forms for the grants may be obtained from the MSA Website at Completed applications must be returned by June 1.

Jacobs named president

In January, Louis L. Jacobs, past president of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, became president of the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man (ISEM) at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas.

“What I think is the top priority for the institute is to facilitate graduate student studies that exercise intuitiveness and creativity,” he said.

Some of the most important issues in geology he would like to see emphasized are analytical and quantitative aspects of the environment and fine-scale measuring. Jacobs also plans to tap into the trends in converging energies and energy resources. “Traditionally the institute has had close ties with the energy industry,” he said. “The industry is not the same as it was two decades ago and it will be different in the future. We want to be a part of those changes.”

Jacobs will continue as professor of geological sciences in Dedman College and director of the Shuler Museum of Paleontology at SMU. He will also continue at the Dallas Museum of Natural History.

Estes wins award

The Department of the Interior and NASA awarded the annual William T. Pecora Award on Dec. 7 to John Estes, professor of geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara, for his outstanding contributions to the understanding of Earth through remote sensing.

Estes changed the face of conservation biology from site-specific studies to a landscape-wide approach, using remote-sensing technology.

New USGS deputy director

Kathryn Clement, previously the Associate Division Chief for Operations of the U.S. Geological Survey National Mapping Division, staked out her new position as deputy director for the USGS in January. Her first tasks will be implementing the organizational changes recommended by the USGS strategic change team, which she led.

These include expanded regional responsibility for programs, streamlined administrative functions and increased integration of USGS science disciplines.

With almost 20 years’ experience at USGS, Clement “has the abilities needed by the Deputy Director to oversee the upcoming strategic changes as well as to perform the day-to-day managerial function of implementing programs and policies,” said USGS Director Charles “Chip” Groat, who appointed Clement in December.

“I am delighted that Kathy has accepted the challenge of helping to lead USGS into the next century,” he said.

Science award winners

Fourteen scientists will be honored during the 137th annual meeting May 1 of the National Academy of Science.

Geology professor Geerat J. Vermeij of the University of California, Davis, will receive the Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal and a prize of $5,000 awarded every four years in recognition of a meritorious, recently published work in zoology or paleontology.

Geochemistry professor Kenneth A. Farley of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, won the NAS Award for Initiatives in Research. The prize of $15,000 is awarded annually in a different field (geochemistry or geophysics in 2000) to recognize innovative young scientists and to encourage research likely to help create new capabilities for human benefit.

Chief research scientist Shirley W. Jeffrey of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Hobart, Australia, will be awarded the Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal. The medal and $15,000 prize are awarded every three years for excellence in published research on marine or freshwater algae.

George W. Wetherill, staff member of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, D.C., will receive the J. Lawrence Smith Medal, a medal and a prize of $20,000 awarded every three years for recent original and meritorious investigations of meteoric bodies.

Gustavson Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Geography Gilbert F. White of the University of Colorado, Boulder, will receive the 2000 Public Welfare Medal.   White, a veteran environmental scientist for 65 years, has spent his career educating  on water resources management, mitigating hazards and assessing the environment.

White founded the University of Colorado’s Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center, the nation’s leading agency for providing natural hazard information.


William “Bill” T. Holser, a research geochemist and great supporter of the USGS Library, succumbed to Parkinson's disease at his home in Eugene, Ore., on Dec. 25, 1999, at age 79.

Holser specialized in the geochemistry of ancient oceans. He published over 105 scientific papers and book chapters reporting the results revealed from his research of the chemical and isotopic compositions of chemical sedimentary rocks precipitated from the ancient seas.

In recent years, Holser became a tireless champion of the USGS Library, launching the Friends of the USGS Library in 1997 when the library was faced with a 50 percent cut in its journal acquisition budget. Holser pressed for the library's recognition as a national library for the geosciences.

“Bill Holser was a tireless champion for the libraries when their need was greatest,” said Connie J. Manson, past president of the Geoscience Information Society. “While we only knew him briefly, we in the geoscience information community are deeply grateful to Bill for his leadership and fierce determination.” In 1999 Holser witnessed the opening of the new library in Reston, Va.

Holser earned his bachelor's degree from Caltech in 1942. After serving in the Navy during World War II, he returned to obtain a master's degree in 1946. He then earned his doctorate from Columbia University in 1950.

Holser enjoyed studying electronics and in 1952 obtained a patent for a method of contouring topography from reflections of radio frequency emissions. Holser began teaching as an assistant professor at Cornell University before he had completed his Ph.D., but he left Cornell in 1954 to devote his energies to research in mineralogy and petrology at the Battelle Institute in Columbus, Ohio. After later working for the Chevron Research Laboratories in La Habra, Calif., Holser moved to the University of Oregon in 1970 and the following year became chairman of the geology department.

Holser was an honorary life fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America and a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Society of Economic Geologists. He was an honorary Fulbright Fellow in 1976. He also served as editor of The American Mineralogist from 1966 to 1972 and of the International Tables for Crystallography from 1963 to 1965 and 1971 to 1976.

Contributions in memory of Holser may be made to the Holser Visiting Scholar Fund, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403.

Adapted from an obituary provided courtesy of A. Dana Johnston of the University of Oregon.

Geotimes Associate Editor
Christina Reed compiles the Society Page.