Geotimes Logo ABOUT PEOPLEApril 1998


New leadership for AGI's GeoRef

Sharon Tahirkheli was named acting director of AGI's GeoRef database on Feb. 28, succeeding retired director John Mulvihill. Tahirkheli takes charge of a database that contains 2.1 million bibliographic references to journals, books, maps, and other geoscience publications in 40 different languages. She joined GeoRef as an indexer in 1975, became a senior editor three years later, and was promoted to chief editor in 1987. As acting director, she will oversee a 30-person staff. Filling her previous position are former editor-indexers Ellen Hissong and Jim Mehl, who now become associate editors. Tahirkheli earned her bachelor's degree in Spanish in 1975 from Mary Washington College in Virginia. In 1989, she earned a master's degree in library and information science from Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

This year, the American Geological Institute (AGI) is receiving a substantial bequest from the estate of LORRAINE AND FREDERICK HINRICHS. Frederick Hinrichs was an admiral in the U.S. Navy who earned his master's degree in geology from Northwestern University in 1941 and carried a love for geology throughout his life. Hinrichs, 81, died of cancer on Nov. 26, 1996 and his wife, Lorraine, 84, died the next day, apparently of a heart attack. The couple lived in Beverly Hills, Calif., and left a large fortune to family members, friends, and several nonprofit organizations, including AGI, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) Foundation, Northwestern University, and the Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles. Frederick Hinrichs served as chief geologist of Fairchild Aerial Surveys Inc,. from 1948 to 1965 and as west exploration manager for Aero Services Corp. in Los Angeles from 1965 until his death. He was also a member of several geology associations.

President Clinton in February announced the retirement of JOHN "JACK" GIBBONS, who had served as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Assistant to the President for Science and Technology. Gibbons headed the office that provided science-policy advice to the President. Previously, he had directed the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment for 12 years. He was also the first director of the Federal Office of Energy Conservation.
Gibbons' successor will be NEAL F. LANE, director of the National Science Foundation (NSF). Formerly a professor of physics at Rice University, Lane served as chancellor of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs from 1984 to 1986, provost of Rice University from 1986 to 1993, and director of NSF's Division of Physics from 1979 to 1980.
The President nominated RITA R. COLWELL, professor of microbiology at the University of Maryland and president of its Biotechnology Institute, as director of the National Science Foundation. Colwell holds a Ph.D. in marine biology from the University of Washington and is past president of the American Society for Microbiology, the International Union of Microbiological Societies, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

JOHN J. "JACK" GALLAGHER became science director for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), on Jan. 1. Gallagher oversees publishing, continuing education, and other activities related to the science of petroleum geology at AAPG. He has worked with Cities Service Company and Occidental Oil and Gas Corporation in Tulsa and with ARCO International Oil and Gas Company in Plano, Texas. Before joining AAPG, he worked as an independent consultant in Dallas, Texas.

ROBERT M. HAMILTON, a former director of the Geologic Division at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), became the executive director of the National Research Council's Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources in January. Hamilton is chairman and U. S. member of the Scientific and Technical Committee of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction program within the United Nations and former science vice-chairman for the federal Subcommittee on Natural Disaster Reduction. Hamilton joined the USGS in 1968 and served as deputy director for earthquake geophysics and as chief of the Office of Earthquake Studies. He also headed the Survey's Geologic Division for five years in the 1980s and served as coordinator of the USGS Deep Continental Studies Program. He was also president of the Seismological Society of America and the Seismology Section of the American Geophysical Union.

The Geological Society of America (GSA) in January recognized JOHN F. MANN JR. and CAROL MANN for their continued financial contributions to the society. The Manns have contributed more than $2 million to GSA since 1994. John Mann taught at the University of Southern California for 19 years while he developed and managed a groundwater consulting business. The Manns' contributions to GSA fund the John F. Mann Mentor Program in Applied Hydrology and the John F. Mann Institute for Applied Geoscience. The new Mann Institute will also support several programs of GSA's Institute for Environmental Education (IEE).
DANIEL SAREWITZ, director of IEE, is leaving the institute to take a senior research fellow position at Columbia University. Sarewitz, who has held the IEE position since 1995, was a GSA Congressional Science Fellow (1989-1990), and served as a science consultant to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

The new officers for the Society of Independent Professional Earth Scientists (SIPES) are DONALD C. WAMBAUGH, president, Midland, Texas; WILLIAM P. WILBERT, vice president, San Antonio, Texas; MARK K. MOSLEY, vice president of natural resources, Austin, Texas; VICTOR L. COOPER, secretary, Oklahoma City, Okla.; GEORGE F. WILLIS, treasurer, Dallas; and H. RUDY PARKISON, SIPES Foundation president, Dallas. The new officers will be installed this month.

Air Force Brigadier General JOHN J. KELLY (Ret.) was named the 13th director of the National Weather Service on Feb. 19. General Kelly is the former head of the Air Force Air Weather Service, which provides operational weather support for all U.S. Army and Air Force activities. Kelly is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society.


VIRGIL E. BARNES, a prominent Texas geologist, died Jan. 28 at the age of 94. He was a leading expert on tektites and worked at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin for 63 years. At the time of his death, Barnes was a professor emeritus at UT, director of the Geologic Atlas of Texas project, and director of tektite research within the university's Bureau of Economic Geology. He was named Distinguished Texas Scientist in 1988 by the Texas Academy of Science. He also earned the Public Service Award from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists in 1993. He was a member of 14 professional science societies, and at the time of his death, was directing a $111,000-project on tektite research funded by the National Science Foundation.
Barnes contended that tektites, which some geologists said were extraterrestrial in origin, were actually created from earth-bound soil and rock, as the result of catastrophic cosmic collisions that occurred 35 million years ago. Barnes traveled the world visiting tektite sites. A volcanic glass he picked up in Peru was named "virgilite" by the International Mineral Association in his honor. Two fossils have "barnesi" in their names in honor of his work with Cambrian rocks in central Texas.

Astrophysicist and cosmologist DAVID N. SCHRAMM was killed Dec. 19 when the twin- engine plane he was piloting crashed outside of Denver. Schramm, 52, was en route from Chicago to Aspen, Colo. He was a professor at the University of Chicago and a strong advocate of the Big Bang Theory. "Around Chicago, they called him Schrambo for his physical audacity and feats," wrote Dennis Overbye in The New York Times. "But his real daring had been mental, prodding his colleagues and the rest of the scientific world, especially particle physicists, to take seriously the implications of the Big Bang."
Schramm was a leading authority on the Big Bang Theory, before it gained widespread acceptance, and on the study of the early universe. "He was one of the major architects of our present model of the creation of the universe, and was someone who was always a leader," says Leon Lederman, Nobel laureate and former director of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Together, Schramm and Lederman wrote From Quarks to the Cosmos: Tools of Discovery, which describes the connection between the outer space of the cosmos and the inner space of quarks.

April Geotimes | Geotimes Home Page | AGI Home Page | Education | GeoRef | Gov. Affairs