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Isotopic Adventures—Geological, Planetological, and Cosmic

Wasserburg, G. J. (2003) Isotopic Adventures—Geological, Planetological, and Cosmic. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 31 . pp. 1-74. ISSN 0084-6597. doi:10.1146/

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When asked to write a summary of my professional life, I had no notion of how difficult it would be. There is the form and the substance, the remembrances and the reality, the discipline and the hope, the frustration of not finding a way, and the satisfaction of finding a trail. Of all of the experiences, the greatest one, the biggest turn-on, is the rare feeling that one has some understanding of nature. I have had the honor and privilege of receiving the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy from the King of Sweden, but my greatest occasions of excitement came when I thought I had possibly understood something. The greatest satisfaction comes in feeling that the work I have done or contributed to has some beauty. At the moment, I am finishing up a paper on groundwater transport in the Ojo Alamo aquifer, having just finished a paper with C.T. Lee and Frank Kyte on the chemistry and transport of PGE in the oceans. Just weeks earlier, I returned from an astrophysics conference on “Low Z at low z and high z,” (low chemical elemental abundances at low and high cosmological red shifts) led by Y.-Z. Qian at the University of Minnesota. It has been said that the virtue of being “old” is that you can live in the past as well as the present. Thinking about the past is not my way, except to tell old stories over good wines at dinner with friends. However, the truth is that the particular problem that I am working on at any instant is, to me, the most important thing in the world. Chasing some particular idea and some observations of nature make up the real present and govern my immediate future. In the chase, I met Devendra and Aruna Lal. He was fascinated with Indian puzzles and natural puzzles, particularly those cosmic-ray induced. Our mutual interest in natural puzzles has been a continuous source of entertainment and mutual support. Friendly interaction and critical comments on science and life and what might be true comes regularly from Karl Turekian (a Columbia product displaced to Yale). It has been my privilege to have had an exciting, productive career that continues to the present day. It is my intent to continue the exploration and the chase. The reader is warned that this report is not chronological, as the actual science in different areas often occurred concurrently.

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Wasserburg, G. J.0000-0002-7957-8029
Additional Information:© 2003 by G.J. Wasserburg. First published online as a Review in Advance on December 2, 2002.
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ID Code:27199
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:13 Oct 2011 23:05
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 16:46

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