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  • MSA Monthly Meeting - March 2021 - "Gold: A journey from the Big Bang to the forest of the Amazon" By Dr. Terry Wallace Jr.

MSA Monthly Meeting - March 2021 - "Gold: A journey from the Big Bang to the forest of the Amazon" By Dr. Terry Wallace Jr.

  • 03/11/2021
  • 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Online Event via Zoom - Link @ Registration
  • 59


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"Gold: A journey from the Big Bang
to the forest of the Amazon"
Presented by Dr. Terry Wallace Jr.

MSA February meeting is virtual via ZOOM.

Dr. Terry Wallace JrMSA’s March 11th program “Gold: A journey from the Big Bang to the forest of the Amazon,” will be presented by a noted scientist and friend of mineralogy Dr. Terry Wallace Jr. Terry’s program illuminates minerals are the DNA of the planet Earth. They contain the fragments of the complex history of our planet from its formation nearly 4.6 billion years ago, the creation of planet-wide ocean, an oxygen-rich atmosphere, and the rise of life. More than 4,500 mineral species have been identified on Earth, representing a variety nearly 100 times larger than any other planet in the solar system – a robust indication of the uniqueness of our planet. One of the most fascinating “strands of geologic DNA” is the mineral and element gold. No mineral (or metal) evokes more emotion; it has a warm glow that captures the eye and is the mineral most likely to evoke a retort of “beautiful.” Perhaps no material object comes closer to the ancient Greek philosopher Plato’s concept that true beauty is universal. But that veneer of “beauty” hides an incredible scientific story. That gold crystal--or nugget--is made of material that was not born in our planet or even our solar system; it can only be made by the most extreme forces of the universe, traveling through space between the galaxy’s star systems, and then gathering in a gravitational storm that built our solar system 4.5 billion years ago. Some modest amount of gold was collected in a rocky mass of rubble that became Earth, but this material mostly disappeared into the planet’s fractionating core. However, the Earth was visited by a devastating rain of meteorite impacts about 4 billion years ago (called the Late Heavy Bombardment) that enriched the crust of the planet with metals, including gold. This new material was concentrated in ores through countless cycles of plate tectonic collisions. Mostly these ores were eroded by water, glaciers, and wind, leaving behind a nugget we describe as “beautiful.” But the real beauty is the cosmic journey that gold has taken – and the spell it has cast over humankind.

Mark your calendars for March 11th as Mineralogical Society of Arizona is delighted and honored to host Dr. Terry Wallace for a very special program!

Dr. Terry C. Wallace, Jr., is Director Emeritus of Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he served as the 11th Director in 2018. As a premier national nuclear science laboratory, Los Alamos is a principal contributor to the U.S. Department of Energy mission to maintain the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile but also protects the nation through programs in nuclear counterproliferation and nonproliferation.

Prior to becoming Laboratory Director, Wallace was the Laboratory’s Principal Associate Director for Global Security and the Senior Intelligence Executive, leading national security programs—nonproliferation, counterproliferation, and industry partnerships. Previously he served as the Principal Associate Director for Science, Technology, and Engineering and led implementation of the capability model for scientists and engineers. He also developed the science pillars that guide our institutional investment strategies. He has represented Los Alamos and DOE around the world, meeting with scientists and leaders of allied countries and attending significant collaborations with non-NATO countries.

Wallace is an internationally recognized scientific authority on geophysics and forensic seismology, which is the study of earthquakes and seismic waves as they relate to nuclear weapons testing, and he has evaluated more than 1,700 U.S. and foreign nuclear tests. He has conducted research in a very wide range of earth science topics; from climate change, statistics and hypothesis testing and mineralogy. Wallace has a mineral named in his honor for his efforts in education, research, and service to mineralogy (Terrywallaceite). He is a Fellow in the American Geophysical Union and has served on the Board of Earth Sciences & Resources in the National Academy of Sciences. His awards include the Brown Medal, the Langmuir Medal for Research, the Macelwane Medal, and the Carnegie Mineralogical Award. He was a distinguished educator at the University of Arizona for 20 years and continues to be a notable author through peer-reviewed journals, science magazines, a college textbook, and a blog exploring the nexus of science, running, and travel.

Wallace was raised in Los Alamos and is the first Laboratory Director with such a strong tie to New Mexico. He holds doctorate and master’s degrees in geophysics from the California Institute of Technology and bachelor’s degrees in geophysics and mathematics from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

Thank you Terry for your distinguished service to United States and Earth and for sharing your boundless passion of mineralogy and Earth Science with MSA!

This will be a virtual event via Zoom. Link to the meeting will be sent in email when you register for the event.


Mineralogical Society of Arizona's purpose is to promote interest and education in Earth Science, and related fields.

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