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Stanford Oral History Collections

Ernst, W. Gary.

purl.stanford.edu/qc030yz3484
Title:
Ernst, W. Gary.
Author:
Ernst, W. Gary and Torre, Alicia
Corporate Author:
Stanford Historical Society
Description:
In this oral history, W. Gary Ernst, Stanford’s Benjamin M. Page Professor in Earth Sciences, Emeritus, and the former dean of the School of Earth Sciences, revisits his research and teaching career in geology and his experiences as an administrator. Ernst begins his interview by discussing his early life in St. Paul, Minnesota and his days at Carleton College where he was influenced by the charismatic Lawrence Gould. He describes his post-graduate pursuits at the University of Minnesota with Sam Goldich and at John Hopkins and the Carnegie Institution of Washington Geophysical Laboratory where he developed a special expertise in synthesizing amphiboles. Gary explains what drew him to UCLA in 1960 and his activities there. He shares his experiences doing research abroad as a Fulbright Scholar in Japan and on sabbaticals in Switzerland and Asia. Ernst explains how the emerging theory of plate tectonics provided the explanation for the high pressure, low-temperature minerals found in his California field research. Ernst was recruited to Stanford as dean of the School of Earth Sciences in 1989. He arrived at difficult time and was soon confronted with the destruction of the Loma Prieta earthquake, the indirect costs controversy, and budget cuts. He describes his successful efforts to bolster geochemistry through association with the United States Geological Survey and to establish the interdisciplinary Earth Systems Program. He also explains some of the challenges he faced and why he resigned as dean in 1994. Ernst concludes the interview by reflecting on teaching, the advantages and disadvantages of the breadth of his work, emerging trends in the geosciences, and how an undergraduate liberal arts education shaped his career.
Topic:
W. Gary Ernst, Stanford Historical Society, oral histories, interviews, higher education, professors, Stanford University--School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, Stanford University--Department of Geological Sciences, universities and colleges--faculty, universities and colleges--administration, California Coast Ranges, geochemistry, and sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe
Imprint:
December 10, 2015 - December 22, 2015
Collection:
Stanford Historical Society Oral History Program interviews, 1999-2012