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Bootstrap Geologist

My Life in Science

E. A. Shinn

Publication Year: 2013

In Bootstrap Geologist Shinn enthusiastically shares the highs and lows of his remarkable life. Taking readers around the globe as well as below the ocean, he recounts the painstaking process of data gathering that can lead to paradigm-breaking discoveries. He emphasizes the importance of field science and pointedly addresses the use and abuse of scientific research and the emergence of market-funded research.

Published by: University Press of Florida


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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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p. 4-4

Copyright Page

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p. 5-5

Dedication Page

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pp. 6-7


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pp. vii-9

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Preface: A Modern Horror Story

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pp. ix-xii

As he pushed his scraggly flock down the dry wadi, the turbaned old goat herder puzzled over the strange metal tower behind the bordering dunes. Camel drivers had told him such towers were for mobile phones—whatever mobile phones were. But the camel men knew, from their travels...

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1. Beginnings and Early Years

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pp. 1-31

EK, that’s my father, dropped ether on the cotton pad over Mom’s nose while Dr. DePoo brought me into what would become the Conch Republic. Being born in Key West automatically makes me a “saltwater conch” as opposed to those who move there. They are called “freshwater conchs.” This conch’s birth happened November...

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2. The Shell Years

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pp. 32-59

This time I took the right fork. I went to meet Sig’s friend. His name was Dr. Robert N. Ginsburg. Ginsburg was running a small research laboratory located in an apartment complex in Coral Gables, Florida. When I arrived there were three people in the lab including Ginsburg. The others were Ken Stockman and John McCallum. One of the original...

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3. The Netherlands and the Persian Gulf

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pp. 60-84

By the mid-1960s, Royal Dutch Shell had recovered from World War II and had established a research lab at Rijswijk, a suburb of The Hague, near company headquarters. Geologists at the Rijswijk Laboratory, or Kon. Shell Exploratie en Produktie Laboratorium (KSEPL), had been intrigued by our research on modern carbonates...

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4. Return to Stateside Shell

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pp. 85-116

The discovery of marine cementation put me at odds with the prevailing company view and a company giant. Our geologists were convinced that limestone formed only in the presence of freshwater! I would have to prove that this process was not peculiar to the Persian Gulf but had happened throughout Earth’s history. Finding ancient...

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5. The U.S. Geological Survey

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pp. 117-190

Cars, all shapes and sizes, were backed up for blocks. Reaching the gas pumps could take hours. That’s the way it was during the height of the 1970s oil embargoes. The American dream had become a nightmare, and Congress responded by literally throwing money at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The nation needed a quick...

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6. St. Petersburg and a New Beginning

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pp. 191-256

It was an emotional move. Once again, the Shinns were selling a home and searching for a new one, but this time they were out of practice. Fifteen years in one home was a new record for the Shinn family, and one can accumulate a mountain of difficult-to-move stuff during that time. Not to mention that we still had that...

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pp. 257-277

Much has changed since this bootstrap geologist/scientist began his ever-winding and widening road trip. During my long career, I experienced the introduction of vacuum tube room-sized computers, fax machines, desktop computers, more powerful slim-line screens, and finally the ones that fit in your hand, and all the while the World Wide Web...

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pp. 279-280

One of my major reasons for writing this book was to inspire students to appreciate how much more there is to do, especially in the outdoors. However, after rereading the various chapters, I fear many readers will focus only on the negatives. I complained a lot. I suppose an only child is destined...


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pp. 281-286


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pp. 287-297

E-ISBN-13: 9780813045061
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813044361

Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2013