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Gerald M. FRIEDMAN

Mary C. Rabbit History of Geology Award Winner for 2005
History of Geology Division, Geological Society of America

Citation by

Kennard B. Bork

Does Gerry Friedman really need yet another award?!? The positive answer is that he definitely deserves to be the recipient of the History of Geology Division�s highest award. It is an honor to bestow on Dr. Friedman the �Mary C. Rabbit History of Geology Award� for 2005, the first time the Division�s award has carried the name of its third awardee.

The opening query was offered in a light manner, but it carries a heavy message. Few people have had, and deserved, the wide recognition that Gerry Friedman has earned over an exceptionally productive lifetime. We are here to honor his contributions to the history of geology, but many of us realize that his broad and deep impact on sedimentology is non-pareil. It is difficult to imagine that one person would be honored with presentation of the Twenhofel Medal (SEPM, 1997), the Sidney Powers Medal (AAPG, 2000), and a veritable treasure-chest of other medals and awards relating to his work in sedimentology, geochemistry, and petroleum geology. In addition to holding numerous offices in professional societies dealing with mineralogy, education, history of geology, petroleum geology, and sedimentology, Gerry has also won plaudits for his important papers and textbooks. A Fulbright scholar in 1964, at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Gerry also has received honorary degrees from the University of London, where he was hooded by the Queen Mother, and the University of Heidelberg, which only deigns to give awards every 50 years (John Wesley Powell in 1886, Reginald A. Daly in 1936, and Gerry in 1986). His own educational pathway, after leaving his native Germany, included the B.Sc. degree from the University of London (1945), and Masters (1950) and Ph.D. (1952) degrees from Columbia University. Gerry�s full employment history is too rich to recount here, but it includes teaching at the University of Cincinnati (1950�1954), research with Amoco (1956�1964), and faculty positions at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1964�1984) and Brooklyn College, City University of New York (1984�1988; Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, 1988 to the present.) If some of you cannot be impressed by academic credentials, be forewarned that Dr. Friedman also holds a third-degree black belt in judo, so please pay attention to this citation.

Any temptation to dwell on Gerry's exceptional contributions to a rather astounding range of fields, from mineralogy to sedimentology, and from petroleum to uranium, must be reined in, as we turn our focus to the history of geology. When one thinks of the evolution of the history of geology, there are a few names in the first wave, from the 1960s onward, that still resonate. George White, Cecil Schneer, Ursula Marvin, and Martin Rudwick come to mind. A second key era in our discipline was the founding, in 1982, of the History of the Earth Sciences Society (HESS) and the concurrent inception of its journal, Earth Sciences History. I recall our discussions at the time, when it was agreed that a worldwide society to foster geoscience history would be of great value, but the real need was to have a journal devoted to our discipline. Truth be told, it is difficult to imagine the evolution of HESS and Earth Sciences History without the Society�s co-founder and the journal�s founding editor, Gerald Friedman. The editor of a new journal must have many talents, along with the phenomenal energy and patience required to deal with a flood of important decisions and production details. This is an opportune moment to introduce Sue Friedman and acknowledge her tireless collaborative work with Gerry. Sue�s efforts have paid many dividends to the history of geology, as well as to many other professional endeavors. Visible acknowledgment of the Friedmans� contributions is the Sue Tyler Friedman Award of the Geological Society (London). They truly are a dynamic duo. In the early days of Earth Sciences History, Gerry�s editorial work was critical in producing a journal that would gain international stature. The fledging journal succeeded in attracting members worldwide, and it served as an important forum for expanding interest in the history of geology. To this day, Gerry continues to provide articles, editorials, and helpful lists of interesting publications. His numerous contributions to HESS were applauded with the rare recognition (2001) as an Honorary Lifetime Member. Service to our GSA History of Geology Division included two years as Vice Chair (1998��99) and two years as Chair (1999�2000).

While HESS and its journal were gaining adherents on the global scene, Gerry was using his base in Troy, New York, to organize and host a number of valuable symposia. Troy is the home of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where Gerry taught for two decades, and of the Northeastern Science Foundation, over which he presides. It is also where he established the Rensselaer Center for Applied Geology, site of many noteworthy meetings. For example, in August 2000, the Friedmans convened the �Conference on the History of Geologic Pioneers.� Gerry did a fine job of convincing us that the Troy region really had a claim to being the �Birthplace of American Geology.� Amos Eaton (1776�1842) taught at RPI, as did Ebenezer Emmons (1800�1863). James Hall (1811�1898) was a student of Eaton and Emmons. And they have their permanent resting place in the general area, as you will find if you accompany Gerry on one of his famous cemetery tours. Once the formal meetings and trips were concluded, one learned of yet another dimension of Gerry�s interests and talents. He is an ardent bibliophile and superb host. A visit to the Friedmans� home involves not only a pleasant social evening but also an amazing introduction to treasures of their personal library. The New York geologists are represented, but so is Darwin and many of the great names of the history of geology. Gerry truly is invested in the history of geology, from research to editing to collecting key works in the discipline.

It is a pleasure to recognize our Division�s 2005 honoree and all-in-one sedimentologist, editor, educator, organizer-extraordinaire, bibliophile, and tireless supporter of the history of geology -- Gerald M. Friedman.
 

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