GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 144-1
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM


VAN SCHMUS, W.R., Dept. of Geology, Univ of Kansas, 1475 Jayhawk Blvd, Room 120, Lawrence, KS 66045-7613,

Sam Bowring was a once-in-a-lifetime student. He obtained his BS in Geology from Univ. NH in 1976 and went to NM Tech where he pursued an MS studying the volcanic Geology of the Magdalena Mts. in Socorro Co., NM. When Sam came to KU in 1979 for doctoral studies he had the work ethic, insight, and intellect needed to continue advanced research, but to further his interests, he needed facilities, support, and opportunity. We had good analytical facilities and a good support team at IGL, and a major opportunity developed in the form of my new NSF project with Paul Hoffman in the NWT. Sam and I joined Paul’s field party in summer 1979, where Sam and Paul immediately bonded as colleagues. Opportunity knocked, Sam opened the door, and he charged on through leading to his pioneering studies in the Wopmay Orogen (where he also happened to collect a sample of the soon to be famous Acasta Gneiss). Sam credits me with allowing him intellectual freedom to purse whatever research he wanted, but in fact it would have been very difficult to hold him back! Not only did he do his PhD work in the NWT, but he also published several other projects dealing with NM and OK. Graduate school is a learning experience, and at KU Sam showed signs of a being great teacher, not hesitating to educate fellow students and faculty in IGL about any exciting, research he encountered during endless hours in the library. Sam left KU for the faculty at Wash U in 1984, where showed his ability to run his own modern geochronology. For me, his “going solo” was the final proof that Sam would become one of the best. He continued to explore research on many fronts at WU, including teaming up with Karl Karlstrom for studies in the SW US (including their contribution to Chap. 4 of the Precambrian D-NAG volume, which Pat Bickford and I were editing) and uncovering the tip of an iceberg with some early Nd work in SE MO. While at WU Sam also made his major discovery with Ian Williams, showing that that the Acasta Gneisses were 4 billion years old. In 1991 Sam accepted an opportunity to join the faculty at MIT, and since then he continues to develop major projects and foster many students. I am pleased to have played a role in creating the scientist he is today.