James Morton Schopf (1911–1978): Paleobotanist, palynologist, and coal geologist
Aureal T. Cross, Robert M. Kosanke, Tom L. Phillips, 1995. "James Morton Schopf (1911–1978): Paleobotanist, palynologist, and coal geologist", Historical Perspective of Early Twentieth Century Carboniferous Paleobotany in North America, Paul C. Lyons, Elsie Darrah Morey, Robert H. Wagner
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The contributions of James (Jim) M. Schopf (1911–1978) to the development of upper Carboniferous and Permian paleobotany, palynology, and coal geology are among the most influential of the mid-twentieth century. Jim’s scientific endeavors reached far beyond this scope and extended from the Precambrian to the Pleistocene. His research papers provided many of the integrated benchmarks upon which his and subsequent generations have built. Jim Schopf was respected for his rigorous standards of scholarship and for his candor. He was also one of our most generous and helpful colleagues, and his wise counsel aided many. His graduate studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana, overlapped with pioneering research in the Coal Division, Illinois State Geological Survey (1934–1943). He served with the U.S. Bureau of Mines at Pittsburgh (1943–1947) and the U.S. Geological Survey (1947–1978). In 1949, Jim Schopf established the Coal Geology Laboratory at Ohio State University, Columbus, which became an important center for coal research and scientific exchange—and a special attraction for visiting paleobotanists, palynologists, and coal geologists. The Schopf home was also noted for its gracious hospitality and lively discussions of current research issues. Schopf was especially known as a gregarious and ardent “field tripper,” one with a remarkable ability to discover fossil-plant deposits. One of his special challenges was the paleobotany of the Antarctic (1960–1978), in cooperation with the Institute of Polar Studies at Ohio State University. He received many honors, including the Gilbert H. Cady Award of the Coal Geology Division of the Geological Society of America, Mary Clark Thompson Medal of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Paleontological Society Medal. Mt. Schopf in Antarctica was named in honor of his contributions to Antarctic science.