Ladies and gentlemen: I am deeply grateful for this honor and for the opportunity to acknowledge some of those who made it possible.

My interest in geology began with my parent’s love of the high Sierras of California where we spent family vacations hiking and fishing and occasionally picking up a piece of obsidian. At Occidental College my advisors, Joe Birman and Bill Morris, persuaded me to put major effort into math, physics, and chemistry. That advice got me to Princeton, where I struggled for two years to find a thesis. My classmate, Sam Sawkins, had already started on the...

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