Dr. Terry Wallace did not use the podium much Thursday evening during his lecture ‘Gold: from the Big Bang to the Amazon Forest’ which discussed everything from the Big Bang to recent gold nugget discoveries and was conversational with the occasional touch of humor. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
LANL Deputy Director for Science, Technology and Engineering John Sarrao introduces LANL Director Emeritus Terry Wallace Thursday evening. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Dr. Terry Wallace refers to his slide on the journey of gold during his lecture Thursday evening at Duane Smith Auditorium. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Emeritus Terry Wallace took his audience on a broad tour of the cosmic history of minerals Thursday evening at Duane Smith Auditorium while talking about gold in particular.
Wallace was giving his third lecture this week as part of the Frontiers in Science series designed to increase local public awareness of the diversity of science and engineering research at LANL.
Introducing Wallace, LANL Deputy Director for Science, Technology and Engineering John Sarrao noted his academic background and that Wallace graduated from Los Alamos High School.
“He spent most of his career in academia as a seismologist for 20 years at the University of Arizona. Having sort of started here and never quite getting away from national security, he probably looked at more underground nuclear tests than anyone on the planet – essentially all of ours and many foreign countries’ as well. The number is something like 1,800,” Sarrao said.
Sarrao also noted a photo of the mineral Terrywallaceite projected behind him which was named after Wallace in 2011 in recognition of his efforts in education, research and service to mineralogy.
Terrywallaceite. Photo Courtesy LANL
Wallace told the audience that the story of gold is one of natural beauty.
“But it’s also that of a scientific Rosetta Stone and really starts with the very beginning of the universe about 13 ½ billion years ago and culminates in the chemical reactions which are creating minerals even as we speak,” he said. “Our planet earth is a truly remarkable place. It’s certainly unique in our solar system and at the end it’s probably unique in a large expanse of our own galaxy.”
He said the earth is ever-changing and truly dynamic and that its dynamicism is a signature of an evolving path.
“Just as we tend to look at our own DNA to try and understand clues of who and why we are, we can look at the minerals on earth as a type of celestial DNA,” he said.
The lecture, which was titled “Gold: from the Big Bang to the Amazon Forest”, was sponsored by the Fellows of Los Alamos National Laboratory.Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Emeritus Terry Wallace concludes his lecture Thursday evening at Duane Smith Auditorium as part of the Frontiers in Science series. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com