Public Figure Profiles

Gerald Wasserburg

Gerald J. Wasserburg (March 25, 1927 – June 13, 2016) was an American geologist. At the time of his death, he was the John D. MacArthur Professor of Geology and Geophysics, Emeritus, at the California Institute of Technology. He was known for his work in the fields of isotope geochemistry, cosmochemistry, meteoritics, and astrophysics.

After leaving the US army, where he received the Combat Infantryman Badge, he graduated from high school and attended college on the G.I. Bill. Wasserburg completed his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1954, with a thesis on the development of K–Ar dating, done under the sponsorship of Prof. H. C. Urey and Prof M. G. Inghram. He joined the faculty at Caltech in 1955 as Assistant Professor. He became Associate Professor in 1959 and Professor of Geology and Geophysics in 1962. In 1982 he became the John D. MacArthur Professor of Geology and Geophysics; he retired in 2001. He, Typhoon Lee and D.A. Papanastassiou discovered the presence of short-lived radioactive 26Al in the early solar system and short-lived 107Pd with William R. Kelly.Wasserburg was deeply involved in the Apollo Program with the returned Lunar samples, including being a member of the so-called "Four Horsemen", along with Bob Walker, Jim Arnold, and Paul Werner Gast. He pioneered the precise measurement of ultra-small samples under strict clean room conditions with minimal contamination. He was the co-inventor of the Lunatic Spectrometer (the first fully digital mass spectrometer with computer-controlled magnetic field scanning & rapid switching) and founder of the "Lunatic Asylum" research laboratory at Caltech specializing in high precision, high sensitivity isotopic analyses of meteorites, lunar and terrestrial samples. He and his co-workers were major contributors to establishing a chronology for the Moon and proposed the hypothesis of the Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB) of the whole inner solar system at near 4.0 Gy ago (with F. Tera, D. A. Papanastassiou).

Wasserburg's research led to a better understanding of the origins and history of the solar system and its component bodies and the precursor stellar sources contributing to the solar system; this research established a time scale for the development of the early solar system, including the processes of nucleosynthesis and the formation and evolution of the planets, the Moon and the meteorites. More recently, he investigated models of the chemical evolution of the Galaxy.

He was a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. He won the Arthur L. Day Medal in 1970, the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal in 1972 and 1978, the Wollaston Medal in 1985, the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1991 and the Bowie Medal in 2008. He was co-winner, with Claude Allègre, of the Crafoord Prize in Geosciences in 1986. He was the recipient of several honorary degrees. He was recipient of the J.F.Kemp Medal with Paul W. Gast Columbia Univ 1973,the H. Hess Medal of the American Geophysical Union in 1985,the Leonard Medal of the Meteoritical Soc. 1975,the J.Lawrence Smith Medal of the National Academy of Science 1985, the Arthur L. Day Prize & Lectureship of the National Academy of Science 1981, the Holmes Medal of the European Union of Geosciences in 1986 and the V. M. Goldschmidt medal of the Geochemical society in 1978.

Minor planet 4765 Wasserburg is named in his honor.

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Some of their strengths

Gerald Wasserburg has many admirable traits.

Based on spiritual traditions from around the world, they are someone who can be described as Generous, Imaginative, Creative, Energetic, Intuitive, Passionate, and Adventurous.

Independent and Brave

According to Mysticism’s Astrology tradition, Gerald Wasserburg is someone who is an independent, brave, and honest person who approaches life with energy, intuition, passion, and generosity. A person who is known for being fun and creative.

Constant and Serious

Based on Daoism’s Ba-Zi or ‘Chinese Zodiac’ tradition, people who know Gerald Wasserburg well know them as someone who can be determined, unmoving, and firm, like a rock or a high mountain.

Optimistic and Frank

According to Hinduism’s Jyotisha or ‘Vedic Astrology’ tradition, many would also describe Gerald Wasserburg as someone who is optimistic, principled, adventurous, and direct.

A person who isn't shy about expressing their opinions, loves competition, loves learning things themself, who is known for being inventive and original, and who loves being surrounded by friends and loved ones.

Communicative and Intelligent

Based on the Mayan Tzolk’in or ‘Mayan Astrology’ tradition, Gerald Wasserburg is someone who tends to have a desire to communicate with others, either verbally, through written form, or otherwise, and to have a knack for understanding art, beauty, and aesthetics.

They are also someone who is active, giving, optimistic, and cheerful, and who possesses a charisma that attracts friends and admirers.

Independent and Dynamic

According to Judaism’s Kabbalah tradition, Gerald Wasserburg tends to be someone who is independent, dynamic, and courageous. Who can be positive, energetic, self-reliant, and adventurous, and who can make friends easily.

Some of Gerald Wasserburg's challenges

While Gerald Wasserburg has many strengths, nobody is perfect. They also have some challenging traits they need to manage.

For example, Gerald Wasserburg can be Short-tempered, Impulsive, Careless, Pushy, Restless, Pleasure-seeking, and Non-confrontational.

Short-tempered and Impulsive

One of Gerald Wasserburg's key challenges is that they are someone who can come across as short-tempered and impulsive.

Pushy and Restless

Gerald Wasserburg is someone who can be arrogant and bossy, who can have difficulty concentrating and focusing, be unable to separate emotions from business decisions, and who can engage in excessive spending in support of an expensive lifestyle and habits.

Aggressive and Domineering

Finally, Gerald Wasserburg also can be aggressive, impatient, impulsive, and short-tempered.

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