Clair C. Patterson, Who Established Earth’s Age, Is Dead at 73

As nature coerces us into a state of lockdown, a forced slowing down brought forth by the coronavirus pandemic, people across the world are rethinking not just their means of living, but also what will be the future of our planet and the various systems and practices that knowingly or unknowingly govern our everyday lives. Artists who have always been known to respond to the flux of times are no different. In recent times, many have been increasingly experimenting with sustainable materials, eco-friendly practices and concepts. Anne Patterson, a New York -based artist, theatre and set designer and sculptor, it seems, rode the wave of sustainable art right before everything came to a halt. Trying to connect with her on skype as my slow internet speed poses disruptions, perhaps to follow through with the mood of the planet, I am finally able to connect with her in Rhode Island. Having studied architecture and theatre design in college, the spatial dynamics of the place are extremely crucial to her work. The grey and dark tones of the interiors inspired the colours of her installation. The final form created the effect of a suspended forest of blues and greens, the changing shades and reflection of light making the experience of walking through it magical.

How do we know the age of the Earth?

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One Man’s Search for the Age of the Earth Cherry Lewis. clearly be after him. However, in November Patterson attended another conference, this time in​.

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Professor Mervyn Paterson, geophysicist

Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. Clair Patterson was an energetic, innovative, determined scientist whose pioneering work stretched across an unusual number of sub-disciplines, including archeology, meteorology, oceanography, and environmental science—besides chemistry and geology.

He is best known for his determination of the age of the Earth. That was possible only after he had spent some five years establishing methods for the separation and isotopic analysis of lead at microgram and sub-microgram levels.

Patterson, who developed the uranium-lead dating method from which he calculated the age of Earth as billion years old – a figure that.

Nineteenth century geologists recognized that rocks formed slowly as mountains eroded and sediments settled on the ocean floor. But they could not say just how long such processes had taken, and thus how old their fossils were. He came up with that figure by estimating how long it had taken for the planet to cool down to its current temperature from its molten infancy. But Kelvin didn’t, and couldn’t, know that radioactive atoms such as uranium were breaking down and keeping the planet warmer than it would be otherwise.

An older Earth At the dawn of the twentieth century, physicists made a revolutionary discovery: elements are not eternal. Atoms can fuse together to create new elements; they can also spontaneously break down, firing off subatomic particles and switching from one element to another in the process see figure, right. While some physicists used these discoveries for applications ranging from nuclear weapons to nuclear medicine, others applied them to understanding the natural world.

The sun was once thought to burn like a coal fire, but physicists showed that it actually generates energy by slamming atoms together and creating new elements. The primordial cloud of dust that came to form the Earth contained unstable atoms, known as radioactive isotopes.

Clair Cameron Patterson

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Many dating methods establish a maximum age for many earth and space systems that is much too small to confirm the evolutionary age of billion years.

You may have been aware that our Earth is as old as 4. But do you know who found out this fantastic figure first? The destiny rests on shoulders on a young man, Clair Patterson, who was a PhD student at the University of Chicago in the s. The first task for Patterson was to measure the concentration and isotope composition of lead inside the zircon, which is extremely useful for geological dating. This was a brilliant idea however followed by tough laboratory work.

It was found that no matter how crazy Patterson measured the concentration and isotope composition of lead in the zircon sample, disappointing results always showed up — exceeding values with poor reproducibility. Then, it was realized that there must be some lead coming from outside the lab or even the atmosphere that contaminated the samples and ruined nearly all the experiments! To this end, Patterson began to clean his laboratory by hand, trying to wipe all the lead away from the working area.

The hope just came along.

The Clean Room

At around the same time that Arthur Holmes published his ideas for the age of the Earth, Harrison Brown, a professor at the University of Chicago, was developing a new method for counting lead isotopes in igneous rocks. Brown thought this method of counting was incredibly tedious but very easy, so he assigned it to Patterson as his dissertation project in Prior to beginning his research, Patterson had worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II, showing that, by the time he began his research, he had much experience in the field.

Patterson’s study establishing the earth’s age at billion years, just like it did in the meteorites Patterson analyzed to date the planet.

Labirint Ozon. How Not to Date a Rock Star. Janci Patterson , Megan Walker. I want him. But he’s a rock star, and any kind of real relationship would be too risky, too bound to end in heartache. When Maya Parker’s friends drag her to an Accidental Erotica concert, she’s surprised to receive a backstage pass from famous punk rock star Kevin Collins.

While her friends are eager to attend the after-party and hook up with the band members, Maya can’t help but feel skeptical. Kevin is cute and all, but Maya isn’t about to join the harem of Accidental Erotica groupies. At the party, Maya and Kevin hit it off and end up sitting and talking late into the night about everything from rock star life to their favorite horror movies. Kevin is much more down to earth than Maya thought, but the more she starts to like him, the more worried she is that dating a rock star would only end in heartbreak.

Ever practical, Maya heads home thinking she’ll never hear from him again.

Biography of Clair Cameron Patterson, 1998

Professor Mervyn Paterson is a geophysicist who has led Australian research into rock mechanics and pioneered instrument development over the last fifty years. He was born in South Australia in into a family of wheat farmers. He began his career at the CSIR Division of Aeronautics working on the physics of metal fatigue, a foundation which shaped his entire career. I think it is fair to say that Mervyn Silas Paterson is Australia’s leader in research into rock mechanics under a range of laboratory and geological conditions.

Patterson’s work initially focused on the Earth’s age. Many scientists had tried to date the age of the planet before Patterson, coming up with.

Claire C. Patterson’s biographer and peer George H. Tilton described him as energetic, innovative, determined and “modest about his own accomplishments. He received many scientific awards, and an asteroid discovered in is named in his honor. A peak in the Queen Maude Mountains in Antarctica also carries his name. Long before anyone else, Claire Patterson was warning the world about the dangers of lead poisoning.

The scientist saved countless lives when he pushed for the elimination of lead from gasoline, paint and food containers as well as water pipes, solder, pesticides, foils and aerosols. Patterson, long associated with the California Institute of Technology, made his mark in another significant way: He was the first person to accurately determine the age of the Earth at 4. He determined this in , and the figure still basically stands.

His father, also named Claire, was a rural postal carrier. Young Pat, as he came to be called by family and friends, “was a youngster who was full of curiosity about science,” his mother, Vivian, told Des Moines Register reporter Jane Norman for a June article. Vivian Patterson said that just before Christmas each year, her son would look in the Wish Book – the Sears catalog – and “he always wanted a chemistry set.

The Most Important Scientist You’ve Never Heard Of

After graduating with a degree in chemistry , Patterson completed his Ph. Using a newly developed form of lead dating, Patterson succeeded in his mission, giving us the estimate, 4. Patterson unwittingly discovered that modern industrial output, mainly car exhaust fumes, were adding devastatingly large amounts of lead to the air, at a rate that was sure to eventually cause widespread lead poisoning. Patterson took on powerful oil and auto industry heads with a financial interest in silencing his work, and succeeded in demonstrating to the world the gravity of this problem.

Patterson passed away in , at the age of

C. PATTERSON: N.R.C. Conference on nuclear processes in geologic settings it were valid the lead-lead isochron would date the occurrence of differentiation.

He was queasy, not out of his mind. But on a mild October night in , shortly after Dymock groggily tucked himself into bed, something within him snapped. Like a man possessed, Dymock rose, fumbled through the dark, opened his window, and leapt into his garden. Hours later, a passerby discovered him lying in the dirt, still breathing. He was hurried to a hospital. Many of his coworkers were acting erratically too.

Take William McSweeney. One night that same week, he had arrived home feeling ill. By sunrise, he was thrashing at phantoms. His family rang the police for help—it would take four men to wrap him in a straitjacket.

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He later received his Ph. In collaboration with George Tilton , Patterson developed the uranium—lead dating method into lead—lead dating. By using lead isotopic data from the Canyon Diablo meteorite , he calculated an age for the Earth of 4.

Clair Cameron Patterson CLAIRE C. PATTERSON The Chronologers’ Quest: The Search for the Age of the Earth. Book Age of meteorites and the Earth.

The scientist who discovered the age of the Earth also helped end the use of lead in gasoline and other products in the United States. Sunday night’s episode April 20 of ” Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey ” explored the life of Clair Patterson, a geochemist who pinpointed Earth’s age for the first time and also uncovered a secret: Lead contamination is a major and potentially deadly problem.

The newest episode of “Cosmos,” called “The Clean Room,” takes viewers on a tour of Patterson’s work and the industry that fought him as he tried to learn more about lead and its harmful effects. Patterson’s work initially focused on the Earth’s age. Many scientists had tried to date the age of the planet before Patterson, coming up with different numbers, but he did something different during his experiments. He was enlisted to measure the amount of lead in zircon crystals from a fragment of a meteorite — a leftover space rock from the dawn of the solar system — to better understand the age of the Earth.

Eventually, Patterson moved to the California Institute of Technology, where he created the first scientific clean room to try to get a proper reading on his crystals.

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Fragment of the Canyon Diablo iron meteorite. Patterson developed the uranium—lead dating method into lead—lead dating and, by using lead isotopic data from the Canyon Diablo meteorite , he calculated an age for the Earth of 4. He graduated from Grinnell College with a bachelor degree in chemistry in There, he met his future wife, Lorna McCleary.

For graduate school, they both attended the University of Iowa, where he was awarded an M. Both were then sent to work on the Manhattan Project, first at the University of Chicago and then at Oak Ridge, Tennessee , where he encountered mass spectrometry.

By clair patterson –95 studied the earth by studying the age of the common methods were. Currently accepted age for dating was born in , jr.

Marine geochemist Chris Reddy has been selected to receive the Clair C. Patterson Award from the Geochemical Society for his analytical and scientific contributions to organic geochemistry. The C. Patterson Award recognizes one scientist a year who has led an innovative breakthrough of fundamental significance in environmental geochemistry, particularly in service to society. Reddy studies the effects of pollutants on the environment especially following major oil spills.

Reddy will be presented the award at the Goldschmidt conference in Sacramento, Calif. The award was created in honor of Clair C. Patterson, who developed the uranium-lead dating method from which he calculated the age of Earth as 4. Patterson also pioneered research on lead contamination and campaigned for the banning of lead additives in gasoline and lead solder in food cans.

How do we know the age of the Earth?


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