2008 Fall – Phantom Science: How Geology Shapes Human History
by Don Beaumont
Senior University geologist, Don Beaumont, will describe how geology and geologists have shaped hu-man history from flint weapons in the Stone Age to $15.00 a gallon gasoline in our lifetime. The course will focus on how different rocks weathered and eroded to produce different soils and landscapes that in early human history favored the develop-ment of some clans and tribes over their neighbors. Later in history the erratic occurrences of natural resources, especially copper, tin, and iron, were exploited to field conquering armies and create vast empires. In more recent times natural resources of coal, oil, and uranium have assumed an ever more prominent role in the rise and fall of empires. From the beginning of history and continuing today, continued access to natural resources has been critical to the viability of nations and empires.
The emphasis on the November 6th field trip will be on the non-renewable natural treasures in Williamson County: water, oil, and coal. We will visit current operations and hear of their early develop-ment and subsequent exploitation. The all important question will be asked, What will we do with-out them?‖
Don Beaumont received his PhD in Geology from Columbia, worked for almost 50 years in the petroleum industry and has taught numerous courses at Senior University.