Oral histories in meteoritics and planetary science: VI. Stuart Ross Taylor
AuthorMarvin, Ursula B.
MetadataShow full item record
CitationMarvin, U. B. (2002). Oral histories in meteoritics and planetary science: VI. Stuart Ross Taylor. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 37(S12), B47-B56.
PublisherThe Meteoritical Society
JournalMeteoritics & Planetary Science
AbstractIn this interview, Ross Taylor describes how his interest in planetary science was aroused by proofreading Brian Mason's book on geochemistry. Born and raised in New Zealand, Ross majored in chemistry at Canterbury College in Christchurch. While there, he took a course in geology and was strongly tempted to change his major, but he resolved the problem by becoming a geochemist. For his doctoral studies, Ross joined Mason at Indiana University where he learned the basics of trace element analysis on the emission spectrograph. Subsequently, he set up emission spectrographic laboratories and used them to pursue his research at Oxford University and the University of Cape Town. As techniques became more sensitive, he set up a spark-source mass spectrograph at the Australian National University in Canberra. Ross always has retained an interest in terrestrial rocks, but he is most widely known for his investigations of tektites and lunar rocks. He became one of the earliest and strongest advocates of tektites as molten terrestrial sediments sent aloft by high-energy impacts. As a member of the preliminary examination team that analyzed the samples returned by the Apollo missions, Ross gained an intimate knowledge of lunar chemistry and petrology and wrote three books about the Moon. He also has written a book about the chemical evolution of the solar system, a topic on which such rapid progress was made in 10 years that his second edition is practically a different book from the first one. Ross has written Destiny or Chance, a philosophical consideration of the likelihood that as sentient beings we may well be alone in the universe. Ross served as the president of The Meteoritical Society in 1989 and 1990, and at its annual meeting in Dublin, Ireland, in 1998, the Society presented him with its Leonard Medal.