Academic journal article Transactions of the American Philosophical Society

Preface

Academic journal article Transactions of the American Philosophical Society

Preface

Article excerpt

One might suppose that a person whose main interest and professional writing concerned a field like water would have spent most of his or her life dealing with topics that involved water. Such a view is quite wrong. In fact, most of one's life is dominated by much more mundane things, such as holding a job, maintaining a family, and meeting social and professional obligations. Indeed, a scientific career comprises mostly learning, reading, observing, and recording.

Viewed in this light, it is not surprising that a book about a life in science deals mostly with observing and learning. This is just a personal memoir, but it is still of some interest to see how detailed observations were influential in contributing to a larger view of the author's principal concern, in this instance water on the earth.

Water is so embedded in all aspects of the earth-in physical and chemical processes, the biota, earth history, and much more- that a lifetime of observation and study merely touches the surface of what there is to know.

In a decade central to my life, I was immersed in the administration of water studies in my position as Chief Hydraulic Engineer and later Chief Hydrologist of the United States Geological Survey. It was an important period in the study of water for I was in a position to initiate and oversee a greatly expanded program of research and data collection, enhanced by my determination tojóin the previously disparate subjects of geomorphology and hydrology. …

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