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Oral History Transcript — Dr. James Hays

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Interview with Dr. James Hays
By Ron Doel
In Palisades, New York
July 29, 1997

 
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James Hays; July 29, 1997

ABSTRACT: Born in Johnstown, NY on Dec. 26, 1933; discusses family life and childhood. Discusses his early interests in chemistry, physics, and astronomy; pursued scientific interests at Deerfield Academy. Describes his decision to go to Harvard during the McCarthy era; comments on his undergraduate education at Harvard, 1952-1956. Discusses his decision to major in geology; describes his geology coursework and summer field work in Colorado. Discusses his Navy service from 1956-58 and his travels during the International Geophysical Year; describes his decision to go to Ohio State for graduate school in geology. Comments on meeting other scientists through the Polar Institute; describes his growing interests in the Antarctic and how he came to his undergraduate thesis research. Discusses his post-graduate research at Columbia, Lamont, 196 1-1964; describes his coursework at Columbia and the teaching of Heezen, Wust, and Newell. Discusses how he became involved with the CLIMAP project; describes the collaborative nature of the CLIMAP research. Comments on the Emiliani/Ericson debate; compares the involvement of Lamont with Scripps and Woods Hole in the CLIMAP project.

Transcript

Session I | Session II | Session III

Doel:

This is an interview with Jim Hays in his office at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Today is Tuesday, the twenty-ninth of July, 1997. And. I wonder, Jim, if we can begin by discussing your involvement in the CLIMAP [NSF funded global climate mapping project — est. 1971] project.

Hays:

Okay. Well, the project went through early, fairly rapid evolution. And the initial idea for a joint project of many scientists kind of occurred me as I was on the Glomar Challenger, leg nine of the Challenger. And I was chief scientist on that leg, and we gathered about a mile of core which by todayís standard is no record, but at the time it was for the vessel. And it occurred to me that in order to properly study this material, it was not something that could best be done by one or two investigators working alone, but a team of investigators working on this material who could compliment each otherís work would be the most efficient way to study it. So I came, when I came back, I received a telephone call from my program manager at NSF [National Science Foundation] and informed me that there was a new program starting called the International Decade of Oceanographic Research, or Oceanographic Exploration, sorry, IDOE. And this program would, aim was to fund large interdisciplinary studies, sort of large science, that would not normally be done under regular NSF funding. And so at that point I thought well maybe this was a good time to submit a proposal to study the drilling material and perhaps our own cores as well as a joint effort by a number of scientists. So the Observatory, under Maurice Ewing, was planning on submitting a sort of observatory wide proposal to NSF and so he asked that we join that project. Now somewhere prior to our finishing that proposal, I had met with John Imbrie who was at that time a professor at Brown [University]. In fact, we served on a thesis defense at Columbia [University] and after the defense I said, letís go get a cup of coffee because I have something Iíd like to talk to you about. And so I told him about the project that we were planning, and he had developed some interesting, very imaginative, and interesting techniques for estimating sea surface temperatures from fossil assemblages. And these techniques could be used to estimate passing surface temperatures by statistical regression and so he was very interested in the project and said heíd very much like to join it. And so we combined our — we worked together, as well as the people at Lamont [Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory] on a proposal to join the regular Lamont proposal. I spoke to my program advisor and suggested that if for some reason the overall Lamont proposal didnít make it, that I felt ours, part of it, was particularly good and that we should have an opportunity to apply by ourselves if that were to happen. Well, it turns out, I think, the overall Lamont proposal didnít make it, but at that point NSF did single out our part, and there was a professor from Oregon State [Oregon State University] who was working with the National Science Foundation at the time by the name of Jerry Van Andle [?], and at Oregon State. He had been at Scripps [Scripps Institution of Oceanography] and he went to Oregon State, and he brought with him a couple of young scientists about my age from Scripps. Ted Moore and Ross Heath. And they had also submitted a proposal to do some sedimentary core work. They had submitted a proposal to IDOE to do some sedimentary core work. So he suggested to NSF that they put their work together with ours, and that we recast our proposal in a somewhat different light than weíd done it. One of the objectives of the IDOE was to try and come up with some science that could be judged as having some relevance to man. And so the time scales that we were originally dealing with the long deep sea drilling cores were judged to be not terribly relevant. So he suggested that we limit our time to the last seven hundred thousand years and try and get a better understanding of that time through cores from around the world. So we did. We accepted that. And we also were happy to include Ross Heath and Ted Moore in the effort. We knew them well and admired their work. So then we set about writing this, a second proposal and this was to NSF to study the last seven hundred thousand years and do it in various parts of the ocean. Actually we started with the North Atlantic [Ocean] and the Antarctic, and then we eventually expanded to the Pacific [Ocean] and then we decided that we should do the world, and so we added the Indian Ocean as well. But in the initial proposal, I think we were somewhat less than the whole world. I think we added the Indian Ocean and parts of the Pacific at a later time. Now that proposal did succeed and we were funded, and so the CLIMAP Project in a sense was born at that point.

Doel:

And the seven hundred thousand years, that particular epic, you were looking at just a [?] of that is a -Ė

Hays:

The Brunes.

Doel:

Brunes?

Hays:

Yes, it was the last interval of normal, normally magnetized. When the earthís magnetic field is as it is now. And that leaves an imprint on the sediments that we could measure and so we could, we could look at that interval of time.

Doel:

You used that as a base line?

Hays:

Yes. Yes. And so then we, okay, we were funded to do that, and we proceeded to do it. And then we decided to look at two aspects of the sediment. One was to look at global snapshots of an interval of time in the past to see if we could understand how the ocean circulated and something about it, as well as looking at time series through the record to try and understand something about the reasons for the variability. And we chose the last Glacial Maximum which was thought to be at various times, we finally decided we thought it was about eighteen thousand years ago, and so that was what we felt we were looking at when we looked at the last, actually oxygen isotope minimum. Now, it turned out that as we were starting the project, that a friend of mine from before, who had I done research with before, Nick [Nicholas] Shackleton, was interested in working on some of cores and I suggested that he look at core that Peter Thompson and Neil Opdyke were studying. Peter Thompson had done some work on the foraminifera and Neil Opdyke was doing the paleomagnetics on this core from a rise in the Pacific, known as the Onton Java Plateau [? not on word list]. So, Peter I guess had finished his work, and so Nick Shackleton and Neil Opdyke had worked on this, which turned out to be very critical because it, they were able to show that the reason for the variability of the ratio between Oxygen 18 and Oxygen 16 in the shells of the foraminifera that were, that they were measuring, was due primarily to changes in ice volume on land. In other words, when ice builds up on land, the water to build that ice comes out of the ocean, and the Oxygen 18 and Oxygen 16, because they have different masses, they fractionate as the water goes from the liquid phase into the vapor phase and eventually into the snow phase. And so you have a tendency to concentrate on Oxygen 16 in the ice, and you enrich the ocean in Oxygen 18. So that becomes, the water becomes basically heavier, by a tiny amount, but still measurably heavier during glacial times than during interglacial. And they were able to show that most of the variations in Oxygen 18, Oxygen 16 in that ratio between glacial and interglacial, were due to that isotopic fracturization as opposed to temperature changes which had previously been thought to be an important component of the change. So it turned out that it would not now be easy to use oxygen isotopes as a measure of past temperatures, but in a way, it was a blessing that it worked out the way it did because it suddenly allowed us to use that, those variations as a correlation device. Because since the variation was due to the build up and melting of ice, this was a global phenomenon. So this happened everywhere at the same time in the ocean, within the mixing time of the ocean, which was, you know, a few hundred years. So we could tell within a few hundred years the exact time by looking at these curves. So we could correlate between the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian Ocean, everywhere, as long as we could make those measurements, and build up a very solid stratigraphy in which to make a map of the world at eighteen thousand years ago. So that work was critical to the developing the eighteen thousand year map. And then we worked with people from the University of Maine, George Denton and Terry Hughes, who were interested in, and in fact, were pursuing independently, but joined with us to further pursue the reconstruction of land ice at the last Glacial Maximum. So we could end up with a map that contained not only sea surface temperatures at the last Glacial Maximum, using the Imbrie-Kulp Technique [John Imbrie-J. Laurence Kulp] as it was called. We could also show glacial ice, the extent of glacial ice on land and eventually, through the work of George Kukla, who is here in the building, he was in charge of reconstructing the vegetation at eighteen thousand years ago. And all of this was important to people who do numerical modeling of the climate. People who worked with these global circulation models need to have this as basic boundary conditions, or initial conditions, what the sea surface temperature is, what the reflectivity of the land is, and what the elevation of the land is. We see snow as white. It has a great — itís very important. Itís very highly reflective. And the ice sheets actually make mountains. Theyíre very thick, so they add a lot to the elevation of the land. So that was important. But all those elements were important in using the, in being able to make a run of the world and the circulation of the atmosphere and circulation of the atmosphere at the Glacial Maximum. How different was it than today and so forth.

Doel:

How did you choreograph this? Itís an incredible number of people doing research, literally throughout the world.

Hays:

Yes. Well, as I say, it grew. It grew in a, it evolved. And it evolved in a way that wasnít totally planned. It just kind of happened. Shackleton came along. I suggested he work on a core. He discovered something. That changed our strategy because now we could do something we couldnít do before. So we decided this eighteen K map was now really feasible. Before, we still wanted to do it, but we would have had to try and Carbon 14 date all these things. And that would have been very expensive and very laborious and this was a much easier way to do it. The numerical modeling developed because John Imbrie went to a meeting. In fact, I think the NSF people invited him to come to a meeting of these numerical modelers and he learned from them that basically we were developing, unbeknownst to ourselves, the boundary conditions needed to be able to use a general circulation model to reconstruct the atmospheric circulation. We did need to do a few more things than we were doing. So we added those to the list, such as the vegetation that George Kukla did and so forth. So, those kind of got added because we needed them to do something which we hadnít planned to do in the first place. But it became possible, so we said we should try and do it. So thatís the, thatís kind of the way the map developed, the eighteen K map. And we still had the objective of doing the time series as well. And that was to try and understand the reasons for the variation, the advances and retreats. And there we did a number of kinds of experiments with that. Then we — Iíd been working in the Antarctic, thatís an area that Iíd been in well before CLIMAP, where I started my research as a graduate student. And I was particularly interested in the Antarctic from the CLIMAP point of view, because I had this notion — Iím not sure it made any sense, but or in hindsight it made any sense even — but at the time I thought the Southern Hemisphere would be particularly interesting because in the Northern Hemisphere is where these big fluctuations in ice occur. So possibly the records in the ocean will in some way be swamped by, or controlled by this big massive and build up and retreats of these ice sheets. And maybe in the Southern Hemisphere where there arenít big ice sheets, I mean, thereís Antarctica, but itís sort of controlled. It kind of grows and shrinks, at least we thought at the time, because of whatís happening in the Northern Hemisphere because it fills the continent now, canít grow much, but if you lower sea level, then it can grow a little bit. And so sea level gets lowered by Northern Hemisphere ice buildup. So we sort of thought the Antarctic ice sheet was a puppet that was kind of being pulled by the strings of the Northern Hemisphere glaciers. So — and not changing that much anyway. So I had this notion that the Southern Hemisphere was particularly important because maybe there was some signal there that we could detect which would be independent of these glacial Northern Hemisphere. Thinking there might be something different. I mean it —

Doel:

But you didnít know what that was.

Hays:

No. No. I didnít know what it was. There might be something that you could see there that you wouldnít see because it would be swamped out the Northern Hemisphere by the ice. Well it turned out that I found a core that had what I thought was a very beautiful record in it, and I asked Nick Shackleton to run the oxygen isotopes, and we did, and we saw, and I had done the estimated temperature from analysis using the Imbrie-Kulp technique of the radiolarian. And had also counted and looked at another — a number of other fossils which were abundant and fluctuated in abundance in these cores. And this record looked so interesting and it showed something that was, I thought particularly interesting at the time, and that was that the. Well, another thing that was interesting about the Southern Hemisphere at this point to me was that if you, since the major change in the oxygen isotope signal, Shackleton and Opdyke had shown was due to changes in ice volume. And since most of these changes in ice volume are Northern Hemisphere, but if you measure those changes in the Southern Hemisphere and you also measure changes in the temperature estimates made by creatures that live in the Southern Hemisphere right above the core site, in the same sample, you could compare Northern Hemisphere events with Southern Hemisphere events, which I thought in the back of my mind that that might be interesting. Well, it turned out there wasnít much difference. But it was a little bit, but the natural seemed to be that the Southern Hemisphere led in these cores, the Northern Hemisphere — Which was a bit of a surprise. But an interesting observation. But nevertheless these cores were very — looked like they had beautiful records. And John Imbrie had been very interested in doing — had done some prior to this — some time series analysis, Power Spectrum Analysis. So when we got our stratigraphy together and we thought we had this thing pretty well dated, at least as well dated as we could get it, I asked him if he would do the Power Spectrum Analysis on it. And he did, and it turned out that no matter, that he did it a number of ways, but the bottom line was that it turned out that these cores ended up having three dominant periods in them. One was about a hundred thousand years, another about forty thousand years, and another twenty-three years. And then we found another one that was about nineteen thousand years. And this was pretty exciting because this was what would be predicted by the Milankovich theory or the orbital variation theory.

Doel:

Astronomical theory.

Hays:

Yes. The astronomical theory exactly. That would be predicted by that. A lot of people have made attempts to do this before, but had not; it hadnít quite worked out or hadnít been very convincing. But we thought we had something here that would be convincing. That this probably would convince people.

Doel:

So at this point Ė-

Hays:

Yes.

Doel:

— at this point it was the Croll theory and Milankovichís theory, which was pretty much assumed probably not to be the way things were [Crosstalk].

Hays:

Well, no, I think it was, there was a reascendency, but there were a lot of others out there that were all considered. A lot of things were being considered. About fifty-four theories at one point, sort of, you know, divided between things that were extraterrestrial and things that were terrestrial causes, and some of them were linked and similar. But there were a whole lot of ideas. Not that many years before Ewing and [William L.] Donn had had this Arctic Ocean opening up and closing and that theory was still alive. It wasnít terribly healthy at the time, but it was still alive and kicking. And there were a bunch. There were other theories as well that were certainly considered, well, worth considering. Many of them at that time being things of terrestrial base like, you know terrestrial origins like Ewing and Donn theory or changes in water transport across the Isthmus of Panama. There were a number of them like that. But, go ahead.

Doel:

This work then done by John Imbrie, the spectral analysis, did that reinforce [Cesare] Emiliani?

Hays:

Yes. It, yes it did. Emiliani had tried. Emiliani was a proponent of the astronomical theory. But he never had cores that had sufficiently good records, or that could be dated accurately enough to do it.

Doel:

Your cores went deeper and they were longer.

Hays:

Yes. They were because we actually had to patch two of them together. But since we had put two cores together to get four hundred thousand years, and but between the paleomagnetics and the detailed oxygen isotopes stratigraphy which was, had been developed by that time, and the other stratigraphic markers that had been developed — some of which Iíd done, some of which other people had done — we were able to be pretty sure that we had a solid stratigraphy. And, I mean, we might not have, of course. We could have been — you know, many people had thought at one point or another that they had been there. It was, but it turned out it wasnít. So far itís been twenty years and it still looks like it was. So that we did seem to cross that threshold, but the threshold was kind of a, I mean, of course, Iím probably biased in saying this because I come from out of the stratigraphic tradition, but I do think it was a stratigraphic problem that had to be solved. And was. That, but the oxygen isotope stratigraphy we needed that and we needed the other stuff we had, and the paleomagnetics. All these things which had kind of came together in the sixties or late sixties and early seventies were what really set the stage for what we did in Ď76. The other techniques, of course, power spectrum and so forth, thatís fine, but they were not, thereís nothing new about those, they, people had been doing those for some time, I donít think we, and there was not a new application of that that made the difference. I really think it was the stratigraphy that we developed to the point where we could do something which we hadnít been before. So, then we wrote that paper in Ď76, the Pacemaker paper, and that was, that did set, that did change things. It changed things about how people thought about Ice Ages and also changed how people went about studying cores and dating cores. It had been, I mean, even when you go back to [James] Croll or [Milutin] Milankovich or Emiliani, everybody who worked with this theory wanted to use the orbital signal as a clock to be able to tell time. Which, you know, theoretically you can do, provided youíre not missing pieces, providing youíve got the whole thing, you really know youíve got the whole thing and all that. So I still think itís got, itís got dangers, but people are using it and it seems to be successful. I mean so far it looks like it has been a useful thing to do. But we have so much more sedimentary material to work with now than people had prior to the Deep Sea Drilling Project, letís say. Or prior even to the coring, the heavy coring of the 1960s and 1970s. So, before people were working with one or two cores, they almost had to believe that they had the right thing. Which — they didnít have the opportunity to test it on many, many other cores, whereas today thatís possible. So, with CLIMAP we had a large number of cores that we were working with which then we could test all this stuff on it and see if it made sense. So that the development of a sort of a CLIMAP or ended up a successor program called SPECMAP was, you know, really developed a kind of what was called a SPECMAP time scale, which was based on this orbital tuning. A short one and long one, and that were based on using a lot of cores and detail correlations between them, and stacking them up, and looking at them, and hoping. Try and test, you know, as much as you could do. But, I mean, I think it got done pretty well actually. But because there was quite a lot of material by that time to work with so people could do it. But in the earlier days, I mean, the reason Emiliani had trouble, or even Imbrie — he tried to do this back in the, about 1960 and, oh maybe a little bit later. Iíve got the book here somewhere. Oh, it doesnít matter. But it was because there were so few cores, really. And you couldnít just say, oh yeah, I have it now, letís test it on all these others. Just wasnít enough material. So with the additional material, it made a lot of difference. And ones confidence in what one had done. So then CLIMAP came to an end, that was about a decade, the International Decade of Oceanographic Exploration was in fact, did go on more than a decade, but our CLIMAP program basically came to a halt in about 1980 or Ď81, I canít remember now exactly. Somewhere about that time. And I guess its major accomplishments, I think, were both the construction of this eighteen thousand year map, which has been a source of a lot of additional work since then. There are aspects of it now that are drawn into question, which probably should be. You know, it was a first attempt. But it was something that hasnít been duplicated partly because thereís not been developed a team to go out and do it over again. Nor has there probably been the encouragement of funding to do that kind of a thing. But still I think that eighteen K map was a very important contribution, and then I think the verification of the orbital theory was also important, very important, in terms of Ice Age studies. It doesnít solve the problem. I mean, thereís a lot of problem yet to be solved. We still donít really understand why it happens the way it does. All we can say is that that work and subsequent work have suggested that the timing of the glacial advances and retreats are paced by the orbital changes. So thatís why we use the term Pacemaker in that paper, because it isnít. Iím not saying itís the fundamental cause, but itís what triggers the advances and retreats and so forth. This Pacemaker. It affects the timing, but the amplitude of the changes, why the Ice Age is so big is not, or why itís bigger sometimes than at others, and all these. Oh, there are lots of things like that which we really donít understand. It has more probably to do with the response of the earth system to these triggering causes, and that is currently the subject of a lot of research, and people are still arguing and debating and trying to get at that answer. And thatís not been, thatís not been resolved.

Doel:

And we look at the astronomical theory, weíre looking at eccentricity, and precession and tilt, three very complicated factors that Milankovich and Croll had looked at. Your work and everyoneís work, itís quite amazing to me that this work that was done by CLIMAP reinforced to some degree what was calculated a very long ago without the benefit of the massive, on a scale relative to the turn of the century, the massive scale of scientific research.

Hays:

Yes. The, itís probably the oldest theory for the cause of the Ice Ages. Amazing. That it took so long for people to believe it. Because, you know, the fact that there were Ice Ages was first suggested by Louis Agassis and [Jean de] Charpentier and that story. And because they noticed that the glacial erratics were coming out of glacier tongues in the Swiss Alps, and then they found these erratics out in the Swiss Plains so Charpentier and, I guess, Agassis was the big champion, but they said, well, this must have all been covered with ice. And then Agassis came to this country for a position at Harvard [University], and found New England was covered with these boulders too, so there must have been ice here. And so the fact that these huge changes in climate were, you know, really startling. Agassis at some times had the ice going down practically to the Equator, but still, even where we now know it was, nevertheless, itís a remarkable change in climate for the planet. So there was a mathematician, French mathematician, by the name of [Joseph] Adhemer, who I believe was the first one to suggest that. And this, you see, Agassisí discovery or Charpentier and Agassisí discovery was in the 1840s, and I think within five or six years, Adhemer who was following in the footsteps of Laplosse and others who had been calculating orbital things — not the details of its effect on insulation — but Milankovich did. But he was able to see that these orbital changes would in fact change the distribution and seasonality of insulation and they might cause Ice Ages. So Adhemer suggested that Agassisí Ice Age was caused by this sort of thing. But it was arm waving in a sense. It turned out to be right. But, I mean, there was no way it could be demonstrated. Although Milankovich and some of those other people did try and tie his record to the record of tills and terraces and so forth, and [inaudible] and [Edouard] Bruckner were working on it in Switzerland. But it had to wait; it had to wait really for work on deep sea cores. Because the record on land is so discontinuous, and itís also so hard to date. The Carbon 14 didnít go back far enough. You need much longer [cores]. Thereís no accurate way to date these tills, not accurate enough. Plus the land record, because itís basically erosion, itís always got missing pieces. Whereas the marine record is basically depositional, so itís much more continual. Itís better for this. So it had to wait for that to happen. So itís just a matter of sort of where science is at any particular point.

Doel:

There have certainly been some classic debates on the Ice Ages going back to the eighteen hundreds. And I wonder if you recall the Emiliani and Ericson, this classic debate, and maybe what your thoughts on that were. And maybe you could give us the concept and idea of what the, how powerful that debate was and how much that affected things that were done in CLIMAP.

Hays:

Well, yes. I mean, I was a student at the time those debates were going on here.

Doel:

This was in the sixties.

Hays:

And I remember Emiliani coming and there was a lot of acrimony and so forth back and forth. And there the debate was based on a really — it was a stratigraphic debate in that Emiliani was using his Oxygen Isotope variations and Ericson was using the abundance of a species of foraminifera, globataliaminardia [?], in the Atlantic that kind of came and went. And so Ericson felt that his Ice Ages and Interglacialís could be indicated by this one species, whereas Emiliani said his ice top record was better. But Emiliani didnít have the right time scale. Nor did Ericson. Neither one of them had the right time scale. And they were measuring different things which turned out not to even have the same stratigraphy, although I suppose Emiliani was right or more right, certainly in suggesting that. Well, he also felt that the Oxygen Isotopes were telling him temperature. And Ericson also felt that his foraminifera were telling him temperatures. It turned out, I suppose, that Emiliani — it didnít make so much difference. That it wasnít temperature, that it was really most ice volume. But he was a firm believer, he was measuring temperature. And he hung onto that tenaciously. Which was somewhat of a — too bad for him to do that, but he did. But he did some wonderful, very, very wonderful early work. His paper in 1955 was a masterpiece, absolute masterpiece. And really set the stage for all of the — I think in many, almost of the subsequent work weíve done in deep sea cores. Even though Ericson wasnít using Oxygen Isotopes. Why the hell we werenít using them here I have no idea. Just absolutely seems absurd, but I was a student at the time, and I donít know why we never did it. But we didnít. So Ericson was doing his stuff. Eventually [Wallace S.] Broecker had a student called [Jan] Von Donk who did some — he set up a mass spectrometer and he did some work on it. It turned out to be a kind of unfortunate core in the Atlantic. It wasnít a very good core. And so he spent a lot of time doing a lot of work [Crosstalk].

Doel:

Jan Von Donk?

Hays:

Yes. Jan Von Donk. So I think that it was important. It was also important because I remember at one of these meetings, kind of a critical meeting, where all the people who were arguing about both stratigraphy and what the signals were telling them about ice and non-ice, came to a meeting in Lamont Hall. People from Scripps. John Imbrie came down from Brown. And a lot of arm waving and shouting and so forth went on at this meeting.

Doel:

As I recall this was about 1965 or so?

Hays:

Yes. Thatís right. It would have been Ď65. Oh youíve heard about this other places? Okay. Yes, it would have been. I had just gotten my degree. And I got my degree in Ď65. So this was probably in the summer or fall of Ď65, probably the fall of Ď65. And I went to that meeting and Imbrie came to that meeting and Ewing was there. Everybody was there. I mean not everybody, but most of the players were there at the time. And I think it was that meeting that made Imbrie say to himself, thereís got to be a better way of making these measurements. So he again went back and he worked on the estimated, ways of estimating temperature from the fossils. And I guess my feeling coming out of the meeting was that nobody, nobody was able to demonstrate that they had the right stratigraphy. I mean it was just, you know, mineís better than yours, but there was no way of knowing, no way of testing that. There was no kind of common standard that anybody had of interpreting stratigraphy. But stratigraphy at that level in deep sea cores was very young at that time. It really was very young. We didnít have a Pleistocene stratigraphy. We didnít. Thatís what they were struggling with. And so they needed a lot of work in both those areas. Particularly the stratigraphic areas.

Doel:

And as I recall, it was the work done with CLIMAP that actually did at signaling a clear line for Pleistocene time lines.

Hays:

Well, you mean the plio-pleistocene [?] boundary? No. We — that had really been done, I think, prior to CLIMAP. Thatís — the plio-pleistocene boundary was a thing that had been done, and the beginning of the — one of the first things that the development of paleomagnetics in deep sea sediments was, to try and settle that. And to see whether the boundaries that people had who were working in the Pacific were the same as the boundaries that people had who were working in the Atlantic. Because with the paleomagnetics stratigraphy you had an independent way of gauging that. And it turned out, maybe not surprisingly. It was a surprise to me. That in fact they werenít so far off. They were more or less in the same areas. Ericson was, he was way off. But many of the other peopleís criteria were close to the same. And that perhaps is not surprising. Because they did go back to type sections in Europe for some of their indicators. I mean, you know, within a few hundred thousand years. Which I thought was pretty good. It became much more precise with paleomagnetics. It became very precise. But at that point at least it was the right ball park.

Doel:

Do you remember the atmosphere of that debate?

Hays:

Oh yes. It was a lot, as I say; itís sort of a lot of shouting and raised voices and so forth. But, unfortunately, they didnít have anything more substantial to make their case. So it wasnít a — I think that also it was a little bit of people, I think, being pretty familiar with each otherís work in a general way, but not really familiar in the sense that they were doing the same thing themselves. It wasnít as if people were doing, you know, making Oxygen Isotope measurements here, and another person making Oxygen Isotope measurements there. It was somebody with Oxygen Isotopes, somebody with minardia, somebody with [?] in the Pacific, somebody with the radiolarian in the Pacific. And so they all had different things that they were using. And all swearing by them. And it turns out, Iíd say, with the exception of — well, Emiliani was. The Atlantic people were not, understandably I think, because the sedimentation rates are much faster in the Atlantic. So in order to get to the real boundary, you had to have cores that had gaps in them and all kinds of things to get there. And so, it wasnít so easy. Whereas in the Pacific, you could, in a normal piston core you could get down to the boundary and you could see the whole sequence. Whereas, you couldnít do that in the Atlantic. So, they were more, they had it better than the Atlantic workers like Emiliani.

Doel:

Was there much talk among grad students or others after that? The situation here at Columbia just relegate to the back seat when everybody else went on with their work.

Hays:

Yes. I donít remember that it had a — I think it was a stimulating meeting and it stimulated some people like Imbrie to go off and do some things. I donít think it; I donít have any recollection that it changed the way people thought about it. It was too inconclusive. Really was inconclusive. Nobody agreed. They just all disagreed. Maybe there was somebody that agreed. I mean, itís a long time ago. But my recollection is that they just all disagreed.

Doel:

They agreed to disagree and move on.

Hays:

Yes. And Ewing said, well we ought to do is going out and gets more cores. Which was kind of his thing anyway? So he said, I know where to go. Weíre going to go up and redo that line which was shot by somebody. And then somebody else had some other idea what theyíd do. Imbrie had his ideas. And so forth. And then unbeknownst to anybody, I guess, within a year or so, the paleomagnetics thing began to break. Maybe it was already breaking at that. I guess it may have been already. I canít remember now. There was a paper by [Christopher G. H.] Harrison and [Brian M.] Funnell using magnetic and radiolarian in a core in the Pacific. So I guess it was the first paper to do that. I canít remember the date of that. It could have been about that time, Ď65 or Ď66.

Doel:

Do you remember Ewingís — did Ewing have a position on this one way or the other that he expressed at all?

Hays:

No. No, no. He didnít. He just was there watching. And then contributed his solution to the problem which was to get more cores. Which sort of— he had something he could do? No, he didnít have a position.

Doel:

You mentioned something before when we were talking about the organization of CLIMAP that international — a number of five, six different nations, and many scientists. You had an overall structure to CLIMAP thatís part of an organizational or advisory committee. How were those people selected?

Hays:

Okay. The IDOE suggested to us that the name of this game was International Decade of Oceanographic Exploration, so we should try and include some foreign members and hopefully theyíd pay their way, you know, contribute in some way to this. So I thought we should go to, we should go to Europe and see what we could stir up. And I asked John [Imbrie] to go, and so we went. And we went to Kiel where we met Siebolt [inaudible], who was helpful and we got some people there who worked with us. We went to Denmark where Dansgart [?] — and that turned out not to bear much fruit. And then we went to East [Inaudible] where Lamm had his paleo-temperature center. And that ended up at least producing some meetings in Europe. Lamm was very eager to hold meetings. So we held meetings and brought Europeans into the meeting and held a meeting there. So that was pretty useful. So out of that did come — and then, of course, we, by that time Iím sure we had Shackleton involved. Iím not sure, actually I canít be sure. I donít remember exactly when that trip was. But Shackleton did become an English correspondent. ]

Doel:

Well, before the tape went off, you mentioned that you did have some representatives from Germany.

Hays:

Yes, Germany and — go ahead.

Doel:

I was wondering what didnít pan out in Denmark. Was it just not interesting?

Hays:

Oh, yes. Dansgart was working on ice cores, and we werenít working on ice cores. And he wasnít that eager to share his data with us, which we were sort of eager to look at. And so we didnít end up having any common ground there. So it didnít materialize. We werenít working on ice cores. And he was. And that was his primary interest and he really wasnít so interested in sediments. So he wasnít too interested in our data, and he was not so interested in giving us his data. So thatís sort of where that kind of stopped. But that was not true, Shackleton was just the opposite. Shackleton was eager to see our data. Quite happy to share everything he did with us, which he did. So he was a wonderful corresponding member. I mean, he was a big, big addition to the team. Shackleton was very important to us, to have him as a participant. I mean, he was a pioneer in the development of the mass spectrometer. He did {inaudible] to do these measurements of the oxygen isotope ratios in the shells of foraminiferaís. He had more accuracy and more precision than any other mass spectrometer. In fact, the commercial people were hounding him for his design and so forth. But he made this machine himself, and it was the best, I think at the time that was available. Plus he was a very smart fellow and he was very shrewd and always what he had to say was always worth listening to. And he was unusually attuned to the importance of stratigraphy and that kind of thing, in what we were doing and what he was doing. He majored in physics. His father was a geologist so he had some kind of geological genes. But he understood better than many people do the importance of these stratigraphic relationships and getting all this stuff right in order to believe what youíre saying about the rest of the signal that youíre measuring. And he was very — he recognized the importance of contributions in that area. So he was very interested in making contributions that would help promote work through that avenue, which was very helpful to us. And so he was, yes, he was very important. Most important of our corresponding members by far. I mean, he was really more than a corresponding member. He was really working intimately with us. I mean, I think during CLIMAP, he was working mostly on CLIMAP stuff, during those years. So. And quite happy to do it, quite happy to do a lot of service work for other people which was very important to us. He was quite willing to do that. You know, make measurements for stratigraphic purposes. You know, you want to know where the eighteen K level is in the cores. Itís kind of a mundane thing scientifically, but very important in the overall project. He was quite willing to do that sort of thing for us and. he did. So he made measurements on many, many cores for us in his laboratory.

Doel:

Were there debates within the group as to which course or direction one way or the other? Can you remember anything?

Hays:

No, it was a very harmonious group. Very harmonious. We swapped off leadership positions during the course of it. I started, and then John Imbrie took it over for a year or two. Then Andy [Andrew] MacIntyre had it for a year or two. Then somebody else I guess I took it for another year after that. And then some of the younger people took over the leadership. The older people always had certain authority that just went with their age, as opposed to the students who came up through the project and continued with it. But it was very harmonious. We had no — in fact, at the beginning I thought it was pretty important that there be a criteria for people being part of the project. If weíre going to have a team effort like this, we better be careful to have people who will be willing to work with others and contribute to a common cause, not to rip everybody else off. So there was a time — probably shouldnít say this — but there was a time when [Cesare] Emiliani was very interested in getting IDOE funding. And I sort of thought he wanted to join us. Which I wasnít happy about. I remember going to Florida to talk to him about it. And was quite happy to learn that he really didnít want to at all. He really just wanted his own money to do his own thing. This was fine as far as I was concerned that would be okay. He would not have been very good in that. A good scientist in many ways, but in a personality he would not have been one that fitted in to this kind of an effort very well. So we were, we were somewhat careful about that. And we, I donít think we ever bounced many people. I mean, we may have — once maybe, there was somebody who left, but because we didnít want to continue their support. But I think there might have been just one. So that wasnít much of that. But we did, we did consider that as a part of — It wasnít just chance that everybody worked well together. It was with people we thought we could work well together with.

Doel:

And for those who werenít, who did not continue on with the project, was it less their scientific aptitude as opposed to just not blending in with the group? Or was it inability to see the bigger picture?

Hays:

Probably all of those in various ways. Actually there was more than one now that I think about it. There were several. But, you know, it turned out that people who didnít blend in very well into this kind of thing, werenít particularly happy in it either. Because they felt sort of at odds. I mean, they didnít agree with what we were doing, or agree with the way we were trying to do it. Or they wanted something else. And so they were a little bit, they were not too comfortable. So I think they were kind of happy in some ways to not be part of it. The original philosophy I had was that the only way to hold the group together, because that was what was the concern at first, was to just create something that people would feel was scientifically much more advantageous to belong to then to not belong to. You know, that would be the draw. Not funding. You canít have it funding because everybody wants funding. But they have to feel that the project was a scientific advantage to them personally. And the overall goal for the project and their participation in it — theyíd be better off as scientists as part of that than they would be if they were outside of it. And I think it did work for many that way. I think they did feel that they were better off in it than out of it. People have to speak for themselves. But my impression is that -Ė

Doel:

And you raise an interesting question. I wonder if there were individuals that you wanted to be part of the project that you actually went out and recruited.

Hays:

Yes. We did. We certainly recruited George Denton and Terry Hughes. Nick Shackleton would certainly not have been a recruit, although eager to participate. I mean, it wasnít as if any arms had to be twisted with Nick. He was more than happy to be part of it. Certainly Ted Moore and Ross Heath, likewise, were happy to be, happy to come in. Yes, I think itís sort of like with Dansgart, it didnít work. If we could have found some common ground or something that we could do together. But it just didnít happen. So thatís sort of the way it works I guess.

Doel:

One thing that strikes me about Lamont early on is the willingness of faculty and researchers to take on graduate students, not just in an advisory role, but to actually bring them into the research, the cutting edge research. And CLIMAP had a number of faculty members, scientists who brought their graduate students from the cutting edge of this research. Was that by design, by necessity?

Hays:

Oh it was by necessity because I felt early on that these graduate students, if they come in, they must have their own project that will turn into their own thesis. They canít just be a cog in the wheel and just work like technicians. They have to have their own. But since we had this big mapping project, plus the time series, if we gave people parts of the ocean, those could be their parts of the ocean that theyíre responsible for and you can get a thesis out of — but what they do there contributes to the patchwork quilt that we were trying to sew together. And so that worked. And so the graduate students at Brown [University] and our graduate students all had, had pieces of the ocean that they did. Fortunately, you see, it was the Ewing legacy that we had all these cores. Couldnít possibly have done it if you didnít have this huge core collection, which at that time was reaching its peak. I mean, itís grown some, but not as fast as it was growing at that time. So we had this huge collection of cores that we could do. And they were, just because they took them the way that he asked that they take them, was why we had it. I mean, it was his philosophy was that the — well, you probably know this — but he and I think this was really sensible. Different scientists had different interests in going to sea. Some were seismologists, some were studying gravity or magnetics or cores or whatever, and Ewing felt that the cost of the ship was fixed. And so the maximum amount could be gotten from the ship if itís doing more things while itís out there. So you might go out to sea and be interested in magnetics, but that didnít matter, you had to take a core every day whether you liked to or not. That was part of the routine. Plus you had to drag behind the ship not only a magnetometer, but a gravimeter and take seismic measurements and do seismic refraction, and take cores and maybe even take hydrographic stations. So thatís just what happened when you went to sea. So they took a core every day. Some people were so disinterested in terms of where they took the core that it would just be twelve noon, you know, theyíd take a core at twelve noon whether — Others had a little more interest and would look at the depth recorder and make sure there was some sediment down there or something, you know, that would, might be interesting or to have. Many didnít care. Just drop a core at tea time. Or, noon or something like that. So as a consequence, we had this random selection of cores, ten thousand of them, all over the ocean, everywhere, which was perfect. If theyíd all been interesting in dropping them on ridges or margins, we would have, we wouldnít have been able to do it at all. Because theyíre all the over the place, we had this, we could do it.

Doel:

Iím wondering what the relationship was with Woods Hole [Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution], Scripps [Scripps Institution of Oceanography]?

Hays:

And CLIMAP?

Doel:

Yes.

Hays:

Well, Woods Hole at that time didnít have much in the way of a deep sea sediment program. They really werenít doing that. So they werenít there. Scripps was. They did have people, but they had people who were these stratigraphers who were pretty good, like Bill Wheedle and so forth. But he was definitely not interested in using radiolarian to estimate temperatures and that sort of thing. He was interested in stratigraphy and possibly evolution. And those were the things he was interested in and he wasnít going to change that.

Doel:

So their involvement in terms of perhaps either contact with you or someone or someone within the system, or in the project?

Hays:

Never happened.

Doel:

Never happened?

Hays:

No.

Doel:

Interesting. Thatís an interesting point.

Hays:

Now there may have been people who felt left out. I think there were. I didnít know about it at the time. But I think there were. Not so much at Scripps, but maybe at USC [University of Southern California] and some other places. And — but I donít think they let it be known in a very loud voice. I donít remember. So — but I think it did happen.

Doel:

Well, weíve gone beyond our time that we had allotted. So I will at this point end the interview and thank you very much.

Hays:

Okay.

Session I | Session II | Session III