Notice: We are in the process of migrating Oral History Interview metadata to this new version of our website.
During this migration, the following fields associated with interviews may be incomplete: Institutions, Additional Persons, and Subjects. Our Browse Subjects feature is also affected by this migration.
Please contact [email protected] with any feedback.
This transcript may not be quoted, reproduced or redistributed in whole or in part by any means except with the written permission of the American Institute of Physics.
This transcript is based on a tape-recorded interview deposited at the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics. The AIP's interviews have generally been transcribed from tape, edited by the interviewer for clarity, and then further edited by the interviewee. If this interview is important to you, you should consult earlier versions of the transcript or listen to the original tape. For many interviews, the AIP retains substantial files with further information about the interviewee and the interview itself. Please contact us for information about accessing these materials.
Please bear in mind that: 1) This material is a transcript of the spoken word rather than a literary product; 2) An interview must be read with the awareness that different people's memories about an event will often differ, and that memories can change with time for many reasons including subsequent experiences, interactions with others, and one's feelings about an event. Disclaimer: This transcript was scanned from a typescript, introducing occasional spelling errors. The original typescript is available.
In footnotes or endnotes please cite AIP interviews like this:
Interview of Cesare Emiliani and Donald R. Moore by Jean Yehle on 1990 March 29,Niels Bohr Library & Archives, American Institute of Physics,College Park, MD USA,www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories/32405
For multiple citations, "AIP" is the preferred abbreviation for the location.
In this interview, Cesare Emiliani and Don Moore discuss their careers and the history of the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Topics discussed include: deep sea drilling project; Fritz Koczy; F.G. Walton Smith; Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; Bob Ginsburg; W. Drost-Hansen; Warren Scriver Wooster; Gil Voss; Shell Development Company; Gordon Gunter; Gulf Coast Research Laboratory; Ed Hoffmeister.
…by Jean Yehle. Prior to an interview at the Rosenstiel School with Cesare Emiliani and Don Moore.
…making him be kind to, what’s his name?
Steve Clark. He’s sitting right there.
You know him? We don’t get along.
You are going to?
Is it really Steve Clark?
Yeah. [All toast cheers]
Let me tell you what I’m trying to do. I have a pretty good manuscript that Dr. Smith himself wrote in that year when he was still employed by the Rosenstiel School, but Wooster had already come. And that was submitted to the University for its history. And, of course, they only used about a third of it. So.
It was submitted to whom?
Uh, to Carlton Tibbeaux (?), who was writing the history.
Oh, oh, oh.
Or Charlton, is it?
And he compressed it and did a very good job with it, but, you know, I have Smith’s original. So, I’m embroidering on that, and that covers administrative, and his problems with the University, and all the problems with the Earth and Planetary Sciences, and all of that.
Now, you see and realize one thing, that Tibbeaux is a glorification of the [???] and not the real story.
No, I have Smith’s —
I want the real story.
[laughter] I have Smith’s side of it. What I want to get is not only just the stories about the school, but —
Not stories, the stories.
The true story.
And I have a lot of things that I’ve collected, your tribute to Smith, which told about bringing Coche to Miami. But what I want to do is trace some of the most significant research. Because we fortunately in the annual report summarized every year what we were doing. And in hindsight you can really see what a tremendous influence you and a lot of people at the school had in how things turned out. In the early work of Benati (?) and Onnaray, you can see them reaching, you know, for how certain rocks formed, opalites (?), or opalitic formations. And then it wasn’t such a surprise that hot water vents were found. I would guess that a lot of our work led people to know where to look for those.
So that’s what I’m trying to do. And, of course —
What is — are you planning to — this would be a book?
This will be a, like a final report.
Why not a book?
Because I don’t think there’s a big audience. A final report, in soft cover form, that Don can publish for me or print for me, and we can publish at the school, and we can give out at the fiftieth anniversary, which is coming up.
When is the fiftieth anniversary?
February 1, 1993. I’d like to have this book ready by 1992.
I thought it was in ‘42 when Urich (?) got the lab. Officially, not ‘43.
They actually wrote the charter, and made it a separate entity on February 1, 1943. But I’d like the book to come out in the fall of forty-two.
That was when I was in the Italian army fighting tooth and nail against imperialistic, Judeo, bureaucratic countries. [laughter]
So, that’s what I want to do. I want to go back over how the deep sea-drilling project formed. It was your idea.
You’re damn right it was my idea. But listen, child, is the story of Chris Coche clear to you?
Oh, all right. Let’s go back to Fritz Coche’s story. You want to hear Fritz Coche’s story?
Yes I do.
Okay. Fritz Coche’s story began actually, in, I think in before I came to University of Miami, when I was in Chicago. And I was working in Urich’s laboratory, at University of Chicago. And I noticed in leafing through the bibliography in the Oceans, there was no Italian mentioned there, except the guy named Botochelli (?). There were hundreds of oceanographers, but not a single Italian. So, how come the countries that invented oceanography, Udeo Marcilli, the first marine geologist, that did coring the wrong delta back in the eighteenth century from the University of [???], how come — and he wrote the first book on marine geology, which is published in French. And in fact, Bob Dietz (?) wanted me to translate it into English. I still have a copy of the original manuscript, which I never did translate into English. So how come there are no Italians? So, I wrote a letter to the Department of Education and it would say something, “You should send up a nascent book for marine science, and oceanography in Italy, because no Italian oceanographer. So you should go to Sweden and talk to Hans Paterson and see if you can get one of those people to direct the [???]. So I called and talked to Hans Paterson, and he told me he had a really good man named Fritz Coche, that would do very well to direct such an institute in Italy. But of course, Italians at the time didn’t dream to have a known Italian to be in charge of an institution [laughter].
I can understand that.
That would not possibly be done. So there never came anything out of that. And so, some years later, when I came down here, I remembered that. And Smith said, “Well, the first thing we need to do is to expand the physical sciences.” So, I said, “Well, how do we do that?” “Well, very simple. You write the proposal to the Office of Naval Research or the National Science Foundation. Include one physical oceanographer. You put the salary. You put the grant. And we hire him.” So, I said, “Well, you mean I can hire anybody? A full professor or anything?” And I was only associate professor. He said, “Oh, yeah.” So I said, “Would you give him tenure?” He said, “Oh yeah.” Said, “But don’t you have to go through with dean.” Said, “Well…” it’s exact quote, “the dean will approve immediately or after one irate phone call.” So I went down and talked to Doren Foust, who was dean of faculty, and I asked him, “What is this I hear that you are hiring people, faculty on federal funds and give them tenure?” He said, “We give tenure to anybody who agrees to stay.” Then he added, “We don’t have any money, anyway.” So I thought this was paradise. You know, we could hire faculty without going through any red tape or things. And so, I remembered Fritz Coche. So I said to Smith — he wanted to hire Jean LaFont (?), wave and tide man who’s with Scripps. I said, “No, you should hire an Austrian geo-chemist instead, or radial chemist.” And Smith was real elastic in his judgement. So he saw immediately it was a very good opportunity, because Fritz had participated in the only major post-World War II oceanographic expedition, that is the expedition Hans Patersen had organized. But you know, I wanted to be sure about Fritz. So I went to Europe, and I called up Hans Patersen, and we met in Monaco, at some bar or café — it’s all the same down there. And I wanted to find out if Fritz as a person. I knew him as a scientist. I don’t know anything about his person. If he would be such a person fit to lead the group. Because, in a small place like a marine lab, at that time only three or four people. You get somebody who is an asshole, you know, then you spoil the whole thing. If it is in a big place like Lamont, if you are one asshole, who cares. So, well, it turns out that Paterson was very, you know, clear that Fritz was a very excellent man. That’s how we got Fritz. So, Smith called up Himal Eli (?) and got some additional references, convinced himself it was a good purchase. So Fritz came down. And he thought that Miami was like [???] rock, you know. And then he found himself in Anastasia (?) building, sharing a non-air-conditioned office with Anita Feinstein, and termite-infested desk. [laughter] And so he was ready to go back to Sweden. But his wife fell in love with the [???]. And that’s it. So, he got stuck, because Boomer wouldn’t go back to Sweden.
Well, what year was that when he came?
That was — officially — see, all this happened before I came here. So, I came here for a visit in ‘56, in the summer of ‘56. And I thought this place was just too much.
You were a visiting scientist then?
No, I just— Smith— because see, Ginsberg had come down here as a student assistant.
From University of Chicago?
From University of Chicago.
Which is where you were.
That’s where all the exciting things were happening.
When he graduated in Chicago, and he was doing his fieldwork here, he asked Smith for a job. And Smith said, “I don’t have any money.” So he went to work for Shell. And a couple of years later, he told him that I was looking for a job in Chicago and could he invite me down here to Miami. So I came down here and absolutely — I found this place could not be left alone. It was just too much. I mean, there was just a huge academic vacuum to be filled.
And all this opportunity.
Yeah. But as you see, I didn’t know anything about the opportunity. What happened was, the spending went up six months later. And that what is made it easy. Is not anybody, not me, not Fritz. Everybody else was in Russia. The Russian navy, first with Sputnik, and two years later the Monosub, the big huge research ship docked in New York for the second International Oceanographic Congress. At the time, we all thought the Russians would be riding herds in the steps. And they are invading the ocean with brand new ships bigger than ours. And that was —
That scared everybody.
Scared everybody. So Washington, when Washington is scared, they print money. So I’m here holding a big bag and here’s money comes in floating, cascading down. And then of course, Castro’s in Cuba, so we must have a strong representation. So it was a series of extenuating coincidences that made possible these very rapid developments. Plus the fact that Fritz was just the right person. He knew everybody. Was a well-respected scientist. He liked to be hobnobbing around with administrators, and I certainly had exactly the opposite personality, because…
Yes, you have.
You know, I think that the very administrator is, by definition, an idiot. I haven’t found any exceptions yet. Smith is an exception, but Smith was not an administrator.
Basically, no. He was not.
Smith was an academic buccaneer. That’s what he was. So that’s how Fritz got here.
You started in ‘54?
No, I started in ‘57.
January 1, ‘57. That was — well, when I came down here in ‘56, and then I went up and saw, at the same time, shortly after, I went up to Europe and saw — oh, I think I went up to Europe first, I forgot. It was the summer ‘56 I went to Europe and saw Paterson. Came down here and saw Smith, and I saw Smith twice. I came here on two visits. And the second visit that’s where I sold Fritz to Smith. And we both came in, officially, at exactly the same time, January 1, 1957. And Smith right away made these three divisions, officially with Ferrat, Idol, and Hillary Moore for marine biologist and Fritz for physical sciences. And so Fritz developed the whole field of physical science originally.
And actually —
And a bunch of people were still here.
We were taking advantage of the brain drain, too, weren’t we? We got an awful lot of very good European scientists.
Well, we got them — well, you got to be honest about that. Let me tell you, first of all, how we got Chris. Chris is floating around Washington. And in a meeting, and so I saw him there. Well actually, before that he had written one paper in nature in which he had found a magnetic reversal on the sea floor. And I thought it would be impossible, because of the work in bi-marine animals. And so I called him up and said, “How come you have a magnetic reversal?” So he said, “I don’t know. Talk to my co-author, which is Flamellan England.” So I called up Flamellan England and he said, “I don’t know. Talk to Chris Harrison.” [laughter] So I was in Washington and there’s Chris. Of course, at that time West Miami is still a non-entity academically.
To some people.
So, I said, “I would be glad of you to come down to Miami and develop research in magnetic reversal on the ocean floor using deep sea sediment.” He said, “Yes, I would come.” I thought I was dreaming. How anybody would come to the University of Miami. But he was at Scripps at the time. So he came down. But before he came down, I set up his entire laboratory. With a guy named Corchoran (?). Corrigan (?), Corrigan.
Oh, Corrigan. Not Corchoran.
I remember Corrigan.
But by this time, Corchoran was there, too.
Yeah, Corchoran was there. So, Corrigan, I sent him up to Lamont to talk to Bruce Season (?) about this equipment they had out there.
And at that time, he’s in Antharper doing [???]?
No, he’s at — I mean, Harrison was at Scripps. So I set up his entire laboratory before he came down with Corrigan, went up to Lamont. And Bruce Season grabbed the idea right away, and Updike, and they started running with it a hundred miles an hour. Because until that time, they were doing odivision (?) rocks or some paleozoic rocks. As soon as they heard that I wanted to go into sediments, they started doing that. And so Chris came here, and didn’t do one thing. He never did one thing. He actually ran one core once after great much insistence without doing anything. So, the whole discoveries were made by Lamont. Which, if Chris had instead put his mind to work on that area, it would be a big shock today. And he already refused to deal with sediments. After he was the one to do the first discovery. He just didn’t follow up, in spite of the fact that he had a laboratory and technician and everything going. So, anyway, that was lost to Miami and became a Lamont affair. David Fisher got here because I wanted to get somebody Italian, and I called up Jerry Wassenberg (?), and said, “There are two guys, and 1 is David Fisher.” So he said, “Well, David Fisher is a lot smarter.” So we got David Fisher here. Let’s see. I sort of left Benati. I got a phone call from Marinio saying, “We have a smart Italian here. You must get him to Miami.” [laughter] So that’s how we got Benati.
How about Bolstrom (?)?
Bolstrom, that’s Fritz. Fritz found Bolstrom. I did not know about Bolstrom. Fritz found Bolstrom, but I found Benati.
How about Ball(?)?
Yeah, Bolstrom was at Scripps.
Oh, he was at Scripps.
Benati, Harrison, and Fisher. Now, Ball came in because it was recommended to me by Jean Shenk (?). No, by Bob Ginsberg.
By Bob Ginsberg. And Bob Ginsberg said, “Ah, he’s doing geo-physics.” And I said, “I thought he was doing sediment.” “Nah, he’s doing geo-physics.” “Okay, well fine. We’re getting Ball here.” So they got Ball down here. I forgot how we got DiBurdash (?).
I remember him. How about Paul Antel?
Paul Antel was a Fritz discovery. He discovered Fritz discovered Paul Antel and brought him down here. [???] up Paul Antel, this guy from Sweden Unzitolo Agerte Ostrom (?), that was discovered by Fritz. These were all brought in by Fritz —
Fritz was interested, then, in geo-chemistry and —
No, it’s not a matter if we’re interested. Oh, we are all interested in the same thing, but, I mean, it just happened and I had, you know, I was the one that found about Fritz and Harrison. But Fritz was the one who discovered about these other ones. So, by the time — when Fritz died, we had a division of — well actually, we’d had the division of physical science. Okay? So, when he died, then Smith set up this committee which included myself, Scott Steinberg.
Yes, I remember him.
It included Drost Hanson (?), and must have had somebody else. Well, Drost had become interim chairman of the Division of Physical Science and Fritz went to Hawaii. Because Drost Hanson said, “I’ve got to work with this replacement from you, Fritz. So I like to choose it myself.” So Fritz said, “Alright, go ahead.” So I choose Drost Hansen. So Drost became — he represented Fritz’s chairman of the division while Fritz was in Hawaii. So when Fritz died there, then Drost for physical sciences and Steinberg for physical. I guess I wasn’t in the committee. That’s all right. Anyway, there was a committee set up to find a replacement for Fritz. No, I think I was on the committee. And we looked all over the place and we couldn’t find any more of these type of scientists that would understand biology as well as geology as well as chemistry as well as physics as well as everything else. Fritz was really very broad. Thank goodness. And besides being very good with dealing with agencies and politics and what not. So it was just an impossible task. So we decided — we recommended to Smith to split the division. And hand over the division of physical and chemical oceanography, and Drost remain chairman of that. Engineering was always a separate division. Or no it wasn’t. It was made into a separate division by Steinberg. And marine geological physics was made a separate division with me in charge. And that was activated shortly after Fritz died. And then physical oceanography became stripped into physical and chemical oceanography. And Drost remained chairman of chemical and Walter Dewing take over the physical.
Okay, that was the sequence of events.
Well, how did you — you did your first isotopic analysis, oxygen isotopic analysis then, when you were in Chicago…
I did all my work, yeah, I did a lot of work in Chicago and I continued it here. And building up a master terometer (?) here at the time was like building one in Zambia today. Or much worse actually. Much, much worse.
Somebody else has said that as well, that you couldn’t get a vacuum tube or anything.
No, you have to go to the Seven Eleven to check out a vacuum tube. No kidding.
And if it didn’t fit a television set, forget it. But you were interested in taking cores. And coring —
That’s the reason I came down here, because there were ships. We didn’t have any ships in Chicago. You know?
And so, I came down here because we had ships and opportunity to take my own cores and not to have to rely on other people’s cores. So that was real pioneering.
And these were piston cores.
So you set up a program called Submar X?
Yeah. Then I got the idea that we should go into drilling. Because we couldn’t get any core longer than twenty meters.
Mm hmm [yes]. Well sometime around here there was a Moho project that never quite got off the ground.
And that is all summarized in this article on mine in volume seven of Oceanic Lithosphere, which you have in your libraries here. They’re all even — the names of the people in the committees at lunch, their idea in some report. It’s all listed there.
Volume seven of the Oceanic Lithosphere. It’s called the Oceanic Lithosphere. Do you know the seal (?) that’s called the sea?
Yeah. It’s part of that.
And the article is by you?
I’m sure someone has written a summary of the deep sea-drilling project.
Yeah, two or three. One by Fernando. I think I quote it in that publication.
Mm hmm [yes].
Yeah, there’s, “Hole in the Bottom of the Sea.” Who wrote that? Monk?
Bascomb. That was on the first phase of Mohole(?).
Uh huh [yes]. “Hole in the Bottom of the Sea.”
You see, what happened, that the scientist, basically Walter Monk, decided to go to mantle. And so they launched this big project. I was against it from the beginning because I felt it would be technically almost impossible, and it would be extremely expensive. But the basic difficulty, the basic problem I had, that one sample from the mantle might be very misleading. Unless you drill a series of holes down to the mantle. And that would cost — and that would be totally impossible. So it would be better not to be done, because you may end up, as I have already explained to you… You would end up with something. I do not know if it is representative. So it actually would be useless.
And very expensive.
Or worse than useless, it could be very misleading. I’ll give you an example. Suppose the Earth is absolutely covered with cards, and spaceship comes in and sends out a grab probe and comes back with a beer can. And goes to another planet and said, “Well, the Earth is made out of beer cans.” Nothing wrong with that, right?
No, that’s partly true, but misleading.
So, I started the notion to forget about that just to send Mangoni (?). Well, it was a tremendous flap because there were some people like Paulie Setberg (?) and others, and Ewing (?), that wanted to take it away from us, from Miami. And so there was a bit battle, and they don’t document it in that article. And then it ended up by [???] going to Scripps. But I only had to function at that time, then I ran the Submar X expedition. Which finally applied a pleistocene bonding in the Caribbean, by the way, accidentally.
And out of that came your theories about and work on climate and the —
Oh yeah, but that is work that I started in Chicago and continued here.
Mm hmm [yes]. As a matter of fact, that’s been your major work all along. Yeah.
You’ve gotten quite a few honors lately.
Yeah. There’s nobody believed in it. I didn’t understand chemistry, the physics, or the geology. So the entire profession absolutely didn’t believe that the work that I was doing had any meaning whatsoever for the ice ages. And I, frankly, didn’t give a shit whether they believed it or not. Not sitting there moaning and droning, “Nobody believes it.” I had a perfectly good time. Going to sea, getting more cores, doing more analysis. Then, all of a sudden, twenty years later, the ones that did not believe in it, especially the Lamont people, are the ones that actually found out that I was right to begin with. Not that people have any doubt, but that’s what happened.
Well, most recently there’s been an award for you. I remember.
He got the Vega medal from Sweden. And the Agassi medal from here. Or was it the…
…that I discovered the other day in the library, in the bookstore. A new book just came out. It’s called Concise Dictionary of Scientists, published by Cambridge University Press. And they list 1000 scientists from Greek times to today. And I’m in there, just before Empedocles (?). Do you know who Empedocles is?
Well, I’m sure he’s ancient and he’s Greek.
You are right. And he actually was Italian because he was from Agliagento (?) which is in Sicily. But we call him Greek because that was a Greek city. So anyway, that’s all fun. The only matter is that the work I did on deep sea cores that clarified, I would say revolutionized actually, the older notion there had been only four ice ages, including one with a very big, huge interglacial in between.
Mm hmm [yes]. That’s the way I was taught.
The whole story was phony, but nobody knew it, because the people that built that story were built on studies from the Alps. And they certainly did their best. But the field situation is almost impossible to work with. However, the people who did their work were two Germans, Frank and Bruchner (?). They published a giant work in two volumes back in 1909, over a thousand pages all in German. Of course nobody ever read it, but because it was German and a thousand pages, it must be right. They concluded that there had been four ice ages. So all the other geologists of the world squeezed their evidence into these four ice ages. Until this work with deep-sea cores. And then when Smith retired, here comes Wooster. With Smith, I never had a disagreement with Smith except in one area. He didn’t want to have anybody with science on Main campus. So when he retired, I started with my new science on Main campus. And even Wooster, he didn’t want to have anything to do with Main campus. Zero. He upgraded all the costs from 500 to 600 dollars to keep Main campus students out. And he didn’t want to have anything to do with me. He threw me out. Actually, shall we say, he wanted to split the division from within the [???]. Which, you see the division was administratively totally separate from their [???]. [???] was chairman of both.
Oh, the department on Main campus.
Yeah. Two PhDs, two chairmanships.
Right. So I opted to move there.
Well, I’d like to go back a little bit with Don a minute, and ask you were a student back in the Anastasia building days, right?
I first met Smith, I think it was the spring of ‘48. And I had a specimen of a rare, at least in these waters, panularis, you know, crawfish, as we call them, panularis lebacada (?), which is moderately common off Brazil, but seldom seen here. So Smith looked at it and he said, “Well, take it back to the grad student back there in the museum part” (this was before Anastasia; it was a little, low, narrow building) “and give it to him.” So I went back there and this guy’s name was Fundenberg (?). A great name. And so he looks at it and he says, “Just a moment.” He disappeared back in the stacks, and came back after a couple of minutes, and said, “No, we have one.” And years later, Chuck Dawson, who did the work on the crawfish project, said, “We’ve got over 19,000 panularis, only one was lebacada. And that bastard Fundenberg said [laughter]…
[laughter] They already had one.
That was the only one out of 19,000. So, yeah, Gil Voss and I decided to come to University of Miami in summer of ‘48.
You know, they are cousins?
Oh, I’d forgotten that. Yes I did know that originally, yeah.
Right. Yeah, I was working as a lifeguard at the time, and I had been on two or three marine expeditions, private, where we’d go out and dredge, stuff like that. And so we came down here in the summer of ‘48. And then, since we had absolutely no support, why, we went back to work, me as a lifeguard. Gil I think was working as a bouncer for the Lake Shore Club, which is a very excellent night — gambling club.
On Miami Beach somewhere?
No, not on Miami Beach. Up in Palm Beach, but not in Palm Beach. It was down at Hypoluxo, and just a short distance north of where Gil lived. And so he worked there and made more money, and I went back to work for the town of Palm Beach as a lifeguard, saved my money. And then we came back down in the summer of ‘49. And I got a chance to go on another one of these little expeditions. And I dropped out, I think in the second summer session. And went off, and we went dredging in fairly deep water, 500 fathoms or so, off Casal Bank. And so I sort of came and went. And so it wasn’t until the spring of ‘54 that I got my bachelor’s degree.
But you maintained your interest through all of that.
Oh, of course. Well, if I dropped out, it was to go back to work to get some more money. And in the meantime, why, I collected specimen of the first octopus that Gil described. He was a little better off than I was. So he stayed in. And it was during this period that Gil and I were living together near the Green Dragon on Legion Road.
Don, in this day and age, you should not say “living together” since this is being recorded. You were sharing a flat.” [laughter]
All right, sharing a flat.
Well, they’re cousins, after all.
Well, have you ever heard of incest? Don’t knock it until you try.
Well, anyway, Smith used to give a Christmas party at that time. There weren’t many people at the lab. And, well, Gil and I were both students, and Smith gave Gil, since he had so much knowledge of alcohol, the —
Oh, he was even then an appreciator of wines and things like that? He was a great wine buff when I knew him.
Well, more beer and rum in those days. Anyway, Gil had the job of buying the ingredients and putting them together for the eggnog. And so he got the recipe backwards. So he bought 6 bottles of bourbon, 1 bottle of brandy, and 1 quart of eggnog mix.
Oh my Lord.
And we poured this into a big bowl. So it was a brown fluid with white flecks floating in it. And Gil said, “Look, Don. That doesn’t look right.” And I said, “I agree.” So, I went out and got two more quarts of eggnog mix.
Uh huh [yes]. At least it was the right color.
Yeah. We poured them in. It improved it slightly. So we had two groups. One group that kept eyeing it and backing away. And the other group that kept walking up and pouring more and drinking it, because it was almost straight bourbon. And that was quite a famous party.
I guess so.
That was at Smith’s house?
No, no. That was at the lab on north campus.
And so came our tradition for Christmas parties.
Remember the Christmas parties in Corchran’s lab?
Oh, I certainly do.
I remember he landed in jail.
Drinking ethanol and God knows what else.
Well, that was the party that security guards came up, and they said, “What’s all the noise?” There was so much noise from the few people who were there that they thought something was going on.
And something was.
It sure was. They were busy downing this strange fluid. I’m not sure if it was that time, but it might have been, that Engle was found the next morning — You see, the tennis courts near by had a screen fence around them. And he was on the outside of the screen saying, “Let me out. Let me out.” Somebody had to come and lead him away. He thought he was trapped —
He really was bombed.
Mmm. Well in those days, at five o’clock Smith would ring a bell, and shout, “Beer call,” and he’d get a few people like — usually it was Gill Voss and me at that time.
And this was, what, about 1954? ‘53, ‘54?
No, this was around fifty, fifty-one, fifty-two, along in there.
Mm hmm [yes]. Was Hillary Moore on deck by that time?
Hillary use to come down… I think he started with a lab in ‘49, something like that. Hillary Moore and our physiologist…
I think, Charles Lane.
Charles Lane, right.
They came about the same time.
Well, Charles Lane by that time had done a great deal of work for the Borden Company on vitamin A. So he must have been independently wealthy.
I don’t know if he was or not, but I think he was up at Stuart, because all these sharks were brought into Solerno. Solerno was a fishing village.
Just south of Naples?
Right. It got a good fishing village name. Let’s see. Oh, I had various adventures while at the lab. I hadn’t had a desk more than two days when I looked up and there was Chuck Dawson and one or two other people standing near. They needed another warm body to go out to sea. So that was my first cruise towing the Geek across the Gulf Stream and back.
What was the Geek?
Oh, that was an instrument for measuring a gulf stream. Geostrophic — oh, I forget the full name of the instrument.
And whose work was that?
Oh, it was?
Because later on I remember, I can’t remember his name now but Cesare surely will, a man who did a lot of gulf stream work before Dewing came, and then later went to Nova, and was lost at sea.
Oh yeah, Richardson.
Yeah, he drowned at sea off Maine. Yeah.
This was many years later.
Well he developed instrumentation, didn’t he, for moored buoys and things like that for the gulf stream?
I don’t really know what he developed.
And when did Shan Newscomb (?) appear?
He would know.
We had the whole story of Shan Newscomb, because Herman Cladian at Scripps wanted to write his obituary. I don’t know whether I have now.
You have a copy of it, I hope.
I have to find it if I do. Otherwise I have to get a copy back from — That’s an important…
He was a remarkable addition to the lab.
Oh, he was.
He had a degree in philosophy.
From Princeton, hadn’t he?
No, no, no.
From the University of Acra, I believe. Or at least he was working for the master. Then with a friend of his he decided to go boating. They down the Mississippi River, but once they got to some place, now I’m quoting from memory, either Mobil or Tampa, this guy got married, jumped ship. They were supposed to go around the world, so instead of going around the world they went around Florida, and arrived in Miami. Must have been around ‘54. And forgot what they did right then in Miami, but I know for a while he taught with some academy for boys or something. Then he latched onto the laboratory. I took him along with a great many crew on my — I took him on all of my crews.
He started then more or less as a lab tech, and then started developing instrumentation?
He started working, I believe, because Joe Richards. Why don’t you ask Joe Richards? He ought to know.
I’ve got a whole tape on Joe Richards, yeah, on early Navy experiments that Joe was involved in.
Yeah, but he was involved with Shan.
And with Shan. So, you specialized in micro mollusks.
And that’s what put you into geology?
Because actually you started in biology, didn’t you?
Yeah. I was in biology.
As a precursor, everybody starts in biology.
Now, in the summer of ‘54 I had no work, and I certainly needed money, and I mentioned this to Bob Ginsberg. And a few weeks before that I had taken a group from Shell Oil out and showed them the environment.
Oh that’s right, Bob was still in this area with the Shell Oil.
And was doing field trips and things.
Bob was in this area for a long, long time.
Yeah. And the he went to Johns Hopkins.
Well, anyway, Bob said, “Well, I could probably get you a little job with the Shell development company.” So he did. So I went out to Houston, and I was in the lab for several days. And then they gave me a rented car and sample values (I’ll get back to them later) and told me to work in northern Gulf of Mexico. So I drove down to Port Isabel, which is just north of the mouth of the Rio Grande, and along those Texas beaches you could drive on the beach. So I started up the beach. There was absolutely nothing there. There were just a few people living in Port Isabel. And from there north, nothing. And so I drove about 30 miles up there. And then in front of me was a plank with all these big nails sticking up, so I could either head for the water to avoid it, or up. And when I went up, I got stuck. Fortunately I had a shovel, and there was a lot of debris, planks, and all these palmettos and stuff like that. So I got out of that all right, but I decided the heck with this, and I headed back down. But anyway, I spent close to a month working in northern Gulf of Mexico from Port Isabel to Tampa. And I collected on the beach. I collected in the dunes. I went out and dredged in places. I had a little dredge made. And I remember now, I’m putting all of this stuff in sample bags. And after a while, well, let’s see, Panama City, my little dredge brought up a big helmet shell, alive. And the next day, as I’m driving into Florida, into Fiord Apalachicola (?), I decided — there was a big swarm of flies following me, I better do something. So I stopped where there was a big roadside sign, and I walked about a hundred yards into the wood. I put that helmet shell down and drove off. Three weeks later, I came back. Saw the sign. Ah, well, I’ll stop. Walked back there and there it was, just as clean as a whistle. And so I took it back. But anyway, I had quite a bit of stuff collected. And so that winter, I spent quite some time identifying all of the material. I made a chart. I wrote a report. Actually I wrote two reports. A short one after I got back, and a final one when I had identified all the material, and all of that sort of thing. So while I was on this trip, I had stopped in at Port Aransas and met Gordon Gunther (?). Spent an afternoon talking to him. I remember him saying, “Would you like a cup of coffee?” And I said, “Oh, sure.” He said, “It’s only three days old. I’ll warm it up.” So he turned the stove on and said, “I don’t have any milk or cream, but I’ve got some brown sugar.” So afterwards he said, “I noticed you drank it all.” He said, “Some people poured it on the plants, which of course [???] plants, or I find a cup underneath the sofa, or that sort of thing. So, he offered me a position there. And so I took it. Drove over with all my possessions to Port Aransas. And I was there six months.
In Port Aransas or Ocean Springs?
Port Aransas, Texas.
That’s where it was?
Yeah. That was University of Texas. And Chuck Dawson was there, another expatriate from the marine lab. It was quite interesting. Gunther let us do whatever we please. And so, we uh, we’d go collecting. Drive down the beach in a Jeep and collect stuff. I wrote my first paper there, and all that sort of thing. But Gunther was leaving 6 months later to go to Ocean Springs, Mississippi. And he said, “Don, I don’t know what’s gonna happen with this place, or who’s gonna come in. You’d better come with me.” So I did. That was September 1, of 1955, I started in as a staff member at Ocean Springs. And Gunther was director. He had a secretary. There was a financial secretary, and two staff members, Bill Dammoran (?) and myself. We had a steel shrimper, forty feet long. And for a while we had the captain for the shrimper who was also a fireman, so he wasn’t available sometimes, when we needed him, so we decided to work without him. And so Dammoran and I would run the boat. Which was interesting, because sometimes Gunther would promise the boat to a group, and he’d forget to tell us. We’d drive down into the laboratory, and there’d be all these people sitting on the boat with Gunther pacing back and forth. He’d say, “Where you been?” I’d say, “What do you mean, where have I been? This is the usual time I come here.” Well, he’d promised the boat to somebody, and they came in early and there they were. Could I’d do something? “Oh, all right.” So, we used to run people out to Ship Island and places like that. One time Dammoran and I took the boat with this group, and we seemed to be running a little sluggish. So Bill looked down in the engine room. He said, “Don, we seem to be taking on water.” So one of us would disappear down below once in a while and bring a bucket up and throw it over the side. Maybe two or three or four buckets. And there was no bilge pump on the boat, so that’s the way we had to get rid of it, hand bail it. So we let the people fool around on the island for three or four hours. Bail a little bit more each hour or so. And then we took them back. And then got a regular pump to put on there to keep the water down so we could get it into the shipyard.
Well, when did you come back to Miami?
Spring of 1960. Or about September 1960.
By then the labs grown pretty big. I mean, by 1960 we had a pretty big lab. A lot of people had come in, then.
The lab of Virginia Keef.
Yeah, they’d built two buildings.
Yeah. And so, Cesare was there, and Fritz Coche, Corchoran, uh Goedicke, the guy who used to drop dynamite over the stern —
Yeah, I’ve been hearing about him. What was his name again?
And Gil Voss by this time, had gotten his Ph.D.
Well, Goedicke was doing what, seismic profiling with that dynamite?
Well, he was another one of the discoveries of Fritz.
I didn’t hardly know him at all. But he’s noted for having sunken a vessel at the pier.
I remember — I think I’ve heard that story. He blew a hole in the side of it I heard.
No, he didn’t do it. What he did do, a much simpler trick. He forgot to turn off the water. It was filling the water tank. So he went top. The whole ship filled up with water and then sank.
Mm hmm [yes]. But the captain, as I understand the story, saw what was happening and got the engine started and drove it up on sand, so it —
That I don’t know. And that story has probably been repeated and embellished a few times.
Oh, I’ve heard the story of the Aryans over and over again, too.
Oh, yes. I have a picture.
I have a picture of the Aryans, and Brisbee (?) next to it. Oh, I have the Brisbee in my office which you must see. I framed it because it’s absolutely great picture.
Yes? What’s he doing?
Well, you see, when he retired, I gave him, as a good-bye gift, a picture of mine taken over the Xerox machine. I just stuck my face in the glass. So he gave me back one of his. Except he was —
He was sitting on it, I gather.
No, he was very good. His come out a very good portrait of his. I don’t know how he did it. But it came out very well.
Well, I came back 1960, September 1, 1960. I started. And since I had a master’s degree, and I had all of this experience with a marine laboratories, I’d been through three of them, I came back, not as just as a student but as an instructor, but also a student.
Mm hmm [yes]. And then got your Ph.D.
Mm hmm [yes].
By this time Gil had his.
Oh yeah, he got his in fifty-six from George Washington. And you know, students these days, they’re working full time if they work twenty hours a week.
Well, when you came back was Dr. Hoffmeister there?
No, he came — I think he came a little after.
Because when I first came in ‘63, Dr. Hoffmeister — I want to talk a little bit about Dr. Hoffmeister.
You want to talk about Ginsberg first.
Tell you how Ginsberg got here. Yeah.
So, Ginsberg was a graduate student at the —
Well, don’t forget I’m going to talk to Ginsberg. But I can’t talk to Hoffmeister —
Yeah, but you ought to hear it from me, if you want to know the truth. [laughter]. Is this mine? Yeah, I think it is. So anyway, Ginsberg was a student at the University of Chicago when he saw an advertisement for a student assistantship at the University of Miami. I think it was thirty-six hundred dollars, which looked very good at that time.
So he took it, came down here, and did his field work. And then, but he was here in Chicago. So when he finished and got his degree from Chicago, he wanted a job here. And Smith told him that he had no money. So he went to work for Shell. He convinced Shell to set up a lab for him right here in Miami, because this is where he went to buy a yacht. And Shell did that.
Yes. And apparently, they were very pleased with what he did.
Oh, yeah, no question about that. And then he had — he was telling Smith every now and then, and Smith say, “We must develop physical science.” He had mentioned my name. That’s how Smith invited me down here. So I came down here. And when Shell closed down this office, and he went to Johns Hopkins. All right? So he was at Johns Hopkins, but his wife always wanted to come back to Florida. So when Burgess Slate (?) retired in Main campus, the chairman of the department of geology of Main… See, when I came down here I started teaching on Main Campus.
Right away, yeah.
Right away. And so I was one-third of the department. And then there was Burgess Slate as the chairman of the department. So when he retire, I recommended — the dean set up a search committee and he put me chairman of the search committee — I recommended Ginsberg as chairman of the department of geology, so he could come down to Miami. So he was invited down. And, of course, the dean loved Ginsberg. We all loved him, because Ginsberg wears a necktie, he looks very established.
So the dean loved him. So we had a lunch at the Keyhole. And the dean was at head of the table, and I was sitting to his right of the search committee; the other members were around. So, we talked about Ginsberg, and why. And then I took a menu, and I wrote on the back, “We approve the nomination of Ginsberg,” or whatever, and I put my name to it, and passed it to the guy to my right, who, of course, had no choice but to add his name.
So by the time it went around the table, it was unanimous.
And so the dean took this menu, put it in his pocket, winked at me, and went back to Main Campus, and wrote a letter appointing Ginsberg. He said, “We are pleased to offer you this position, and this much salary.” And he wrote back saying, “I accept it.” So the dean went to the dean of faculties, which was Armin Grout (?) at the time, and said, “Okay, send him out a contract.” And Grout said, “I don’t have any money.” And the dean said, “But you told me to go ahead with this.” “Yes, but that was last week, or something.” [laughter] So the dean was McQuity (?), at the time, a very nice and conservative gentleman, we were very upset about it. So he went up and apologized to Ginsberg. So I called up Ginsberg and I told him this whole story. You know, that’s how I became chairman. Because there was nobody else, in other words.
Yeah. And they were already paying you.
Yeah, right. Well, it didn’t cost University a dime. And so Ginsberg had a couple of laughs. But then I knew he wanted to come back. So I brought him back, anyway, as part of the division. And so Fisher Island had just been donated to the University. Bill Idol (?) had gone already and put all these names on doors. So I took off all the names and put my name and stuff. And so we had a little bit of a discussion with Smith. And eventually, that went to Ginsberg, some parts of it were given to other people like —
Calloway, Charles Calloway. Remember? He was doing shrimp work.
Calloway. And then there was another one, Edward — Eric Krause (?) had some.
Oh, he did?
But then Eric left, and everybody left, and Ginsberg was still there. So we had a good time there. So he did his thing and everything else. And it was like okay. I don’t think he would have liked to be chairman of the department. His mind is in teaching [???], not certainly not undergraduates.
Yes, not undergraduates, yeah.
So, it worked out well for him. The fact that he was not made chairman of the department turned out okay.
Okay, well now, Ed Hoffmeister arrived as a firee from the University of Rochester.
Right. You see, one of his students, John Milliman, had come down here. And he was my student. So he mentioned about Ed Hoffmeister, so I passed it on to Fritz. And so he was invited down here. So he came down here, doing some more work around the area. And you know his book, Love from the Sea.
Yes. So you think his work has good validity?
Is that right?
Because, I came in on it when he was talking about the formation of the Florida Peninsula, which I thought was fascinating. And he’d said he had just gone out and turned over rocks and found that they were Briazone (?) rocks in the Everglades.
It’s amazing that nobody had noticed that before. Anyway, so he did very excellent work. And then he retired. You know he’s still alive.
I know, it’s tragic.
He’s got that Alzheimer’s disease?
I don’t much about Alzheimer disease, but what does it do?
It destroys the core of the brain. And so slowly but surely, all of the central unit, central computer decays. And finally when the automatic system, or whatever it’s called, goes, your heart stops and then you die. But that hasn’t happened with him. He’s just lying there.
Five years of absolutely nothing.
Yeah. And his wife, of course, wants them to stop feeding him. And so it’s in the newspapers a great deal. And it’s become kind of a famous cause, I think. But so far, I don’t think she’s been successful in convincing anyone.
Oh, he’s just a vegetable.
There’s no point in trying to keep him going.
No. And he wouldn’t want to be kept going.
No, of course not.
Well, I remember coming in ‘63 and being fascinated by the hall in east Grovner there, and Cesare’s bits and pieces in cases there. And I used to go and look at them in awe.
They’re still there.
I haven’t back there. They’re still there? I can get those photographs?
That was Longus thesis.
Along the hall.
The photographs — the pictures I have in the basement in the science building.
Okay, you have some photographs. And there were also samples of clam shells, taken that were fossils, with the recent —
With the recent specimens. And that might be where you could get your picture.
I doubt it. Because they had the glass and oh, man. We’re going to take a look when we go back. Which, by the way, should not be too long, because it’s 2:30, kid. We have to be gone by three.
Oh, okay, well, let me just finish up, because I was on a roll here. The fossils, what else did I want to tell you that I have the outtakes from your expeditions, the film outtakes. You apparently took someone along who —
Yes, you did. And there are movies of Submar X. At least there are two or three big reels, labeled Submar X. And I have put them aside. They’re in the auditorium. I’ve been keeping them cool for you all these years. If you want them, they’re yours. No one’s going to do anything with them.
I’m going to take a look what’s in there.
I think you should. If you’re going back there, I’ll get them out for you.
Okay. I have a little projector. We can take a look. Okay.
Yeah, we made one cruise together, I know. Was it only one? Down in the Caribbean?
I don’t know. The first cruise where we went on, that I went on, was this cruise the put on, on the ship from Scripps, the Francis Bear. And Roger Ravel had sent around his chief core master, whose name I forget. And they were doing the coring in this absolutely idiotic way of letting the corer free-fall from the water table down on the surface.
On the surface?
Naturally, the wire was about two miles below the corer by the time the corer hit the bottom. So you always came up with tangles of all kinds, and something horrible. So I developed the way to do it. And in order for me to remember and so I wouldn’t forget it, I put it in a footnote in one of my publications. The speed of descent have to slow down, when and how, and this and that, and what’s a PDR (?), and what a free-fall, which I think was only about 45 feet or 60… forty-five —
Well, you had to drop —
Oh, fifteen meters.
The gravity corer could reach. And then it would —
Yeah, but let’s start with the piston corer.
Or something like that. I don’t know how a piston corer works.
Well, you have to look it up in some books. I’d say this arm is balanced on like this, which is isometric. On one side is a small weight, but the piston corer weighs a whole lot, so it’s pivoted like this, held from a board, and here’s a piston corer on a hook. And here’s a gravity corer, which weighs no more than 75 kilograms. And when you put this with the wire —
So that [inaudible]. Yeah.
Right, it does. It takes a sample of the top. And you put that fifteen meters below the nose of this little core. Fifteen meters below the nose of the other core. So when this touches bottom, tilts the arm, this unhooks it. So it’s free-fall. The whole thing is held from ship like that. So, that’s how it worked. But, you know, to determine the depth of free-fall, and also the speed of descent so that you can get down to the bottom in a reasonable time without the wire overtaking the piston corer, because the assembly of it causes much more friction against the water than the wire does.
Mm hmm [yes]. Okay. One other question. When I used to visit the corer laboratory, which I’m sure you set up in a refrigerated space there.
Well, that was an apple bin. An apple bin that we bought from Oregon, or somewhere like that. The whole thing was an apple bin.
Is that right? And you just put it in a building.
Yeah. Put the building around it.
Uh huh. Okay, when I used to visit in there, there were Jerger cores and Pillsbury cores, and then there was a whole section of Black Sea cores. Did you have something to do with that?
Certainly. Odysseus 65, it was my idea. That was one of those things that famous [???] the map work, that Violet Seagram (?). Do you remember?
Yes, I remember.
Violet Seagram were writing up some bibliography for that, and so she got to the point of listing all these. And in my proposal I had listed Homer, because Homer mentioned Odysseus and his traveling around. Plus, in the Strait of Sicily had seen the shifting sands on the bottom. That the first marine geology observation was made by Odysseus on the Strait of Sicily. So I quoted the Odyssey volume, book number so and so this and number so and so.
Yes, and Violet realized —
Violet said “What was Homer’s first name?” Everybody jumped up at said “Sam.” Or “Frank.” [laughter]
All right, why did you go to the Black Sea? And then I’ll let you go.
Because nobody else had ever been there. And it was an undisturbed sea crust of sediment. Because non-aerobic (?), the bottom is non-aerobic. So it’s not churned over. So the sediments are undisturbed—not bio to date.
No animals living on the bottom.
That is the attraction.
Uh huh. So that was the reason for going then.
Yeah. The name of the cruise was called Odysseus 65.
Can we do it again sometime?