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Historian of Science to be Main Speaker at Honors Convocation April 23

Public Relations
Posted: Tuesday Apr 1, 2014

April 1, 2014

Dr. Gregory Good, a Saint Vincent College graduate who is director of the American Institute of Physics Center for the History of Physics, will be the main speaker at the annual spring honors convocation of Saint Vincent College on Wednesday, April 23 at 12:30 p.m. in the Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica. His talk is entitled, “A Life Built on the Liberal Arts.” He will also be honored with the conferral of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

At the academic convocation, outstanding senior students will be recognized for academic excellence in their major fields of study, the winners of the Ragan Poetry Award and Fr. Ronald Gorka Scholarship will be announced and special awards will be presented by the Student Government Association for service to the college community.

Saint Vincent College’s highest student honor, the President’s Award, will be presented to one member of the graduating class in recognition of academic accomplishments, leadership ability and community service which best reflect the College’s mission as a Catholic, Benedictine, liberal arts college.

Two faculty members will also be honored with the Quentin Schaut Faculty Award and the Boniface Wimmer Faculty Award.

Good has described his work as “a repository for our memories of what we have tried, of what has been good and what has not . . . based on an honest, hard-nosed evaluation of what we have known about the Earth.” He has also written that “a passion for the world and the living augments scholarship.”

A 1974 graduate of Saint Vincent College who earned a bachelor of science degree in physics with highest honor, he earned a master of arts and Ph.D. in history and philosophy of science from the University of Toronto. He is the son of Albert Good and the late Hilde (Stauffer) Good, of Latrobe, and a 1970 graduate of Derry Area High School. He and his wife, Lynn Sobolov, live in Takoma Park, Md. Their two daughters, Colleen and Anna, graduated from Macalester College and Allegheny College, respectively.

A distinguished historian of science, Good’s numerous publications include works on the history of astronomy, geophysics, geoscience and physics of the 19th and 20th centuries. He edited a history of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. His two volume Sciences of the Earth: An Encyclopedia of Events, People and Phenomena published in 1998 remains a definitive resource in the history of geology. Today, he authors a blog – GEOcosmoHISTORY – Human stories at the boundaries of Earth and Cosmos: science, technology and environment.

Good held a variety of distinguished positions during his career. These include a postdoctoral position with the Smithsonian Institution, a research associate at the Carnegie Institution and a visiting scholar at Cambridge University. He served as editor of Earth Science History from 1998-2004. He was the chairperson of the history department and director of graduate studies in history at West Virginia University until 2009 when he became the director of the American Institute of Physics’ Center for the History of Physics. In that position, he carries forward its mission “to preserve and make known the history of modern physics and allied fields.” This includes documentation programs, educational programs (including Web exhibits), and support for the next generation of historians of physics. He is a member of the International Commission on the History of Geological Sciences and chaired the American Institute of Physics’ History Advisory Committee from 2004 to 2008. He is an officer of the International Commission for the History of Physics.

In 2008, Good was awarded the Mary C. Rabbitt History of Geology Award. The citation for the award stated that Good’s ability to make connections between various disciplines and establish community among scholars were his defining characteristics. Good “creates essential connections within the subject matter by drawing together multiple threads of the earth sciences in his own scholarship and by his editorial work.” In addition to his numerous professional accomplishments, Good has also assisted local schools in grant writing for science and environmental education.

Following the honors convocation, the College will present the 11th Annual Academic Conference from 2 to 7 p.m. in the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion to recognize the completion of research projects and creative work of students in all academic fields. Students will be making presentations and displaying posters of their work throughout the Pavilion. Admission is free and open to the College community as well as the general public.

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Photo: Dr. Gregory Good

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