An outcast among her geology friends

Sunday, December 20, 2009
“I started getting on to wine and other stuff for a while, but I became an outcast among my geology friends,” said geologist Laura Webb of the University of Vermont. ”So I had to retrain myself to drink brew.”

Apparently Geologists are a bunch of beer drinking drunks. I confess, given that news, I'm liking them better than the humorless nags in Climatology. Wired Science has an article Why Geologists Love Beer which discusses their drink of choice and theorizes as to why it is so popular with them.

“Every other convention assumes that if you have a beer, your brain goes soft,” said Kathy Sullivan, who has been serving beer at the AGU meeting for 26 years. ”But not the geophysicists. They think if you have a beer, you can still learn things. So they do.”

Friday night beer sessions, called variously Friday Beer, Liquidus and who knows what else are common rituals in Geology Departments. Beer is also common at the end of the day during convention and seminars.

Theories have been put forward as to why beer is so popular, and so much of a part of the culture, with Geologists. The most popular is that field work is hot and tiring, and the work is often being done in areas with unsafe drinking water, and so it is the best thirst quencher.

“You have to think outside the box, you’ve got to release your inhibitions, and beer is one way to do that,” Saltus said. ”Anything that helps you get to that epiphany, that realization of what’s there in the rocks and not easy to see but there to spin a story from.”

Others argue that beer drinking aids science in that it frees up inhibitions and encourages conversation. A third theory believes it is just a tradition handed down from advisor to student for years.

By the way, I can't say for certain, but I'm pretty sure those are real Geologists hoisting tankards in the picture. Then again, maybe they're physicists. 


Bob Hawkins said...

The annual Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy, held every June on the campus of The Ohio State University, has a traditional free beer night. No wine.

Turing word: "cateni".

OMMAG said...

Right .... Now quit being a dick and drink beer!

There are thousands of regional and local brews to discover.

aguita said...

But Portland State University geologist LOVE wine! Scott Burns has showed us the light! :)