06 Oct In 1990, I donated 40 vol.of Bull. AAPG to the library of Dept. of Geology,
In 1990, I donated 40 bound volumes of Bull. AAPG to the library of Dept. of Geology, Univ. of Kerala, Kariavattom.
But for the ONGC library in Chennai, the Bulletin of AAPG is practically unheard of in the geoscience libraries in south India. When I earned the Fulbright post-doctoral fellowship in early 1989, I was not only enthused much about the prospect of going back to the US with a research and this time to a Midwestern geoscience department, but also by the chance I might get to extend my research to the area of exact shape analysis.
This technology originated Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison and the geologist-mathematician duo – rather new to the UWM- happened to be the innovators. The story has it that during the welcome party one evening in early Fall at the vice chancellors residence and after downing couple light drinks, the two-person team sat around a tea table and scribbled in a paper towel or back of the envelope the basics of the tool and approach. This algorithm authored by Robert Ehrlich, Bernhard Weinberg was printed in the pages of JSP 1972 as a paper “An Exact Method for Characterization of Grain Shape”.
Later, Prof. Bob Erlich moved to Univ. of South Carolina. I was fascinated by this new tool and corresponded with Bob, about their brain child and asked for help for me to do the exact shape study. And very kindly this man gave me xerox of the step by step tools of the procedure for doing the two D shape study with pencil and divided paper. In the late 1987, the UGC announced PD fellowship to US, I jumped in by applying for the offer through the u of Kerala.
To my great luck, a benevolent mind in the syndicate was in charge of selection at u of Kerala level. The UGC bluntly stated that only two nominations from each university in India will be entertained. Another condition was that the contestants already should have identified a university and a mentor. Luckily then I had Prof. Erlich corresponding with me which enabled me very well as a firm candidate.
One of the preconditions of the award of fellowship also was that the recipient has the burden of lining up a place of work along with a scientist to associate with. I had always in mind the Univ of South Carolina and Prof. Bob Erlich (Bill Full’s own advisor for Ph.D), However, Bob turned me over to Bill Full of Wichita State University.
I won the final selection at the UGC but in the meantime I had Bill Full of Wichita state as mentor. This change was ok with UGC as Prof. Bob Erlich himself wrote to UGC and me of the changes of mentor and laboratory.
So I chose to go to the Geology Department at WSU, Wichita. In fact, I landed in the Wichita Airport around 10:00 pm local time on a Monday evening and in the month of Aug. 1989. There was Dr. Bill Full, a boy in the early teens and a woman or the Bills girl friend. For them locating an Asian Indian was no sweat and in fact shouted hey Vick and waved at me.
We boarded the car and drove through the night towards the hosts home. In about an hour we got to the home, where I was supposed to sleep that night. After some snacks and a drink of coke we retired for the night. I had a good nights sleep through the night, and in the morning Bill told me to make myself comfortable in the house and enjoy whatever food that was in the fridge. He was going to the lab in the university, and I may stay back home till he is back. Bill also told me that he has a large dog, and for no reason I be afraid of that animal. In fact the dog was allowed to sniff at me and get my scent for sure.
The same evening, I went to see the room in a condo, along the edge of the campus that Bill identified for me. I felt very much satisfied with the room- one with heating and air conditioning and an indoor swimming pool in the complex. There is a kitchen I might share with another tenant adjacent to my room. Really the kitchen is sandwiched between the rooms. All these for a monthly rent of 600 US Dollars
We went back in Bills car to the home to pick up my two piece luggage and some grocery like milk, cereals, and banana and so on. On our way back we dropped into the Big Mac for a burger dinner. Bill left me in the condo in my room, and I was on my own from that point on wards.
I slept well and deeply. Next morning I was up a bit late like 9 am. After a shower and breakfast, I walked toward the Building that housed geology and geography. A two story building had Geology on the second floor. The building had a basement also which housed some labs.
While I was getting ready to go to India, I casually enquired if there would be some journal that I could carry home a gift or donation. The answer of the HOD was indeed a large yes. He immediately took me to a very large lecture hall kept under lock, opened it for me and announced he would be too happy if I carted off all the journals stacked on the floor.
Well I would disappoint him as I was only looking for Bull AAPG. And the response was that I blessed him that day by taking away a smaller burden of the department which did not know what to do with all the donations that kept arriving year after year.
Stunningly in the US university system according to a Federal law, any donation of any kind coming off from alumnus cannot be turn down. The story is that when one of the geosciences alumni dies invariably in his will there will be a clear mention of donation of books and journals invariably to the alma mater.
Thus the universities keep accumulating such donations without any known means of disposing the redundant books and journals. Perhaps I did a favor to my friends in the WSU Geology department by agreeing to ship to Geology Department of the University of Kerala 50 volumes (each volume in 12 issues) of Bull AAPG. Certainly I paid like 159 US$ as shipping charge to the US Postal service.
Then on return I got all these volumes red rexin bound before donating it to the Library of the Department of Geology. The glass and steel almirah to store these volumes also was donation from a project fund. Though the almirah with Bull AAPG copies were aptly named, “Prof. K.K.Menon Corner” to my disdain that label was torn off.