Following the Royal Mail’s release of some lovely new Darwin stamps, a few of us got to Twittering over lunch yesterday about the lack of geologists on this year’s release of American scientist stamps.
(What’s that? You have no idea what Twittering is? It’s a stupid Web Eleventy-Point-Oh jibber-jabber service, pay no attention. If you are an Eleventy-Point-Oh sort of person, though, perhaps you should be following me.)
Googling around a bit for existing stamps that feature earth scientists, I found the pickings to be surprisingly slim. Alfred Wegener has been on stamps issued by both East Germany and Greenland, but not in recognition of his ill-fated early support of continental drift. The stamps honored his work in polar meteorology (Wegener died on an ill-fated scientific expedition to collect the first full year of weather data in interior Greenland).
Other earth scientists with stamps:
The question we were having fun with at lunch, though, is this: Which earth scientists would you pick to put on stamps?
To avoid making this too simple an exercise in listing off a bunch of awesome dead earth scientists, I’m going to stick to a themed (at least by nationality) set of four. My suggestions for the USPS:
Yes, I booted Harry Hess in favor of Marie Tharp in order to fill a diversity box. It’s a set of stamps, yo; it is not just a straightforward list of the people whose names are already in the history books, it is a sneaky kind of aspirational statement. I’m disappointed that I failed on the racial/ethnic diversity box; if anyone has suggestions I would love to hear them. Remember, though, stamps are always posthumous honors.