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02/28/2012 08:00:00

Wednesday's Watson Lecture Will Feature Isotope Geoscience Expert

John Eiler, Sharp Professor of Geology and Professor of Geochemistry at Caltech, will present the next Watson Lecture on February 29 in Beckman Auditorium. The Watson Lecture Series features Caltech researchers and is named for the late Earnest C. Watson, who founded the series in 1922. He presented one of his most popular lectures, “Liquid Air,” as one of the first programs at the Beckman Auditorium in October 1964.

Last fall, Eiler made headlines when he and his team measured the body temperature of dinosaurs for the first time by analyzing isotopic concentrations in the teeth of sauropods. His talk will explore how the study of isotopes in rocks and fossils lets us peer into the past and quantitatively reconstruct geological and biological evolution. Isotope geoscience began with the pioneers of the Manhattan Project, which produced the first atomic bomb; recent innovations allow us to reconstruct ice ages that happened hundreds of millions of years ago, with the basic goal of understanding the unique events and life forms of our planet's past.

All lectures are held on Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. in Beckman Auditorium and admission is free. Through a gift from the estate of Richard C. Biedebach, the Watson Lecture Series has expanded to nine lectures annually. For more information, visit or call (626) 395-4652.

Written by Katie Neith