Wolfeman gets the Gold!

Contributed by Dr. Bruce H. Tiffney, UC Santa Barbara
At the annual GSA meeting in Reno, Nevada last November, Dr. Jack A. Wolfe (Ph.D. from UCB, 1960) was awarded the Paleontological Society’s highest honor for lifetime service to paleontology—The Paleontological Medal. This brings to five the number of paleobotanists who have won the medal, including Ralph Chaney, one of Jack’s intellectual grandfathers at Berkeley. Author of nearly 100 papers, including several monographs, Jack is widely recognized as one of the leading angiosperm paleobotanists of the late 20th century. Much of this research effort was accomplished while he was with the USGS, and continues now at the University of Arizona.
Like many paleontologists, Jack possessed a “Global Systems Science” outlook long before the term became a buzzword. Not content to discover and describe, he has pursued the posing and testing of hypotheses with equal vigor,
bringing life to the scientific one-liner “facts and ideas have equal currency and both exist to be tested.” He revitalized thinking about the biogeographic evolution of the Northern Hemisphere with his “Boreotropical Flora” hypothesis. He developed and tested the reliability of leaf physiognomy as an estimator of Later Cretaceous and Tertiary climates and is now extending this approach in an attempt to establish a means for estimating Tertiary paleoelevations. Jack’s contributions are numerous, and he is an inspiration to present and future paleobotanists alike—UCMP congratulates Jack on an honor richly deserved!

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January, 2001