The Jahns Distinguished Lecturer

The Jahns Distinguished Lecturer, named for Dr. Richard H. Jahns (1915-1983), was established in 1988 by AEG in co-sponsorship with the Engineering Geology Division of the Geological Society of America (GSA) to present an annual series of lectures at academic institutions, thus increasing student and young professional awareness about careers in Engineering Geology.

About Richard H. Jahns

Richard “Dick” Jahns was an engineering geologist with a diverse and distinguished career in academia, consulting, and government. His love of the outdoors and nature started in childhood and continued throughout his undergraduate and Ph.D. education at Cal Tech, and his master’s education at Northwestern University. He started his career at the US Geological Survey and was quite nomadic during the early years of his career, moving 47 times. In the early years of World War II, he led field studies to discover domestic sources of mica, lithium, tantalum and beryllium which were critical to the war effort. It was during this project, that he began his lifelong pursuits of research and creative thinking while simultaneously relating to the needs of those working with and around him.

In 1946, Dick Jahns left the Survey accepting an assistant professorship at Cal Tech; he became a full professor 3-years later. Here he established the “Jahnsian” teaching tradition including superb lectures, legendary field trips, and long hours consulting with students wrapped in the ambiance of excitement and caring. He continued his teaching traditions at the Penn State College of Mineral Industries in 1960, where he headed the Division of Earth Sciences and became the deal of the college 2-years later. Dick returned to the west coast in 1964 accepting an offer to become dean of the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford University. Additionally, Dick Jahns has numerous affiliations and ancillary activities to his teaching and administrative career.

Those remembering Dick Jahns speak not only of his impressive career forwarding the field of Engineering Geology but of his good nature, his sense of humor, and his overwhelming desire to lift those around him.

2022-2023 Jahns Distinguished Lecturer: Vincent Cronin

AEG and GSA have chosen Vincent Cronin as the 35th Jahns Distinguished Lecturer. His tenure will run from October 2022 through September 2023. The first Jahns Lecturer, Dr. Jim Slosson, was a friend and mentor to Vincent and they collaborated on engineering geology projects from 1979 until Jim’s passing in 2007. Vincent currently engages in a broad range of geoscience work and is an emeritus professor of geoscience at Baylor University. He taught graduate courses about structural geology, tectonics, and engineering geology, as well as, undergraduate courses in physical geology and structural geology.

He is currently the editor of the 11th-13th editions of the AGI/NAGT Laboratory Manual in Physical Geology and is writing a quantitative primer on plate kinematics. Vincent is looking forward to his new leadership role and sharing his knowledge with geology students and colleagues.

Scheduling a Jahns Lecturer Visit

Each Jahns Lecturer handles scheduling and coordinating talks with local AEG and GSA chapters, universities, and colleges. Here are a few tips to help the “Jahns’ lecture procurement” process flow smoothly:

  • Start Early - Contact the lecturer early so there is enough flexibility for one or more lectures. Oftentimes, the lecturer doesn’t know the best contact at each university. Having the Chapter organizer or professor reach out directly to the lecturer is the best way to secure a lecture timeslot. Additionally, once a date is set, you can advertise with other groups to have the best experience for those attending and for the visiting lecturer himself.
  • Provide a Schedule – After you have contacted the lecturer, offer assistance in creating a reasonable visitation schedule. Include, hotel and other transportation-related information.
  • Determine the Presentations – The Jahn’s Lecturer has several excellent presentations prepared.  Let them know in advance which “talk” you would like presented during your Jahn’s visit. This also allows students and professors to prepare questions to best utilize the available time.

    Schedule a Jahns Lecture Presentation with Vincent Cronin

     Information on Richard “Dick” Jahns provided by: “Memorial to Richard H. Jahns 1915-1983”, by Lauren A. Wright, Department of Geosciences, The Pennsylvania State University

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Comments on "The Jahns Distinguished Lecturer"

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Marsha Kantor - Thursday, January 12, 2023

For a longer and also personal biography, including some of Dick's clever lab problems, see "How we Remember Him: A Biography of Richard H. Jahns 1915-1983" by Richard J. Proctor and Karl Vonder Linden, in the AEG Bulletin May 1990.

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