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Walter Alvarez
Walter Alvarez
(born October 3, 1940) is a professor in the Earth
Earth
and Planetary Science
Planetary Science
department at the University of California, Berkeley. He is most widely known for the theory that dinosaurs were killed by an asteroid impact, developed in collaboration with his father, Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
winning physicist Luis Alvarez.

Contents

1 Biography 2 Impact theory 3 Big History

3.1 ChronoZoom

4 Awards and honors 5 Works 6 References 7 External links

Biography[edit] Born in Berkeley, California, Alvarez is the son of Luis Walter Alvarez, a Nobel prize-winner in physics. His grandfather was the famed physician Walter C. Alvarez and his great-grandfather, Spanish-born Luis F. Alvarez, worked as a doctor in Hawaii
Hawaii
and developed a method for the better diagnosis of macular leprosy. His great-aunt Mabel Alvarez
Mabel Alvarez
was a noted California
California
artist and oil painter.[1] Alvarez earned his B.A. in geology in 1962 from Carleton College
Carleton College
in Minnesota
Minnesota
and Ph.D. in geology from Princeton University
Princeton University
in 1967. He worked for American Overseas Petroleum Limited in the Netherlands, and in Libya
Libya
at the time of Colonel Gadaffi’s revolution. Having developed a side interest in archaeological geology, he left the oil company and spent some time in Italy, studying the Roman volcanics and their influence on patterns of settlement in early Roman times.[1] Alvarez then moved to Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University, and began studying the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
tectonics in the light of the new theory of plate tectonics. His work on tectonic paleomagnetism in Italy
Italy
led to a study of the geomagnetic reversals recorded in Italian deep-sea limestones. Alvarez and his colleagues were able to date the reversals for an interval of more than 100 million years of the Earth's history by using Foraminifera biostratigraphy.[1][2] Impact theory[edit] Main article: Alvarez hypothesis Alvarez and his father Luis W. Alvarez
Luis W. Alvarez
are most widely known for their discovery (with Frank Asaro
Frank Asaro
and Helen Michel) that a clay layer occurring right at the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary was highly enriched in the element iridium. Since iridium enrichment is common in asteroids, but very uncommon on the Earth, they further postulated that the layer had been created by the impact of a large asteroid with the Earth
Earth
and that this impact event was the likely cause of the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.[3] This iridium enrichment has now been observed in many other sites around the world.[where?] And further, the very large Chicxulub crater was identified and is now regarded as the definitive evidence of a large impact.[citation needed] Consequently, a majority of scientists now accept the impact scenario as the most likely cause for the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event
Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event
which occurred 66 million years ago and eliminated 75% of all species,[4] including all non-avian dinosaurs. His book, T. Rex and the Crater of Doom, details the discovery of the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. In addition to his interest in extinction events and impacts, Alvarez has contributed to the understanding of Mediterranean
Mediterranean
tectonics, Roman geology and archeology, and the establishment of magnetostratigraphic correlations.[1][2] Big History[edit]

Alvarez helped to organize a meeting of Big Historians at the Geological Observatory at Coldigioco in Italy
Italy
in 2010 which resulted in the establishment of the International Big History
Big History
Association.

Alvarez began teaching a course in Big History
Big History
at UC Berkeley
UC Berkeley
in 2006 under the title "Big History: Cosmos, Earth, Life, Humanity." [5] According to Alvarez, Big History
Big History
is the "attempt to understand, in a unified and interdisciplinary way, the history of the Cosmos, Earth, Life
Life
and Humanity." This definition was later adopted by the International Big History
Big History
Association (IBHA).[6] Alvarez's course is open to all majors and grade levels and seeks to provide a broad understanding of the past, present and future. Alvarez helped organize a meeting of Big Historians at the Geological Observatory at Coldigioco in Italy
Italy
in 2010[7] which resulted in the establishment of the International Big History
Big History
Association. In 2011, the IBHA is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.[8] Alvarez was one of the founding members of the IBHA,[9] and served on the advisory board until August 7, 2014 when he stepped down at the 2014 IBHA conference held at Dominican University of California. ChronoZoom[edit]

Alvarez presented " Earth
Earth
History in the Broadest Possible Context" at Chevron Auditorium on the UC Berkeley
UC Berkeley
campus where ChronoZoom
ChronoZoom
was first publicly demonstrated in 2012.

Alvarez's most recent contribution to the field of Big History
Big History
has been the creation of a free, open source, zoomable timeline in partnership with Microsoft Research called ChronoZoom.[10] ChronoZoom is a computer-graphical approach to dealing with this problem of visualizing and understanding time scales, and presenting vast quantities of historical information in a useful way.[11] ChronoZoom was introduced at the 97th Annual Faculty Research Lecture at UC Berkeley.[12] Awards and honors[edit] Alvarez is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
in 1983, and elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1991.[13] He was awarded the 2006 Nevada Medal, the 2008 Vetlesen Prize,[14] and the Penrose Medal from the Geological Society of America. In 2005, he received the doctorate "Honoris Causa" in Geological Sciences from the University of Siena, Italy. Works[edit]

T. Rex and the Crater of Doom
T. Rex and the Crater of Doom
by Walter Alvarez
Walter Alvarez
(Princeton University Press, 1997) ISBN 0-375-70210-5 The Mountains of Saint Francis: The Geologic Events that Shaped Our Earth
Earth
by Walter Alvarez
Walter Alvarez
(W. W. Norton, December 2008)

References[edit]

^ a b c d "Walter Alvarez". Department of Earth
Earth
and Planatery Science at UCB. Retrieved 9 February 2014.  ^ a b Alvarez, Walter. "The historical record in the Scaglia limestone at Gubbio: magnetic reversals and the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction" (PDF). Sedimentology. Retrieved 10 February 2014.  ^ People and Discoveries: Alvarez finds evidence of dinosaur-killing asteroid, 1980, PBS website, accessed April 17, 2011 ^ Schulte, Peter; Alegret, Laia; Arenillas, Ignacio; Arz, Jose A.; Barton, Penny J.; Bown, Paul R.; Bralower, Timothy J.; Christeson, Gail L.; Claeys, Philippe; Cockell, Charles S.; Collins, Gareth S.; Deutsch, Alexander; Goldin, Tamara J.; Goto, Kazuhisa; Grajales-Nishimura, José M.; Grieve, Richard A. F.; Gulick, Sean P. S.; Johnson, Kirk R.; Kiessling, Wolfgang; Koeberl, Christian; Kring, David A.; MacLeod, Kenneth G.; Matsui, Takafumi; Melosh, Jay; Montanari, Alessandro; Morgan, Joanna V.; Neal, Clive R.; Nichols, Douglas J.; Norris, Richard D.; Pierazzo, Elisabetta; Ravizza, Greg; Rebolledo-Vieyra, Mario; Reimold, Wolf Uwe; Robin, Eric; Salge, Tobias; Speijer, Robert P.; Sweet, Arthur R.; Urrutia-Fucugauchi, Jaime; Vajda, Vivi; Whalen, Michael T.; Willumsen, Pi S. (5 March 2010). "The Chicxulub Asteroid
Asteroid
Impact and Mass Extinction at the Cretaceous- Paleogene Boundary". Science. 327 (5970): 1214–1218. Bibcode:2010Sci...327.1214S. doi:10.1126/science.1177265. PMID 20203042. Retrieved 2010-03-08.  ^ Letters and Science Discovery Courses ^ International Big History
Big History
Association (IBHA) ^ Origins of the International Big History
Big History
Association ^ International Big History
Big History
Association Articles of Incorporation ^ Contacts for the International Big History
Big History
Association ^ Abstracts - Microsoft Research ^ ChronoZoom
ChronoZoom
Project Information ^ " ChronoZoom
ChronoZoom
debuts at UC Berkeley
UC Berkeley
Faculty Research Lecture Series". University of California
California
Berkeley Library. The Regents of the University of California. Retrieved 29 May 2014.  ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 17 April 2011.  ^ Geologist Who Linked Cosmic Strike to Dinosaurs' Extinction Takes Top Prize; The Vetlesen, on Level with Nobel, Goes to Walter Alvarez, Columbia University
Columbia University
Earth
Earth
Institute, October 16, 2008

External links[edit]

Walter Alvarez's Berkeley homepage ChronoZoom
ChronoZoom
project homepage 97th Annual Faculty Research Lectures: Walter Alvarez
Walter Alvarez
on YouTube

v t e

Big History

Themes and subjects

Chronology of the universe Cosmic evolution Deep time Time scales Goldilocks principle Modernity

Eight thresholds

1: Creation - Big Bang
Big Bang
and cosmogony 2: Stars - creation of stars 3: Elements - creation of chemical elements inside dying stars 4: Planets - formation of planets 5: Life
Life
- abiogenesis and evolution of life 6: Humans - development of Homo sapiens

Paleolithic
Paleolithic
era

7: Agriculture - Agricultural Revolution 8: Modernity
Modernity
- modern era

Web-based education

Big History
Big History
Project

Crash Course Big History

ChronoZoom

Notable people

Walter Alvarez Cynthia Stokes Brown Eric Chaisson David Christian Bill Gates Carl Sagan Graeme Snooks Jimmy Wales Bill Wurtz

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 92562652 LCCN: n96113562 ISNI: 0000 0001 0925 0426 GND: 112315046X SUDOC: 050278797 BNF: cb13492904g (data) BIBSYS: 90399998 NDL: 00650187 SN

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