Bownocker Distinguished Lecture Series


John Adams Bownocker was the Chair of the Ohio State Department of Geology and State Geologist of Ohio (1906-1928), preceded by Edward Orton Sr. and Edward Orton Jr. In his last will and testament Professor Bownocker established the Bownocker Endowment, providing funds to bring luminaries in theories of evolution, plate tectonics, and climate science to Ohio State. Thanks to Professor Bownocker's generosity, the School of Earth Sciences has hosted 77 visionary earth scientists since the series' inception in 1937.

headshot of Professor John Adams Bownocker
Professor John Adams Bownocker
John Adams Bownocker's geological map of Ohio
Bownocker’s Geologic Map of Ohio (1920)
stood as Ohio's primary geologic reference map for 86 years.



Interested in supporting the Bownocker Endowment (fund #600679)? Click here for more information.


Bownocker Lectures through the years

1937  Alfred C. Lane

1938  Walter H. Bucher

1939  Reginald A. Daly

1940  Charles K. Leith

1941  Arthur L. Day

1942  George F. Kay

1943  O. D. von Englen

1945  Max W. Ball

1946  George G. Simpson

1947  Chester R. Longwell

1948  Hugh D. Miser

1950  Harold C. Urey

1951  James Gilluly

1952  Sidney Paige

1953  M. M. Leighton

1954  F. A. Vening-Meinesz

1956  J Harlen Bretz

1957  J. L. Gillson

1958  F. J. Pettijohn

1959  Norman D. Newell

1960  Philip B. King

1961  Alfred S. Romer

1962  Charles H. Behre, Jr.

1963  John W. Wells

1964  J. Tuzo Wilson

1965  K. O. Emery

1966  F. H. T. Rhodes

1967  Richard Foster Flint

1968  Cesare Emiliani

1969  Allan V. Cox

1970  Valter Schytt

1971  Preston E. Cloud

1972  S. Keith Runcorn

1974  Peter J. Wyllie                                                                                        

1975  John Rodgers

1976  John F. Dewey

1977  Harold Masursky

1978  Robert F. Legget

1979  Harold Williams

1980  Ursula B. Marvin

1981  W. Gary Ernst

1982  J. William Schopf

1983  Robert L. Folk

1984  Kenneth J. Hsü

1985  Luna B. Leopold

1986  Anthony J. Naldrett

1987  Hans P. Eugster

1988  Digby J. McLaren

1989  Paul F. Hoffman

1990  Albert W. Bally

1991  Adolf Seilacher

1992  William R. Dickinson

1995  James D. Hays

1996  Harrison H. Schmidt

1997  Ian W.D. Dalziel

1998  Steven M. Stanley

1999  George M. Hornberger

2000  Wallace S. Broecker

2001  Robert A. Berner

2002  Lonnie G. Thompson

2003  Mary Lou Zoback

2004  Albert A. Gore Jr.

2005  Andrew H. Knoll

2006  Guust Nolet

2007  Noel P. James

2008  James E. Hansen

2009 Derek E.G. Briggs

2011  Roberta Rudnick

2012  James Head

2013  Louise Kellogg

2014 Susan Solomon

2015 Diane McKnight

2016 Lucy Jones

2017 Kathy Sullivan

2018 Kevin Trenberth

2019 John Grotzinger

2020 Naomi Oreskes


The School of Earth Sciences hosted Naomi Oreskes, Harvard Professor of History of Science and Earth Science, as the 77th annual Bownocker Distinguished Lecturer (and first ever virtual one!). Naomi is an author of “Merchants of Doubt”, which is a well-known book (also turned into a film) about scientific consensus and dissent in relation to climate change. Her 2004 essay "The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change" in the journal Science is widely cited, and she has done a TED talk on these topics. Naomi is a Precambrian geologist by training and has written a book on the theory of continental drift.

Public Lecture: Why trust science?


Technical Lecture: How military funding delayed the development of plate tectonics.