Passion and ingenuity have led AAPG member Daniel Minisini on a personal mission to talk to famous geologists – with a video camera in his hand – and share their thoughts on a website he has created.
Launched about a year ago, his website, called Minigeology, (www.minigeology.com), includes 36 video interviews where Minisini has asked notables to chat with him on-camera about various topics ranging from creativity to the science.
“One thing they all share is a passion about geology,” Minisini said. “And, oh yes, when they talk about geology, they move their hands a lot!”
Minisini’s own attraction to geology was prompted by, well, geologists.
“In Friuli, the little Italian region where I come from, geologists are hikers, wine-tasters and soccer referees. In high school, I was all of them. It was natural to complete my profile matriculating at the department of geology at the University in Bologna.”
There, his professor, Fabio Trincardi, introduced him to marine geology, and Minisini spent a total of about a year on a research vessel on various missions.
“I spent my last year of university at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where I was tremendously exposed to multiculturalism,” he said, “and where I learned to always share ideas.
He returned to Italy to earn a doctorate in geology, focusing on continental margins
He then joined Eni in Milan as a seismic stratigrapher for deepwater environments, and is now with Shell Oil in Houston as a research geologist focusing on sedimentology of gas shales.
It was in Houston, already sensitized to the exceptional geologists around him, that he initiated minigeology.com. At the Houston Geological Society he met AAPG Honorary Member Charles Sternbach, who shares his passion for capturing the heritage of the legends of the profession (see box below) and encouraged him in his efforts.
Minisini said the main goal of his website is to catch the mindset of thought leaders and others in earth science and learn how they approach a problem, their work, life.
Minisini wants to share that with the earth science community. Minigeology is a round table where all can upload their own videos and interviews.
Minigeology is informal – and the interview format yields a short spontaneous discussion.
A sampling of the site includes:
♦ An interview with Bob Folk, who stands in front of his 1927 Sorby microscope and tells about some of his proudest discoveries.
♦Hugh Jenkyns explains the significance of his pioneering work on oceanic anoxic events.
♦ AAPG Honorary Member Harrison “Jack” Schmitt talks about what it is like to be the first geologist to walk on the moon, and why we must go back.
Minisini said by asking the “right” question he hopes these interviews will lead the viewer to ask his or her own questions in their own research or exploration.
One question Daniel likes to ask is, “What does a geologist do?”
A notable response: “They tell stories.”
A few clicks on the Minigeology.com indicates why Minisini’s talents and interview skills are a good fit to contribute to the AAPG Geo-Legends program, which captures videos of 100 AAPG geo-legends for AAPG’s centennial celebration in 2017.
Daniel joins others already committed to that effort; collectively, this group has interviewed about 40 legendary geologists for the AAPG “100 Who Made a Difference” program.
AAPG President Paul Weimer describes its purpose as “to identify those individuals who made major contributions in applied geology.
To date, we have interviewed people who:
♦ Changed exploration concepts with their discoveries.
♦ Made major scientific contributions, fundamental to exploration and development.
♦ Are individuals with long-term scientific contributions and service to the applied geoscience community.
– CHARLES STERNBACH