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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index A > Walter Alvarez Quotes

Walter Alvarez
(3 Oct 1940 - )

American geologist and author whose has contributed evidence in the extinction of the dinosaurs (with his discovery of a layer of high concentration of iridium in rock strata of that era), the study of plate tectonics, and the reversal of the earth's magnetic field.

Science Quotes by Walter Alvarez (2 quotes)

Much of the work we do as scientists involves filling in the details about matters that are basically understood already, or applying standard techniques to new specific cases. But occasionally there is a question that offers an opportunity for a really major discovery.
— Walter Alvarez
In Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Crater of Doom (1997), 42.
Science quotes on:  |  Basic (52)  |  Detail (65)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Major (24)  |  Occasionally (3)  |  Opportunity (43)  |  Question (315)  |  Research (517)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Standard (41)  |  Technique (41)  |  Understanding (317)

We have very strong physical and chemical evidence for a large impact; this is the most firmly established part of the whole story. There is an unquestionable mass extinction at this time, and in the fossil groups for which we have the best record, the extinction coincides with the impact to a precision of a centimeter or better in the stratigraphic record. This exact coincidence in timing strongly argues for a causal relationship.
— Walter Alvarez
Referring to the theory that he, and his father (physicist Luis W. Alvarez), held that dinosaurs abruptly went extinct as a result of a 6-mile-wide asteroid or comet struck the earth. In American Geophysical Union, EOS (2 Sep 1986), as quoted and cited in John Noble Wilford, 'New Data Extend Era of Dinosaurs' New York Times (9 Nov 1986), A41.
Science quotes on:  |  Argue (17)  |  Causal (6)  |  Chemical (72)  |  Coincide (4)  |  Coincidence (12)  |  Dinosaur (23)  |  Establish (30)  |  Evidence (157)  |  Exact (38)  |  Fossil (107)  |  Impact (21)  |  Large (82)  |  Physical (94)  |  Precision (38)  |  Relationship (59)  |  Unquestionable (6)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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