On Wednesday, October 21, I presented my last Richard H. Jahns Distinguished Lecture in Engineering Geology to the Geoengineering Group at the University of California at Berkeley. I celebrated the end of my Jahns Jahr, my Year of presenting Jahns Lectures, by enjoying a wander around the Berkeley campus, looking at it as a tourist and not as a previous student. This year I saw over 40 university campuses – Berkeley’s is one of the loveliest.
Dithering here and there, enjoying the campus, the charming 1960 song by the Drifters Save the Last Dance for Me popped into my head. It is not such a fanciful tune: my Lectures are energetic, as I skipping around the podium and the audience; “performing” many say, and not with malice.
So I Saved my Last Jahns for me: enjoying my Lecture; enjoying lunch with my faculty host Prof. Ray Seed and my friend Doug Schwarm; and all in all, enjoying my day.
I ended the day by retiring my Smiley Kids Lecture tie, taking it off and looping it over the Jahns Distinguished Lecturer Award plaque I was given last year. I have worn the smiley tie for most of the 250+ lectures I have presented since then, including the 85 Richard H. Jahns Distinguished Lectures in Engineering Geology that I presented during my Jahns Jahr between October 2008 and this past week.
The joyful tie was given to me by Lisa and Eric Lindquist in 1992, the day before my PhD Orals Examination. (I coined the term “bimrocks” – for blocks-in-matrix rocks- the same day, and used the word for the first time in my Oral exam. Curiously the day after my last Jahns Day, I presented a long bimrocks lecture to the many of the same students who had attended the Jahns lecture the day before.) I shall miss wearing my now-frayed, joyful and favorite Save The Children tie – it has prompted praise from many strangers over the years, as well as the rare insult. But I have other merry ties to wear to tempt praise and curmudgeonly scorn alike, whenever, one day soon, I muster up enough energy to dance, to perform another lecture…