A Geologist's Memoir
by Dr. George Devries Klein
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Rocknocker: A Geologist’s Memoir reviews the life of George Devries Klein, an immigrant who made
it through the American System as a geologist. It chronicles his life from early childhood, graduate school,
working as an oil company researcher, university professor, science administrator, and as a geological consultant.
The book includes the highs and lows of George’s life. Each chapter also summarizes key lessons learned making
the book even more useful to young scientists as a career guide. Isolated incidents relevant to the book, but
shortened, are included as postscripts at the end of each chapter. A highly informative read that shows what is
needed to develop a productive career in the sciences.
"George Devries Klein’s book Rocknocker: A Geologist’s Memoir is a review of his life. Numerous
geologists have written memoirs or autobiographies, among them F.J. Pettijohn, J. Rodgers, and G.M. Friedman. But
the approach George followed in his memoir is different from other memoirs in that each chapter ends with a section
entitled Lessons Learned. These Lessons Learned sections are basically very personal critical analyses of specific
events or situations. Some of the postscripts are advices, that, I believe, readers will find informative and useful.
In addition to the Lessons Learned, George included at the end of some chapters items relevant to the pertinent chapter.
George Devries Klein is a widely respected and appreciated geologist, in both the academic and the industrial
environments. His exceptional career rewarded him with a highly interesting life by meeting numerous outstanding
people several of which became colleagues, teachers and friends. From his description and interaction with them
it is clear that he met a range of people who “were as variable as many rock types he examined.” George
encountered highs and lows in his life and his reaction/response is well expressed in these memoirs, in which he
presents his experience, philosophy, and advice in an enjoyable mode.
Perhaps the most important of George’s memoirs is, however, the way in which he shows young geologists how to
work and how to do so efficiently and effectively. This holds, in my opinion, particularly for working in the
petroleum sector. I sincerely hope that George’s memoirs will be equally appreciated by the entire geological
community as I do."
- Rajat Mazumder, Geological Studies Unit and Fluvial Mechanics Laboratory, Indian Statistical Institute
Journal of Sedimentary Research
"This is an autobiography that concentrates on Houston Geological Society member George Devries Klein's career
in geology. The author utilizes what he calls "Lessons Learned" at the end of each chapter. It basically reviews what
he considers the most important portion of each chapter. This makes a good summary that is useful for any later review
of the book.
Following the events and politics involved in the author's student days through his different academic endeavors
and government work to finally becoming a consulting geologist was interesting reading for me. Present-day students
would gain a lot by reading the book. The section on what it takes to become a consulting geologist is very accurate
based on my personal experience.
I would recommend reading the book."
- John B. Tubb, Jr., President, Houston Geological Society
About the Author
Houston Geological Society Bulletin, V. 53, No. 1
George Devries Klein is a widely respected geologist, both in academe and the petroleum industry. Born in 1933
in the Netherlands, he immigrated to the USA in 1947. He graduated from Mamaroneck Senior High School and earned
his BA, MA, and PhD in geology from Wesleyan University, The University of Kansas, and Yale University, respectively.
His career spanned work as a research geologist at Sinclair Research, Inc., followed by service as a faculty
member at the Universities of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Illinois @Urbana-Champaign, where he was a full professor
from 1972 to 1993. He served as President of the New Jersey Marine Science Consortium and as New Jersey State Sea
Grant Director and then formed his own consulting company, SED-STRAT Geoscience Consultants, Inc., in 1996.
He is best known for his research on tidal sedimentology, proposing the “Tidalite” concept. He authored over
350 refereed papers, abstracts and reports, including 11 reference books, and one novel, Dissensions. His
publications include the book Sandstone Depositional Models for Exploration for Fossil Fuels and a widely-used
Wall Chart on “Vertical Sequences and Log Shapes of Major Sandstone Reservoir Systems”.
His consulting client work is in the US Gulf of Mexico and Gulf Coast, Illinois basin, Appalachian basin, Angola,
Senegal, South Africa, East Africa, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Mexico, Romania, Russia, and the eastern Mediterranean.
He has discovered, either solo or as part of consulting teams, approximately 160 Million Barrels of oil and 3 Trillion
Cubic Feet of natural gas.
He currently resides with his wife, Suyon (originally from Seoul, Korea), in Sugar Land, Texas.
Click here to view the Table of Contents
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