[meteorite-list] A Nininger Moment

From: almitt <almitt_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Oct 14 13:10:30 2004
Message-ID: <416EABF0.B0D28BE7_at_kconline.com>

Second Try

The Tough Early Years

A number of lessons that Nininger learned in the beginning of
his quest for finding meteorites taught him early on that a program
of hunting down meteorites would be a rewarding but difficult
endeavor. In one of the early chapters of Find a Falling Star, at
the beginning of each chapter is a wise saying. Perhaps the one
that says it all of Nininger's quest was this one: "Apply your mind
to at least one problem which has never been solved, which in
general is considered impossible of solution, but if solved would
help out humanity. Do with your life something that has never been
done, but which you feel needs doing." In Nininger's effort to learn
about meteorites, first he found precious little information on the
subject. One of the first good tools in the form of a book was one
written by Dr. O.C. Farington called the Catalog of Meteorites of
North America (published 1909). Here Nininger was able to read
about the recorded falls and finds of the past to the current time
of 1909.

In his efforts to locate the fall of November 9th, 1923 that he
himself had seen fall, he had located two other meteorites in the
predicted area of the fall. The same had been true when hunting
down a couple of other leads, leaving him to believe correctly
that meteorites were more plentiful than believed to be at that
time. These finds were the reward he needed to continue on
with the program of hunting meteorites

Often Nininger would take time off and drive down the the old
rural roads of Kansas in an already old Model T of the time. As
he had no place for a spare tire, a good pair of tire tools and
patching materials for his car were in order. Often repairing tires
in a raw, cold numbing Kansas wind and in ankle deep mud in
order to drive to some out of the way farm house to check a lead.
Sometimes creeping through mud for hours only to find a common
rock rather than a meteorite.

At the beginning of his program he borrowed from the family budget
in order to be able to do a field trip, often lecturing along the way
for extra money in the area he was an authority in. Usually he would
stay at third class hotels and eat cold lunches to keep the costs down
and seeing if his idea of hunting and finding meteorites had merit. He
often brain stormed of ways to fund his idea, knowing that grants for
an untested program would never be given, when money was short
for programs considered far more important of the time.

In trying to find out more about meteorites he made field trips
to other universities in Kansas thinking he would run into some
good resources or a knowledgeable professor on the subject.
What Nininger found was an ignorance of the subject. His trip
for example to the University of Kansas at Lawrence yielded
only a bit of information on the subject dear to his heart. He
question both the geology department heads as well as the
astronomy department. He found that the professors in the
geology department professed ignorance on the subject but
worst to Nininger was the total lack of interest in the subject.
They showed him an un-labeled meteorite and told him which
one they thought it was. Nininger saw that what they claimed
to be a iron meteorite was rather a stony-iron which he identified
as being a part of the Brenham, Ks find. Talking to the professor
in the astronomy department he produced a very common slice of
an iron meteorite telling Nininger the very basic chemical structure
of the specimen. When asked about stony meteorites the professor
stated he didn't know there were any. Nininger often ran into this
same type of ignorance in other localities of higher learning. It
seem that the geologists felt it was related to astronomy coming
from the sky and the astronomers felt that it was more of a geology
subject because of the make up being stony or iron.

>From 1923 to 1929 Nininger gained both knowledge and experience
while he taught at McPherson College. One of the ways he learned
more was to visit the major collections of the time. These were
Washington, Chicago, New York, Harvard, Yale, and Amerst. Only
one other collection on the continent of North America was worth
a visit and that was in Mexico City where five of the greatest
meteorites of the world were held. But he also needed a way to
pay for the program he wished to pursue. This is where the plans
to go to Mexico first began and a way to possibly better fund his
new program.

The Nininger Moments are articles or books written originally by Harvey
Nininger and put into a consolidated form by Al Mitterling. Some of the
items written in the moments might be old out dated material and the
reader is advised to keep this in mind. Source: Find A Falling Star

--AL Mitterling
Received on Thu 14 Oct 2004 12:40:16 PM PDT

Help support this free mailing list:

Yahoo MyWeb