IMCA Insights – December 2010
Introduction to the New Board of Directors
by the IMCA Board of Directors
This special edition of
IMCA Insights is an introduction to the new IMCA Board of Directors. The
nine new and old IMCA Board Members introduce themselves in the following essays - enjoy!
Born and still living in Munich. Very early my interest for astronomy
and watching the night sky became noticeable and soon I passed through
the typical career of an amateur astronomer. From the first
“observations” with a lorgnette in the age of a kindergarten child, via
the first small warehouse refractor to the 8”-SC as an adolescent.
My meteoritic arousal
happened in 1980, when to my elation I found meteorites offered at the
Munich mineral show, which weren't, to my surprise, locked away in the
vaults of science or in the displays of the museums, like the German
piece of the Apollo Goodwill rock, which I had so often visited in the
Deutsche Museum in Munich. The cornerstone of my further passion was a
small Mundrabilla individual, acquired from Walter Zeitschel.
After studies of language and literature, with a focus on astronomical
medieval source texts, I decided to choose the rocky road and to turn
that passion into a profession. And with the Golden Age of meteoritics
on the horizon unleashed by the beginning finds in Sahara and Oman,
which opened undreamed-of possibilities for the collectors and
researches, I started as a full-time meteorite dealer.
In 2005 together with my colleagues Stefan Ralew and Andi Gren we
founded Chladni's Heirs and are since mainly specialized in newly
recovered materials of the rare and rarest classes. So that finally, the
dream of a little boy, to hold a piece of the Moon in his hand came not
only true, but that we became able to share the fulfillment of this
dream with so many people around the world.
Anne M. Black
It all started when Dr. Alain Carion, the well-known French expert,
asked me to translate his book “Meteorites” from French to English.
I am a French native,
who lived ten years in Africa, as a child, then in France and then moved
to the USA many many years ago. I was supposed to teach French but I
gave up on that quickly and joined the corporate world. Being in
Colorado, I soon started picking up pretty rocks all over the mountains,
then I discovered the Denver Mineral show and I met Dr Carion who was
willing to tell me what all those pretty rocks were. I started helping
him during the Denver Show, I did that for some 15 years and learned a
lot just talking to him and listening to his explanations, and
eventually he got me interested by meteorites too. That led to the
translation of his first “Meteorites” book, and then a few of his
articles. And it also led to the creation to my website,
www.IMPACTIKA.com, almost twelve years
I am now retired and thoroughly independent, I travel when possible, and
I attend a few shows: Tucson, Ensisheim (Yes, I am a member of the
Confrerie de Saint Georges des Gardiens de la Meteorite de Ensisheim!),
and of course Denver. My website has grown by leaps and bounds as I got
more involved in consignment work. And a few years ago I added
thin-sections to the inventory. I have also been involved with the
invention and original publication of “Meteorites from A to Z”, and I
recently translated Alain Carion latest “Meteorites” book; all the while
watching the phenomenal growth of the IMCA.
Let me tell you a little about myself and meteorites. I began the
journey into meteorite collecting in 2003 when Carol (my wife) gave me a
42.3g oriented Sikhote-Alin as a gift. We are both amateur astronomers
and have spent many nights in the mountains of Colorado watching meteor
showers which inspired her to purchase the Sikhote sample for me. She
had no idea what that little sample would start! The first day was spent
fascinated with this sample viewing it with an eye loupe to examine
every regmaglypt and flow line it would show me. I just could not get
over what this sample represented and the journey it had traveled to end
up in my hand.
This led to many hours
searching the Internet for more information about meteorites, leading me
to the Denver Gem and Mineral show and then on to Tucson. Through the
research and shows I have met many, many outstanding people in our
meteorite community and one of them, Anne Black, introduced me to the
IMCA and I became a member.
I really enjoy participating with the IMCA through supporting the
Encyclopedia of Meteorites and now as a board member. Through the years
I have met many IMCA members at both the Tucson and Denver shows and
look forward to meeting more of you!
I am chairman and CEO of FEI Group, America's largest residential trade
contracting organization, based in Atlanta, Georgia (www.feigroup.net).
I am also is a co-founder and director of The Scotty Foundation (www.carecuredream.org),
which helps pediatric cancer patients and their families both directly
and through Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, The Ronald McDonald House
and Camp Sunshine. I live in Milton, Georgia, with my 7-year-old
daughter Maddie and a few rocks from space.
I am also one of the a
founding members of the Meteorite Association of Georgia (www.meteoriteassociationofgeorgia.org),
if you live in this part of the US, let me know if you would like to
A few years ago I developed an Outreach program, and I know do
Presentations to schools as often as possible. I love introducing the
subjects of meteorites and meteoritics to several thousand students in
Georgia each year, using specimens in my collection as examples. Some of
my collection and the work I do with students can be seen at
The picture above is of one of my favorite and prized specimens: a
277.6-gram complete L'Aigle individual.
I have been a meteorite collector, hunter, and IMCA member for seven
years. My meteorite collection started innocently enough with a
sculptural 200-gram Sikhote Alin shaped like a perched buzzard. Now it
houses a boot, Scotty dog, comma, bullet, canoe, whale, angel wing,
peeper frog, a flock of seagulls, five hearts, a duck playing hockey, a
dolphin, flying saucer, and a dead-ringer for Bob from the movie
Monsters Vs. Aliens.
I am a small-time
hunter who now lives in Arizona, where there is no shortage of
strewnfields to peruse. One of my proudest moments as a hunter came
several years ago when I hit the Arizona Trifecta, having found a stone
in each of the Holbrook, Gold Basin, and Franconia fields plus an iron
in Franconia, all within a span of four days. The credit for my finding
that particular Gold Basin goes to Jim Kriegh, who practically sent me
to the exact spot where I would find that stone less than twenty minutes
after having arrived there.
My background is that of an Organizational Consultant, from which I have
gained much experience managing many different types of businesses and
many types of business-related difficulties. I also have a sales
background and experience fundraising. I have been the IMCA "Treasurer
to the Stars" since 2007 and value many IMCA members and non-members as
my greatest friends.
I remember growing up in a semi-rural town called Somerville located on
the Mornington Peninsula south of Melbourne, Australia. But there was
one night I remember in particular. I was dragged outside by my parents
one cold night during 1986 to see something called Halley's Comet. My
father showed me how to use the big cumbersome binoculars and I could
distinctly make out the white fuzzy object hanging in the dark starlit
sky. I was told it was a comet zooming through our solar system and
something that I would not see again until I was an old man. Wow I
thought! And that set off an interest that would persist through to the
Some 15 years later I
was browsing the internet one day and stumbled across Jim Strope's
website selling Sikhote-Alin meteorites. Like many people, I was amazed
to discover that there was a whole world of meteorites out there and
better yet… you could actually own them!!! I still have that first small
Sikhote I bought from Jim and will always hold onto it. I wanted to know
all I could about meteorites and learn as much as possible but in those
days there were not a lot of websites and good photos of the various
meteorites were few and far between (even in books). It was through that
pursuit of information and decent photos of meteorites that my website
Meteorites Australia was born. If I couldn't find it then I'd make it
myself. My plan for Meteorites Australia right from the beginning was to
build a site slowly over time and use that goal to teach myself about
meteorites along the way. It's almost a decade since then and now a
number of scientific institutions use the website as a reference so I
guess it has now come full circle.
During that same time period, the IMCA was born and quickly became
something I wanted to be a part of and help with. In July, 2004 both
Norbert Classen and myself were invited to join the Board of Directors
and we became part of the team that would take us from an initial idea
to a full legally incorporated international association. I am now in my
third term as a Director and holding my second officer position as Vice
President. The other position was that of Secretary during my first
term. It has actually been a privilege to be part of building something
for meteorites that will hopefully be around many years into the future
and to make many friends along the way.
Quite a bit has changed since that first small Sikhote. I started
collecting smaller specimens of just about everything I could find so I
could learn as much as possible about each classification. It took
several years but I eventually started to move my collecting habits in a
particular direction towards primitive chondrites. I still like to
collect interesting pieces of other classes but I find these meteorites
to be particularly interesting and important in what they represent.
After all we are all just chondrites and stardust!
So where to from here? Well stay tuned because my biggest meteorite
project is in the pipeline!"
Larry A. Lebofsky
Before I retired several years ago, I was a planetary astronomer for 30
years. While I have published papers on Mercury, the Moon, Jupiter's
satellites, Saturn's rings and satellites, Pluto and its large satellite
Charon, and comets, the main focus of my professional research was the
study of asteroids—the source of most of the meteorites in our
My interest in
meteorites came about when I first started studying the reflectance
properties of asteroids and was able to identify clay minerals on Ceres
and other low-albedo asteroids by comparing their spectra to the spectra
of CI and CM chondrites.
Twenty years ago, my wife, Nancy, and I felt that we could use our
science and education skills in order to bring the excitement of
astronomy to elementary and middle school teachers and their students,
and so we became science educators. For this, Nancy and I now have
asteroids named after us, 3439 Lebofsky and 5052 Nancyruth. I also was
honored by the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American
Astronomical Society with its “Carl Sagan Medal for Excellence in Public
Communication in Planetary Science” in 2000.
Now that I am retired from my full-time university position, I am
devoting most of my time to science education, including five years as
editor of Meteorite magazine (with Nancy). However, I still do some
observing. I am part of a team of amateur astronomers who are fortunate
enough to get telescope time on Kitt Peak's 2.1-meter telescope to do
follow-up observations of Near-Earth Objects, thus improving our
knowledge of their orbits so that we can find them the next time they
pass by the Earth and try to determine if they will come close enough to
provide us with more meteorites or leave a large hole in the ground!
Andrzej S. Pilski
I live in Poland, in the small town of Frombork, where Nicolaus
Copernicus spent most of his life, died and was entombed in the
cathedral, where his remains were identified recently.
A small crater,
possibly meteoritic, is situated close to town. Researchers found that
there is four times more of meteoritic dust close to the crater than
elsewhere. I spent many hours looking for meteorites around that crater,
with no result. It has long been a cultivated area and meteorites could
have been removed from the fields together with many common terrestrial
stones. According to a recent examination the crater is about 8000 years
old, so it is not of glacier origin.
My job and hobby is to show astronomy science for the general public in
a small planetarium next to the Copernicus Tower. I have worked here
nearly 40 years. I am married, have two children and three
About 20 years ago I realized, that meteorites may be a great way to
make astronomy more familiar for people. They offer the possibility to
look closely or even touch a piece of a distant celestial body.
My first meteorite, Canyon Diablo, I bought from Bob Haag. Now I am an
experienced collector, preparator of irons, and author of many articles
(you could read some in the Meteorite magazine) and a few books on
meteorites (in Polish). First I wish to help Polish collectors, who are
not very fluent in English. While collecting meteorites I have found
many friends in many countries and I feel it is a great bonus.
In the picture above: Andrzej S. Pilski and the 35 kg endpiece
cut and etched by him from the largest Morasko mass (164 kg).
I am a Russian living in Prague, Czech Republic. My first meteorite
hunting trip was in 1992 to the Sikhote-Alin strewn field.
In 1993 I came to the
Tucson Show for the first time and I was able to see Robert Haag's
meteorite collection. After that I completely moved from minerals into
I have made several meteorite hunting trips to the hot deserts. Gobi,
Kara-Kum, Sahara, Omani desert, Kalahari. And the picture, above, shows
the large mass of Ghubara that I found in Oman.
I like computer coding and creating some online projects. The biggest
one so far has been the Encyclopedia of Meteorites.
article has been edited by Anne Black and Norbert Classen
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