CaltechOralHistories
  The Caltech Institute Archives

Interview with Heinz A. Lowenstam

Lowenstam, Heinz A. (1991) Interview with Heinz A. Lowenstam. [Oral History] (Unpublished) http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechOH:OH_Lowenstam_H

This is the latest version of this item.

[img]
Preview
PDF
See Usage Policy.

1398Kb

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item: http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechOH:OH_Lowenstam_H

Abstract

Interview conducted in eight sessions in the summer of 1988 with Heinz A. Lowenstam, professor of paleoecology. Dr. Lowenstam was born in Germany and educated at the universities of Frankfurt and Munich. He emigrated to the United States in 1937 to continue his graduate studies in geology and paleontology at the University of Chicago, receiving the PhD there in 1939. After a stint at the Illinois State Museum, he joined the Chicago faculty in 1948, working with Harold C. Urey on paleotemperatures. He joined Caltech's Geology Division in 1952 as a professor of paleoecology, pursuing research in a variety of fields. In 1962, he identified iron in chiton teeth, the first known instance of biomineralization, later found in such diverse creatures as bacteria, honeybees, and birds. In this interview, he recalls the difficulties he faced as a Jew in Nazi Germany, his graduate work in Palestine in the mid-1930s, his life as an émigré, his investigation of Silurian fossils in the Chicago area, and his interaction with such mentors and colleagues at Chicago as Urey, N. L. Bowen, Bailey Willis, Bryan Patterson, and Karl Schmidt. He discusses the evolution of the Geology Division at Caltech; its important move, under division chairman Robert P. Sharp, into geochemistry in the early 1950s; his work on the paleoecology of marine organisms; his recollections of Caltech colleagues, including Sam Epstein, Beno Gutenberg, Hugo Benioff, James Westphal, Max Delbruck, and George Rossman; and the changes that took place in the division over the decades since his arrival.


Item Type:Oral History
Keywords:Geology, geobiology
Record Number:CaltechOH:OH_Lowenstam_H
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechOH:OH_Lowenstam_H
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
Subjects:Subjects > Biology
Subjects > Geology
All Records
ID Code:66
Collection:CaltechOralHistories
Deposited By: Oral Histories Administrator
Deposited On:17 Nov 2003
Last Modified:26 Dec 2012 07:04

Available Versions of this Item

Repository Staff Only: item control page