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Arthur Holmes (1890-1965) took up his position as Regius Professor of Geology at Edinburgh University in October 1943. I was privileged to be one of three students in his first class on Advanced Physical Geology. Holmes was a brilliant and lucid lecturer, though he appeared shy and made little eye contact with us. He lectured partly from the manuscript of his forthcoming Principles of Physical Geology (1944), developing his ideas about convection in Earth's mantle, the movement of continents and the opening of new oceans. My dated notes from this class are in the University's Special Collections. Although Professor Holmes was my supervisor there was no question of Professor Holmes going to the field with me even to the immediate vicinity of the Geology Department and his home.
Doris Reynolds (Mrs Arthur Holmes) was a very energetic and stimulating geologist. In Edinburgh she was a Research Fellow and not a member of the teaching staff. The granite controversy was then at its height. The "space problem" was taken seriously, and the idea that granite magma was produced from basalt by crystal fractionation seemed unlikely. Laboratory experiments were unable to settle the matter, and arguments in the Geological Magazine sometimes became personal. Doris Reynolds was a fighter and relished controversy and particularly the opportunity of arguing her view at the Geological Society (London) before a mainly male audience. I had the privilege of publishing jointly with Mrs Holmes prior to her joint publication with her husband. Arthur and Doris gave Ann and me a wedding present of silver napkin-rings inscribed D and A – which could stand equally for their names or ours. We have used them at almost every meal for 44 years.
C.E. Wegmann, Professor of Geology, the University of Neuchâtel; skilled in alpine tectonics and in the geology of Fennoscandia and Greenland. Student and successor of Emile Argand.
Emile Argand, student of Maurice Lugeon, Lausanne, and Professor of Geology at Neuchâtel. Brilliant alpine geologist and global tectonician. Argand had died before my arrival in Neuchâtel, but his office was still intact as he had left it – with his hat and correspondence still on his desk. Professor Wegmann gave me Argand's package of unfinished cigars and matches, and lent me Argand's cloak (cloaks were normal dress in those days). Argand's drawings and geological sections were still in the map room at the Institute of Geology.
This photograph was taken by Wegmann and the copy he gave to me he inscribed "Au petit-fils tectonique d' Emile Argand, déc. 1948". On the reverse Wegmann wrote: "Monsieur Argand dessinant la carte de l'Eurasie, juin 1922. Wegmann. Photo."
Inscribed in his hand: