segunda-feira, 4 de agosto de 2008

'Earthquake man' still teaching at 80

SUNY Potsdam geology professor Frank A. Revetta stands next to a seismograph in Timerman Hall on the SUNY Potsdam campus.


WHO: Frank A. Revetta, 80, SUNY Potsdam's distinguished-service professor of geology, who teaches all year, including winter and summer terms.
The founder of the Potsdam Seismology Network, he maintains nine field stations across the north country that monitor and record earthquakes.
WHAT DO YOU STUDY? "Most people know me because of my work with earthquakes. Everywhere I go, they call me 'the earthquake man.' I get calls from a lot of local people when they think they felt something. In fact, I don't often know an earthquake has occurred until people call me.
"The main thing I do is go to the seismograph and verify. That's a contribution, because people really don't know what the things are they feel — it could be ground blasting at a mine, sonic booms, frost quakes."
SO WHAT ELSE DO YOU RESEARCH? "I'm a geophysicist. That covers a broad field. Right now, I'm working on gravity data collected at a zinc mine. I do a lot of work in the community. I'm also working with students on the archaeological excavation at Fort La Presentation in Ogdensburg. It's a lot of community service, mostly geophysics applied to problems."
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AT SUNY POTSDAM? "Since 1962 — so that's 46 years. I am probably the oldest person in the college. I don't know. I haven't checked. But I like my work so much. It's so exciting for me. It's the searching that's all the fun — and when you find the answer, it's not so interesting anymore. But I find out that I teach a lot of students whose parents I taught too."
HAVE THE STUDENTS CHANGED? "The students are not bad at all. There's a lot of potential. The main thing I try to do is get them to love science as much as I do. The one thing, though, is I can't get them to do as much work today as I could years ago. They're just not as hardworking, but they're still good."
HOW DO YOU WORK WITH THEM? "I only do research with students. It's all part of my courses. I never work on a project myself. That's one way I teach. I think sometimes that's the best way of teaching."
DO YOU HAVE ANY HOBBIES? "My work is my primary interest. One reason I'm still working is I don't have any hobbies. That's not the way I am. The only thing I have besides my work is my family, of course. I'd much rather be here than not working. My wife (Joann M.) knows I'm better off working than not, so she doesn't pester me to retire."
If you would like to recommend an exceptional senior citizen to be featured here, contact reporter Alex Jacobs at 265-2750 or e-mail her at

fonte: Watertown Daily Times.

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