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January-February 2009

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Who's Who in Mineral Names: Ernest Henry Nickel

(b. 1925)



Ernienickelite was named in honor of Dr. Ernest “Ernie” Nickel for his outstanding contributions to our knowledge of the mineralogy and origin of economic mineral deposits and for his many years of dedicated service to the International Mineralogical Association’s (IMA) Commission on New Minerals and Mineral Names (CNMMN), now the Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature, and Classification (CNMNC). Ernie was born in Louth, Ontario, Canada, on 31 August 1925. During his childhood on a hard-scrabble farm in the years of the Great Depression, he was intrigued by the great variety of pebbles in the glacial debris that comprised the farm soil. Where could they have come from? But his abiding interest in the wonderful world of minerals was sparked by a school excursion to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, which, even in those days, housed a great display of rocks and minerals. That was a career worth pursuing!
Dr. William D. Birch is senior curator (geosciences) at Museum Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


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