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May-June 2011

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Chips from the Quarry: May/June 2011

CARNEGIE AWARD PRESENTED: The Rochester Mineralogical Symposium, an annual event held in Rochester, New York, for the past thirty-eight years, was honored as recipient of the Carnegie Mineralogical Award for 2010. As in past years, the award was presented during the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society's Saturday evening banquet and program, held 12 February of this year. The annual award honors outstanding contributions in mineralogical preservation, conservation, and education that match the ideals advanced in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History's Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems. It was established in 1987 and is underwritten by the Hillman Foundation.

Caption: Samuel Taylor (left), director of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, announced the Rochester Mineralogical Symposium as recipient of the 2010 Carnegie Mineralogical Award and presented the award to symposium representatives Bob Morgan (center) and Steven Chamberlain (right).

Caption: Samuel Taylor (left), director of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, announced the Rochester Mineralogical Symposium as recipient of the 2010 Carnegie Mineralogical Award and presented the award to symposium representatives Bob Morgan (center) and Steven Chamberlain (right).

The Rochester Mineralogical Symposium is the twenty-fourth winner of the award. As subscribers will recall, the symposium was described in detail in the article titled “Rochester Mineralogical Symposium, A World-Class Event” (November/December 2007, pages 490–492) by perennial chairman Dr. Steven C. Chamberlain, who, along with Bob Morgan, accepted the award on behalf of the symposium committee.

The symposium, held annually in April, offers an extended weekend that blends professionals and amateurs and features speakers from this country and abroad, an afternoon-long abstract program with printed book, poster sessions, a micromounter's room, multiple social activities, and a dealers' floor that is never allowed to be open during lectures. For serious mineral collectors, the place to be in February is Tucson, and, come April, the place to be is Rochester.

So many mineral memories are tied to the symposium: Who will ever forget Fred Pough's last visit to the symposium in celebration of his one hundredth birthday (2006); the year of the Paul Desautels roast (1982; see article in the January/February 1983 issue); the lectures by such luminaries as Abe Rosenzweig, Mick Cooper, Wendell Wilson, and Paul Moore, to name a few; the late-night fire drills and hotel evacuations; the midnight “bowling for minerals” in the dealers' hallway; or even the first time you went to the symposium (for me, it was 1981).

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2011 award. Private mineral collectors, educators, curators, mineral clubs and societies, events, museums, universities, and publications are eligible. For a nomination form, go to or contact Marc L. Wilson, section of Minerals and Gems, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 4400 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213; email

BEST PAPER AWARD: The Friends of Mineralogy (FM) named László Horváth and Elsa Pfenninger-Horváth as winners of the Best Paper in Rocks & Minerals Award for 2010 for their article titled “Mineralogy of the Alpine-type Fissures and Talc Deposit at Saint-Pierre-de-Broughton, Quebec, Canada,” published in the November/December issue, pages 494–511. The award was presented during the awards banquet at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in February. In addition to the Award of Merit given to the authors, the magazine received a grant of $200 in their names. We congratulate the Horváths and thank FM for this significant annual recognition.

PINCH MEDAL PRESENTED: Alf Olav Larsen, of Stathelle, Norway, is the 2011 recipient of the Pinch Medal for his major contributions to mineralogy during the past several decades. The medal was presented at the awards banquet at the 2011 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.

The Mineralogical Association of Canada instituted the Pinch Medal to be awarded biennually, beginning in 2001, to recognize major and sustained contributions to the advancement of mineralogy by members of the collector-dealer community. This medal is named for William Wallace Pinch of Rochester, New York, in recognition of his enormous and selfless contributions to mineralogy.

Caption: Alf Olav, of Norway, received the 2011 Pinch Medal.

Caption: Alf Olav, of Norway, received the 2011 Pinch Medal.

Larsen, an electronics engineer by profession, is a self-taught mineralogist who has been involved in the description of six new mineral species (gadolinite-(Ce), chiavennite, tvedalite, grenmarite, heulandite-Ba, and eirkite) and has cooperated with many professional mineralogists and amateurs from several countries. His main interest is the mineralogy of alkaline provinces, with a focus on the Langesundsfjord nepheline syenite pegmatites (the Larvik Plutonic Complex). He is the author or coauthor of more than seventy-five publications in the scientific and popular literature on a variety of topics related to mineralogy, and he recently published the book Langesundsfjord–History, Geology, Pegmatites, Minerals (see Media Reviews, November/December 2010 for a review of the book). The mineral alflarsenite is named after him.

MINDAT CONFERENCE: You enjoyed reading Alfredo Petrov's article in the September/October 2010 issue celebrating the tenth anniversary of the popular Mindat website. Now comes an opportunity to attend the first-ever Mindat International Mineralogical Conference, which will be held 10–17 July in Lwówek Śląski, Lower Silesia, Poland, in conjunction with the town's fourteenth annual Crystal Days Festival. As the town comes out to celebrate the mineralogical heritage of their region, the combined events offer something for everyone: an opening-day parade and ceremony, three days of field trips, approximately twenty talks, demonstrations, slide shows (with beer), live music, a session for and by young collectors, formal (short) mineralogical papers and poster presentations, two mineral shows, nightly entertainment, informal trips of historical interest, hands-on workshops, and a closing ceremony with fireworks. For a detailed program and to register for the conference, visit

WHERE TO ORDER: The November/December 2010 issue carried a glowing review of the beautiful publication The Mineral Art of Hildegard Könighofer but failed to mention that BlueCap Productions is the sole U.S. distributor of the book. For ordering details, go to website

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: The Houston Gem and Mineral Society, in memory of Arthur E. Smith, and the Cincinnati Mineral Society underwrote color costs in the Connoisseur's Choice column; Maryann and John Fender (Fender Natural Resources) did the same for the Museum Notes column; and donors to the Color Fund contributed to color in the remaining articles. All are thanked for their generosity in partnering with Rocks & Minerals to support color photography in the magazine.

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