The National Speleological Society is pleased to present video presentations of its long-awaited "Luminary Series" — featuring pioneering cave explorers, karst scientists, and other long-time NSS members. These talks are designed to give young and old cavers alike the opportunity to learn from some of the true superstars in our Society.
This program is the brainchild of AVP Geary Schindel and Dave Hughes; the videos are produced by Dave Socky and Webmaster Alex Sproul. Recommendations for future speakers are encouraged.
2013 CONVENTION, SHIPPENSBURG, PA
Dr. Palmer is one of the most famous cave scientists who has ever lived—but he remains friendly, courteous, and kind. Art is an extremely charismatic speleologist and he is truly a terrifically great guy. Art completed his Ph.D. at Indiana University in 1969, and subsequently pursued a productive and distinguished career at the State University of New York at Oneonta. In addition, he has held adjunct professorships at both Mississippi State University and at Western Kentucky University. Art has served on the editorial staff of many prestigious scientific journals—including those published in Britain, China, France, Hungary, Slovenia, and the United States. A brilliant writer himself, Art has authored numerous journal articles, various booklets, and several full-length books. His 2007 book entitled Cave Geology is a beautifully produced and extremely popular text. Download a copy (56:39, 86 MB)
Roger W. Brucker first went to Mammoth Cave when he was only 8 years of age and thus began a lifelong love affair with that region of Kentucky. Along the way, Roger would establish relationships with such legends as Jim Dyer and Bill Austin. And, he would help to found the Cave Research Foundation—an organization that developed appropriate and repeatable approaches to working with the National Park Service. Among many other skills, Roger is a prolific author who has penned many books about caves and caving. Many people's favorite is the classic tome about the 1954 Collins Crystal Cave (C3) Expedition entitled The Caves Beyond. A few other fabulous books that Roger has co-authored include The Longest Cave, a comprehensive story devoted to the Mammoth-Flint Ridge Cave System; Beyond Mammoth Cave detailing the saga of Roppel Cave and its connection to Mammoth; and Trapped!—an exciting tale about Floyd Collins. Roger also taught the "Speleology" course at Western Kentucky University for a quarter-century. Download a copy (1:07:34, 106 MB)
In 1952, while laboring away in the Charleston, WV area on graduate work in chemical engineering at MIT, and dating a local lady, Rane had occasion to meet her brother—none other than the legendary WV caver John "Bud" Rutherford. Rane began caving with Rutherford and a teammate named Bob Handley. After returning to school in Cambridge, MA, Rane continued pursuing his new interest in caves with members of the Boston Grotto. After graduating in 1955, he moved to the bay area of California and—along with Bill Halliday, George Moore, and Howard Shugart—formed the San Francisco Bay Chapter of the NSS. In 1960, Rane and two co-authors penned the "NSS Policy for Cave Conservation." The next winter, he attended the 3rd ICS in Vienna, and then accepted a research appointment in London. While overseas, Rane embarked on a 12,000 kilometer motorcycle tour of Europe. Applying a chemical engineer's perspective to speleology, Dr. Curl has published on topics such as a statistical theory of cave entrance evolution; the relationship between cave scallop geometry and water flow velocity; the aragonite-calcite problem; and speleothem dating and growth. Among many other things, Rane chaired the 8th ICS, edited the first 4 issues of American Caving Accidents, and served as President of the NSS. Download a copy (48:57, 79 MB)
2012 CONVENTION, GREENBRIER VALLEY, WV
Jeanne Gurnee is one of the most accomplished women in the history of American speleology. In addition to having served the NSS in many ways, including as president, Jeanne is Vice President and Trustee of the National Speleological Foundation, and for a number of years was a member of the board of the National Caves Association. Somehow, all of these administrative duties have not prevented Jeanne Gurnee from enjoying more than a half-century of adventure underground. Download a copy (43:09, 99 MB)
WILLIAM B. "WILL" WHITE
Dr. Will White is one of the most prolific, famous, and well-loved cave scientists on the planet. Will's career has taken him to an expansive array of dark, scary, and far-away places while coaxing secrets out of the earth. A long and distinguished career at Penn State University hs given Dr. White the occasion to pursue significant ground-breaking science, supervise numerous excellent students, and enjoy a lot of interesting, challenging, and humorous adventures along the way. Download a copy (48:36, 82 MB)
DWIGHT "DIRTDOC" DEAL
In addition to being a rock-climber, a mountaineer, a hiker, a scuba diver, a canoeist, a whitewater river runner, a pilot, an engineer, and a scientist, Dwight Deal has enjoyed a great life as a cave explorer. Loaded with funny anecdotes, fabulous photography, and a great store of tales and skills, Dwight Deal's presentations are always popular features at caving events. Dwight's talk here explains a thing or two about calcite—and also employs the double-refraction property of calcite as a metaphor for his lifetime of adventure both above and below the ground. Download a copy (53:19, 109 MB)
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