SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — Called the definitive modern source for data on all mineral species, the multi-volume Handbook of Mineralogy, co-authored by Ken Bladh, provost and professor of geology, has just been completed with the publication of the fifth and final 813-page volume on Borates, Carbonates and Sulfates.
Adopted by the Mineralogical Society of America as its standard database, the 3,613-page five-volume set, used by hundreds of reference libraries, mineralogists and mineral collectors, culminates Bladh’s 15-year research collaboration with colleagues John W. Anthony, Richard A. Bideaux and Monte C. Nichols.
“I'm very grateful that we were able to finish this project and give it a life of its own now with the Mineralogical Society of America,” Bladh said.
Encouraged to pursue the project by his mentor John Anthony, a professor of geology at the University of Arizona where Bladh earned both his M.S. and Ph.D., Bladh and his colleagues, also former students of Anthony’s, were motivated by the absence 15 years ago of a modern compilation of this type in any language. The result is now a comprehensive compilation and critical review of the diagnostic physical and chemical properties and the origins of 3,400 known mineral species.
“Most thought that we were nuts to try such an huge project, and most doubted that we would complete it,” Bladh said. “The response from professionals who work with minerals and require accurate data has been very gratifying.” The authors have even established a $5 reward for every error verified in the set, which has been reviewed worldwide. “There have been few takers,” Bladh added, noting that the most common error is misspelled locality names.
In addition to serving as Wittenberg’s provost, the chief academic officer and second-ranking administrator, Bladh teaches mineralogy, physical geology and economic geology. He also tutors students in the geologic applications of X-ray analysis, scanning electron microscopy and lapidary preparation.
A 1969 graduate of Wittenberg, Bladh, who shares an appointment at Wittenberg with his wife, Katherine Laing Bladh, associate professor of geology, joined the geology faculty in 1978.
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