Life, the universe, and everything:
A recent letter that has come, individually, to almost every program officer in the Earth Sciences Division:
I have been a Professional Engineer for over thirty years. I have a BS in Civil Engineering from Michigan Technological University and a MS in Civil Engineering from Michigan State University. I have a broad background of experience and a long-standing interest in rocks and geology.
I have spent several years in puzzling over the process of periodic uplift and subsidence of large areas of rocks that has resulted in the formation of sedimentary rock formations. The simple word ¡§uplifted¡¨ is used extensively by scientists but, even though understanding the process is basic to understanding nearly all aspects of geology; though evidence of the process of uplift is abundant on all of the continents; and though uplift has been the subject of considerable research, concern and debate in the geological research community; scientists do not seem to understand the very basis of the phenomenon itself. It is certainly not well-explained by any scientific hypothesis that is related to the subject. ¡§Confusion reigns!¡¨
I have used engineering principles and analysis; principles of physics, hydraulics, thermodynamics, and mechanics of materials; integrative theory; logical deduction; my own investigations and observations; the sifting of extensive existing data and analyses; physical laws; common sense, experience, the process of elimination, and other problem-solving techniques to study the mechanics of the process. As indicated above, the process is not an isolated phenomenon, but rather is closely related to most aspects of geology. Attempting to do geological research without understanding this basic process is much like shooting in the dark and hoping to hit something.
I believe that I can explain well beyond a reasonable doubt how the process has functioned and, because the topics are closely related, why many overthrusts, ¡§out of order¡¨ formations, mountain chains, continental shelves, discontinuities, and islands exist as they do; why the continents are configured as they are; why there are terrestrial features on continental shelves; why there are land fossils in sea-deposited rocks; why there are tropical fossils in polar regions; why there are fossil similarities of cross-Atlantic sediments; why many of the rock formations were deposited in shallow-sea conditions; why some petroleum occurs where it does; why the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge are where they are; why some of the Earth¡¦s basic physical processes are as they are; and the reasons for the differences between oceanic and continental crust.
In addition, I believe I can resolve the questions concerning continental drift beyond a reasonable doubt, especially as it relates to the concepts of the following which need to be revised or put to rest completely:
?« Plate tectonics, wrench tectonics, surge tectonics,
?« Seafloor spreading
?« Lemuria, Atlantis, Hyperborea, The Imperishable Sacred Land
?« Rodinia, Pangaea, Laurasia, Gondwanaland,
?« India¡¦s ¡§flight and movement¡¨ into Tibet, and
?« The ¡§fit¡¨ of Africa and South America.
I am well aware that the above suggests much too broad of a scope for a single research project, but the fact is that the process of uplift and subsidence is such a very basic (but misunderstood) factor in the Earth¡¦s history that all of the above topics are actually very closely related to the process, each in its own way, and as such are an integral part of the explanation of it or it explains them. The pieces fit together like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Also, a large part of the proof of my explanation is the extent to which it embraces the findings of other researchers regarding these topics. I may not have extracted the same conclusions from the basic data they have gathered, but my explanation seems to be in accord with much of previously accumulated data that I have studied and with physical reality and I believe it demonstrates well beyond a reasonable doubt the validity or invalidity of the conclusions they drew from their research as well as my conclusions.
This study has the very probable potential of completely changing long-standing ideas as to the Earth¡¦s history and some of its processes.
Because of its wide-ranging applicability and the close correlation of the above-listed topics, it is expected that the results of this research will revolutionize the present state of knowledge in the field. All who study any aspect of the processes that have affected the Earth from Precambrian times to the present will benefit from this study.
It will shed new light on the basic processes which formed sedimentary rocks and subsequently elevated them which should aid in further discovery of natural resources, including offshore oil and gas, a very important economic activity in the world.
The broader impacts of the study are that it will contribute significant information concerning an obscure period and the substantial increase in knowledge will provide the basis for major revisions in the scientific understanding of prehistorical processes. The study results are multi-disciplinary and will have a profound effect on the research fields of Continental Dynamics, Archaeology and Archaeometry, Geophysics, Hydrologic Sciences, Petrology and Geochemistry, Tectonics, Geography and Regional Sciences, Geomorphology and Land Use Dynamics, Marine Geology and Geophysics, Paleoclimatology, as well as Sedimentary Geology and Paleobiology.
Researchers who are working on a broad range of problems worldwide will benefit directly and measurably from the results. The results of this research will provide future investigators with a solid integrated foundation for further geologic studies rather than a jumble of nebulous, ill-founded hypotheses. This study will provide members of the scientific community with a scientific and structured understanding of their geologic environment that is 99% certain rather than being 90% nebulous. It also will provide an educational resource for students as they study geology such that they can appreciate the relationship among Earth's development, geologic events, and the history of life.
My questions are: I have spent literally thousands of hours researching this subject and puzzling over what I have observed and the meanings of the findings of very reputable researchers attempting to put the puzzle pieces together. Is there any way that the time I have spent on this research can be included in a grant? Can a grant be awarded for a set amount based on attainment of a specific goal (explanation of all of the above-listed
phenomena) rather than being based on time spent after award of the grant?
Considering the knowledge, skill, and ability required to assemble the giant jigsaw puzzle, the great amount of time spent in doing so, and the apparent inability of anyone else being able to do so, would it be reasonable to apply for a grant of $4,000,000 as a flat rate consultant fee? I realize that that is a lot of money for one research project, but on the other hand, a lot more has been spent on unproductive research related to the listed phenomena and this should help your organization avoid spending a lot more on research that is based on a poor foundation.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter.
**Name and address removed for safety reasons**
At $4 million, the solutions to all these quandaries are a bargain. What do you say, fellow taxpayers?
As required, I sent a polite reply outlining the application procedure. He might well have *the answer,* but here at NSF, everyone gets in line. Even Nobel Prize winners.
Now, back to being 90% nebulous.