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2017/09/20

In Memoriam

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Fara N. Lindsay (1961-2017)

Fara Lindsay, an astute petrologist, inspiring teacher, and talented dancer, died on June 14, 2017 from cancer. A native of Bayonne, NJ, she received a B.A. from SUNY, Brockport in 1983 with a concentration in movement analysis and went on to dance professionally with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and in Europe with the Broadway Musical Company. In the late 1990s, she returned to the academy, enrolling at Rutgers University, New Brunswick where she earned a second bachelor’s degree -- a B.S. this time, with a double major in Chemistry and Geology -- and then in 2009 a Ph.D. under the direction of volcanologist Michael J. Carr (https://rucore.libraries.rutgers.edu/rutgers-lib/26351/).

From 2009 through 2017 Fara did research on extraterrestrial materials with our group at Rutgers, where she was a superb mentor for undergraduates. She was equally at home with the electron microprobe, the petrographic microscope, or a centrifuge tube, although given her ‘druthers she’d always choose the probe. She brought her considerable skills to bear on problems related to the Moon, meteorites, and micrometeorites. Her main focus was 40Ar/39Ar dating of microsamples of meteorites, by means of which she examined a rich chronological landscape not readily accessible from analyses of bulk materials or mineral separates. A study of the achondrite GRA 06128,9 showed how the intrusion of a glass vein could reset the argon clock (Lindsay et al., 2014); the ages of certain grains from the Kapoeta howardite suggested that the RheaSilvia basin on Vesta formed late (Lindsay et al., 2015a); the variability of Chelyabinsk (LL5) ages provided a graphic chronometric demonstration of the heterogeneity of shock effects (Lindsay et al., 2015b); and the diverse ages recorded by the martian breccia NWA 7034 include a dominant signal at 1.4 Ga (Lindsay et al., 2016).

In 2016 Fara joined the MoonDB program at Lamont-Doherty Geological Laboratories with Kerstin Lehnert.

As part of a personal statement in 2011, Fara wrote:
My great uncle left his rock and mineral collection to me in his will.  I was 10 at the time and had no understanding of rock type or mineralogy, but sensibly sorted them into shiny and pretty, shiny, those that glowed under black light and those that were just okay.  With a few basic books form the library, I made several identifications, but many objects remained a mystery to me.  After high school, my uncle’s collection was forgotten while I embarked upon a career in the arts.  Yet even then, my fascination with all things sparkly remained kindled by reading books detailing ancient and historic uses of minerals and stones, and working at the jewelry counter of a department store.  I kept the rock and mineral collection with me across Europe until I returned to college.

Fara leaves behind many friends among whom we are glad to count ourselves. The echo of her laughter resonates in the halls of Rutgers Geology Department.

Gail Ashley
Jerry Delaney
Gregory Herzog
Jisun Park
Carl Swisher
Brent Turrin

12:19 | Obituary