Going Black Tie with the Rock Hounds

My experience with tuxedos has been limited to proms and weddings up until now, but today I’m renting a penguin suit for a most unexpected event: the geological equivalent of the Nobel Prize. Bet you didn’t know there was one! Actually, the Vetlesen Prize has been awarded every few years since 1959. This year’s winner is Walter Alvarez, who discovered the first clues that an asteroid plowed into the Earth 65 million years ago. The discovery was not just cool in and of itself, but changed the way scientists think about how surprising physical events can alter the course of evolution. I’ve spoken once to Alvarez on the phone, traded some email, and written the foreword to the new edition of his book, T. Rex and the Crater of Doom. So I’m excited to be suiting up today. I don’t think live-blogging is appropriate to the event, but I’ll report back once I’ve returned to civilian gear.