Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Arizona Karate Instructor Nominated for Top Scientist

It's not everyday a Hall-of-Fame Grandmaster and instructor of Karate and Kobudo is considered as a Top Scientist. That's right, it just never happens! Well, almost never. But, why a top scientist? Is karate now a science?

Soke Hausel, an Arizona martial arts instructor, is also a Hall-of-Fame geologist as well as a Hall-of-Fame Martial Arts Instructor. Combining these skills helps him select rocks for his students. No, he doesn't try to convert them to rockhounds, instead he teaches them a little about the toughness of various rocks so they can break them with their hands (and sometimes with their heads). For instance, a friable sandstone is the easiest to break (but will leave grains of sand stuck in your head or hand) and along with this type of sandstone, there are shales that are relatively easy to break - but he tells his students to avoid shale simply because it often breaks with a conchoidal fracture similar to glass and potentially can severely cut the student. But if you are from certain parts of Canada or Colorado, you may be stuck with oil shale. It smells, but what the heck!

Soke Hausel teaches students at the University of Wyoming
the proper way to break rocks. Here, they are learning about
limestone. If you try this without proper instruction and 

training, you will break your hand.
Then there are other rocks. Soke Hausel likes to break limestone, recrystallized or lithified sandstone, dolomite or quartzite as these provide excellent resistance. Limestone is basically mother nature's concrete. But in the Phoenix Valley in Arizona, such rocks are not easy to come by because of all of the past volcanism. The valley is filled with rocks like rhyolite, andesite and basalt. Some of these are very, very hard. For instance, rhyolite is the fine-grained equivalent of granite - and we all know how hard granite is.

After working at the Wyoming Geological Survey and the University of Wyoming as a research geologist, consulting geologist and martial arts instructor, Soke Hausel got to know a lot of difficult rocks. For instance, he mapped more than 1,000 km2 of complex Precambrian terrain covered with metamorphic rocks: metamorphic rocks, like volcanic or igneous rocks, are very, very uncooperative. He doesn't recommend schist or gneiss as they have a fabric, much like plywood that will tend to resist breaking. And Wyoming - the Jade State, of course has some jade deposits - don't even consider jade - it is one tough gemstone.

Governor Mike Sullivan congratulates Soke Hausel
Soke Hausel is also an author and wrote many books and papers on geology and rocks. So, if you want more information, have a look at some of his books. And if you decide to try breaking rocks with your hands or head - remember, you should have professional training first - by someone who has done this before, otherwise you will break your hand - rocks do not cooperate like boards.

Finally, back to the Top Scientists. In a letter from Nicholas Law, Director General with the International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England to Soke Hausel, he writes: "You are to be congratulated. As a noted and eminent professional in the field of science you have now been considered and nominated for recognition by the IBC. Of the many thousands of biographies from a wide variety of sources investigated by the research and editorial departments of IBC, a select few are those of individuals who, in our belief, have made a significant enough contributions in their field to engender influence on a local national or international basis. Ratification of your nomination by the Awards board is now complete and it is therefore my great honour to name you as a member of the IBC Top 100 Scientists - 2016. As a holder of this distinction ....."

So what makes Soke Hausel unique as a scientist - all of the gemstone, gold, mineral and rock discoveries. These can only be matched by a handful of people in history. But will he accept this award? Probably not. "It is always nice to be recognize for my work, but I don't need awards anymore - I have plenty buried in my closet".  "When I left the University of Wyoming, I also dumped a bunch of them on a shelf, as there were too many to transport to Arizona".

One of the greatest achievements - discovery of a
giant, world-class gold deposit

Soke Hausel inducted into two Halls of Fame at the same time - one for geology, the other for martial arts.