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In memoriam: G. Christian Amstutz (November 27, 1922)

Published in SGA News. 2007, vol. 21, p. 13-15
Abstract Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. mult G. Christian Amstutz, a key personality in the history of the Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits (SGA), died on June 23, 2005 in his home in Sigriswill, Switzerland, at the age of 82. He had received numerous distinctions including several Doctor and Professor honoris causa awards. Christian Amstutz was a person with very broad interests , which extended beyond Metallogeny and Earth Sciences. These included Philosophy, Psychology, History, Literature, and Music. His external interests had a significant influence on his scientific outlook. One of his favorite topics, probably an outcome of the courses by G.C. Jung he attended in ZUrich, was to trace the "relationships between the general cultural trends and the evolution of thoughts in ore genesis". He liked to point out that consciously or subconsciously preconceived hypotheses had a strong influence on sc ientif ic theories and he considered the inte rpretations of some ore deposits as epigenetic as the result of cultural thought patterns. He claimed that scientists should critically take into account and filter the "thought archetypes" inherent in any cul ture, and try to construct clean working hypotheses which should be congruent with a combination of geometric (particularly cross-cutting relationships) and geochemical observations of ore and host rock at several observational scales, a statement with which most metallogenists would agree. G. Christian Amstutz's preoccupation with connections between the cultural and philosophical heritage of a scientist and the potential for interpretive bias did not prevent him to have exceptionally strong convictions on the genesis of ore deposits and rocks, convictions that now we may believe were not always congruent with the observational bas is. We would like to end this obituary with the quotation he used in the opening article of the first volume of Mineralium Deposita, a quote that best summarizes the main message he delivered to his numerous students: "For the purpose of research is not to imagine that one possesses the theory which alone is right, but, doubting all theories, to approach gradually nearer to truth. (C.G.Jung, l959, Basic Writings, Modern Library, p. 379).
Keywords Obituary
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Article (Published version) (2.7 MB) - public document Free access
Research group Mineral Resources and Geofluids
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FONTBOTÉ, Lluis. In memoriam: G. Christian Amstutz (November 27, 1922). In: SGA News, 2007, vol. 21, p. 13-15. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:111515

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Deposited on : 2018-11-28

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