Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Geologists in politics

News of a documentary tv series on Denver mayor and former geologist John Hickenlooper [right] got me thinking about other prominent politicians who are geologists or at least have degrees in geology.

Hickenlooper got his degree from Weslayan University and worked as a geologist with Amoco in Denver before opening the wonderful Wynkoop Brewery in LoDo (a mandatory stop every time I'm in Denver) that was key to transforming that part of the city. He was elected mayor in 2003 in a nonpartisan race.

General and former Secretary of State Colin Powell [second from right] received a bachelor's degree in geology from City College of New York, attaining a "C" average, according to his 2006 graduation address at Marymount University. [source - Wikipedia]

Former Arizona governor and Secretary of Interior under Bill Clinton, Bruce Babbitt [second from] graduated from the University of Notre Dame and attended Newcastle University in England on a Marshall Scholarship. He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for president in 1988.

According to wikipedia, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao [left] graduated from the specialty of geological structure of Beijing Institution of Geology. Having studied geomechanics in Beijing, he began his career in the Gansu geology bureau; from 1968-1978, he presided over the Geomechanics Survey Team under the Gansu Provincial Geological Bureau and head of its political section, rising as chief of the Gansu Provincial Geological Bureau and later as Vice-minister of Geology and Mineral Resources.

Do you know of other geologists who are or were in prominent political positions?


  1. Herbert Hoover had a degree in Mining Engineering, I think, from Stanford's School of Earth Sciences.

  2. Kim beat me to it. Stanford alums...

    Herbert Hoover and his wife (Lou Henry) were also responsible for translating Agricola's "De Re Metallica" from Latin into English.

  3. And we can't leave out Emil Constantinescu, president of Romania from 1996-2000. PhD in geology in 1979. Current head of the geology faculty at Bucharest University.

  4. Anonymous2:56 PM

    The brother of Richard, Ed Nixon was one of just two students in the Class of 1952 to major in geology at Duke University.

  5. Bruce Babbitt also had a summer student internship in the Geology Department at the Museum of Northern Arizona.