Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Sled dogs on the M train

This semester I took a course about the geoscientist and arctic explorer Alfred Wegener, who proposed the theory of continental drift before there was the technology to prove it. He was not taken seriously by the scientific community of the early 20th century and would have been only a footnote to geological scholarship had the theory of plate tectonics not been accepted in the 1960s. I signed up for the course despite my total lack of scientific knowledge because I'm fascinated by tales of arctic exploration, an interest I picked up from my second ex-husband.

Reading of Wegener's meticulous plans for crossing the Greenland ice, the unavoidable vicissitudes of the trek, and his ultimate death was gripping. Usually, I didn't have much to say in class because of the above-stated ignorance, but today I finally got to share the little nugget of information I'd been saving for the last session. Trying to conceal my eagerness, I broke the news that Patti Smith is a member of the secretive Continental Drift Club, a German society devoted to the memory of Alfred Wegener. My announcement was not received with the degree of excitement I'd anticipated.


  1. An organisation called the Continental Drift Club with Patti Smith as a member. No wonder I have never heard of it.