Letter: A penny for your science

By Carmen Chinery

Hello fellow Geoscientists,

As of Friday the Canadian penny is on its way to extinction. What the Canadian government does not understand is the crucial role the penny plays on Mohs’ Hardness Scale. Students who take glgy 201 with us purchase a basic mineral and rock testing kit in which the precious penny is included to solve the important question: Is it calcite, or is it fluorite? Or maybe even gypsum? When they’ve misplaced their acid bottles in the field, and the concept of cleavage vs. fracture vs habit has them banging their heads against the outcrop in frustration they must turn to this tried and proven method of identification.

But there is hope! And you can provide it. I will be collecting pennies to help stock our first year supplies for a few more years (we end up selling about 400 kits every year!). Search through your sock drawers, under your car seats and at the bottom of your purses for these coins deemed useless by those in power. One of the assignment drop boxes next to es 115 will be designated as the depository for your pennies. As added incentive, I will personally match the value of the pennies collected and donate that amount to the campus food bank on behalf of the department. So help clean out my bank account, force me to roll coins until my fingers bleed, and save our future geoscience students some grief. Donations to the drop box will be accepted until the first day of the fall semester (September 4th).

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