Vincent Courtillot

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Vincent E. Courtillot
Born 6 March 1948
Neuilly-sur-Seine (France)
Residence France
Citizenship French
Nationality French
Fields Paleomagnetism, geodynamic, volcanic traps, hotspots
Institutions Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris
Alma mater University of Paris-6
Notable awards Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur (1994)

Vincent E. Courtillot (born 6 March 1948) is a contemporary French geophysicist, prominent among the researchers who are critical of the hypothesis that impact events are a primary cause of mass extinction of life forms on the Earth. Courtillot is best known for his book "La Vie en catastrophes" (Paris, Fayard, 1995), translated into English as "Evolutionary catastrophes" (1999).

Biography[edit]

Courtillot is an engineer from the École nationale supérieure des Mines de Paris. He then studied at Stanford University.[1] In 1974, he was awarded a doctorate by University Paris 6[2] and in 1977 a state doctorate by University Paris 7.[3]

He has pursued an academic career in France and the United States, including teaching stints at Caltech and the University of Minnesota, and work with the European Geosciences Union, the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (where he has been director since 2004), and the Ministry of National Education in France. (From 1998 to 2001 Courtillot served under Claude Allègre as director of research when Allègre was Minister for National Education, Research and Technology.) Courtillot is currently Professor of Geophysics at the Paris Diderot University. He has published in excess of 150 papers in scientific journals, with some emphasis on the specialty of paleomagnetism; he has served as editorial advisor to the French journal La Recherche.

Vincent Courtillot was elected to membership in the French Academy of Sciences in November 2003. He is also a member of the Fondation Ecologie d'Avenir since 2011.[4]

Research[edit]

Courtillot favors the hypothesis that major mass extinctions are caused by massive episodes of vulcanism: that the Permian-Triassic (P/T) extinction that ended the Paleozoic Era was caused by the Siberian Traps eruption, and the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event that ended the Mesozoic Era was caused by the Deccan Traps vulcanism in India. His position is generally in opposition to the hypothesis famously championed by Luis Alvarez and Walter Alvarez, that the K/T extinction that saw the end of the dinosaurs was primarily due to the asteroid impact at Chicxulub on the Yucatan Peninsula. However, Courtillot does not dispute the scientifically-determined facts of the Chicxulub impact; rather, he argues that the totality of the available evidence supports a thesis that mass extinctions are generally caused by volcanic action.

Magnetic field and climate[edit]

He is currently at the centre of scientific controversy regarding the publication of one of his papers in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters (EPSL) entitled “Are there connections between the Earth's magnetic field and climate?” by V. Courtillot, Y. Gallet, J.-L. Le Mouël, F. Fluteau, A. Genevey (2007) EPSL 253, 328. There have been articles in Le Monde on 15 January 2008,[5] and in Science on 11 January 2008 [6] concerning the debate over this paper.

He is usually considered as a global warming skeptic, often associated with Claude Allègre. Vincent Courtillot said that his collaboration with Total and Schlumberger on CO2 sequestration (CCS)[7][8] has no influence on his research and results.

See also[edit]

Selected Publications[edit]

  • Vincent Courtillot, Jean Besse, Didier Vandamme, Raymond Montigny, Jean-Jacques Jaeger and Henri Cappetta (November 1986). "Deccan flood basalts at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary?". Earth and Planetary Science Letters 80 (3–4): 361–374. Bibcode:1986E&PSL..80..361C. doi:10.1016/0012-821X(86)90118-4. 
  • Mark A. Richards, Robert A. Duncan, and Vincent E. Courtillot (6 October 1989). "Flood Basalts and Hot-Spot Tracks: Plume Heads and Tails". Science 246 (4926): 103–107. Bibcode:1989Sci...246..103R. doi:10.1126/science.246.4926.103. PMID 17837768. 
  • Courtillot, Vincent (1994). "Mass extinctions in the last 300 million years: One impact and seven flood basalts?". Israel Journal of Earth Sciences 43: 255–266. 
  • Courtillot, Vincent (1999). Evolutionary Catastrophes: the Science of Mass Extinction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Translator: Joe McClinton 
  • V. Courtillot, Y. Gallet, R. Rocchia, G. Féraud, E. Robin, C. Hofmann, N. Bhandari and Z. G. Ghevariya (30 October 2000). "Cosmic markers, 40Ar/39Ar dating and paleomagnetism of the KT sections in the Anjar Area of the Deccan large igneous province". Earth and Planetary Science Letters 182 (2): 137–156. doi:10.1016/S0012-821X(00)00238-7. 
  • Vincent E. Courtillot and Paul R. Renne (January 2003). "On the ages of flood basalt events". Comptes Rendus Geoscience 335 (1): 113–140. Bibcode:2003CRGeo.335..113C. doi:10.1016/S1631-0713(03)00006-3. 
  • Vincent Courtillot, Yves Gallet, Jean-Louis Le Mouël, Frédéric Fluteau and Agnès Genevey (30 January 2007). "Are there connections between the Earth's magnetic field and climate?". Earth and Planetary Science Letters 253 (3–4): 328–339. Bibcode:2007E&PSL.253..328C. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2006.10.032. 

Books in French[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ In 1972, he wrote there a report Inverse filtering of marine magnetic anomalies
  2. ^ Quelques applications du problème inverse à l'étude des anomalies magnétiques, gravimétriques et géothermiques, thèse de troisième cycle, Université Paris-6
  3. ^ Sur l'analyse de certaines variations spatiales et temporelles du champ magnétique terrestre, thèse de doctorat d'État, Université Paris-7.
  4. ^ http://www.fondationecologiedavenir.org/Conseil_Orientation.htm
  5. ^ LeMonde.fr: Querelle scientifique autour du climat
  6. ^ http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/319/5860/144
  7. ^ http://www.france-info.com/chroniques-parlons-net-2009-11-27-parlons-net-vincent-courtillot-un-climatosceptique-tempere-373798-81-264.html
  8. ^ http://www.ipgp.fr/pages/020203.php

External links[edit]