Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Harvey Nininger

Harvey Nininger was one of the young men with roots in the Paradise Prairie church (yesterday's post). Born in 1887, he grew up in Kansas and Oklahoma, where his devout Brethren parents were slow to encourage his scientific inclination. Although he was nineteen years old before he was able to complete elementary school, he would go on to earn his bachelors degree from McPherson College in 1914 and a master's degree from Pomona College in 1916. He would later teach science at LaVerne College (1914-1918) and McPherson College (1920-1930). A leading authority of meteorites, he was curator of meteorites at the Colorado Museum of Natural History (1930-1946).

Many years before Americans lined up to glimpse a fragment of rock brought back from the moon, Nininger had discovered a source of information from outer space. Nininger was on his way home from the McPherson College chapel in 1923 when a meteorite fell some distance away in a brilliant light. Already curious about these "falling stars" he began a search for meteorites, leading eventually to what was reported to be the largest private meteorite collection in the world. He was once credited with finding half of the meteorites then discovered in the world. After thirty-seven years of collecting, he sold his meteorites to the British Museum in London and to Arizona State University at Tempe where they were made available for research and study.

In 1966 he told an interviewer, "The study and quest of meteorites have made me a more deeply religious man than before. I see God all around me."

Source: The Brethren Encyclopedia