March 7, 2012
Mark Wilson, the Lewis M. and Marian Senter Nixon Professor of Natural Sciences and Geology at The College of Wooster, covers a range of topics on the most recent episode of the History Channel's "Ancient Aliens."
WOOSTER, Ohio – Mark Wilson’s recent appearance on The History Channel’s “Ancient Aliens” is resulting in national exposure for The College of Wooster. The popular primetime program, now in its fourth season, features Wilson in an episode about natural disasters, which premiered on March 2.
Based on the notion that intelligent life forms may have visited Earth thousands of years ago and brought technology that dramatically affected the course of history, the program’s premise may be dubious, but the scientific framework is legitimate, and the scientists on the program are highly regarded in their areas of expertise.
Wilson, the Lewis M. and Marian Senter Nixon Professor of Natural Sciences and Geology at Wooster, deftly demonstrates the breadth and depth of his knowledge as he addresses a range of topics, from asteroids and dinosaurs to volcanic eruptions and mass extinctions.
Wilson makes the first of eight appearances just over five minutes into the program when he comments about the destruction of Crete by an underwater earthquake and subsequent tsunami in 365 AD. Calling it one of the great natural disasters of the Mediterranean world, Wilson said it raised the island nine meters. He later talks about efforts to control the weather by seeding clouds in Vietnam to induce torrential rains that would flood the Ho Chi Min trail and choke off supply lines in that country.
Prometheus Entertainment sent a production crew of four to Wooster on Jan. 3 to interview Wilson in a lab on the second floor of Scovel Hall to help frame a variety of scientific issues. The daylong session was recorded on film and shipped to the Prometheus Studios in Hollywood for editing. Within two months, the footage was processed, edited, and placed in the hour-long program.
Ironically, Wilson teaches a course on pseudoscience, which includes a segment on America’s obsession with extraterrestrials. “Now I’m actually embedded forever in an episode of this popular pseudoscientific show,” he wrote on a recent blog posting, but he was quick to add that, “I must emphasize that this whole aliens-came-to-Earth scenario has zero scientific support (and really, alien bases in active volcanoes?). I like to believe, though, that even through this unlikely medium some people out there are receiving the occasional veiled hints of real science.”
Wilson’s impressive national debut will likely not be his last. His interview session also consisted of questions for several upcoming episodes of “Ancient Aliens,” including the legend of Bigfoot. Stay tuned.
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