“looking for a Meg,” said Molly Sampson

This very determined future earth & life scientist got what she wanted!


Yes, Molly, that sort of thing is how it started for me too. A remnant of a shell in a piece of rock that I found in our garden. I never had a find as smashing as that Meg tooth, though! Holy macaroni!

A cousin of mine found shark teeth, I think, in a rock mine or pit near Maastricht. Why do I mention Maastricht? I bet you’ve heard of Mosasaurus. If not, look into it.

I had a piece of flint that I jokingly called my prehistoric tool that I actually used (as a hammer, mostly) and of which I only realized decades later that it probably was a prehistoric tool, though. After all, I was using it and its grip and size were perfect.

I had lots of leaves and so on from the Carbonaceous. From coal mine waste heaps. There was one near our house.

But I soon got into collecting crystals rather than fossils. My dad then turned out to have a colleague who did that. He told us to go to Idar-Oberstein in Germany, to look in the fields there, and so we did.

What also fascinated me was the riddle of the universe. If earth is part of the solar system, and our solar system is part of the Milky Way Galaxy and the Milky Way is part of the universe, then what is the universe sitting in, I wondered. Is there some giant who keeps the universe in a box? But then what would the giant be sitting in?

Space sort of folds back onto itself, I later learned, and thereby cancels itself more or less. Ha ha. Does that mean that we don’t exist and are only figments of our imagination? Whose imagination, then? And so the riddle continues because time plays a role in this too. Some stuff is too complicated for me and I was very relieved, later, during my Master’s, to discover that other folks had had those questions too and had started to find the answers.

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