Fluorescent minerals light up visiting students’ faces at visualization lab

Back to All Stories

The hallway outside the Ho Tung Visualization Lab holds an impressive collection of fluorescent minerals that delight visitors coming to the lab for one of its unique shows.

Matt Shramko ’13 and his father, Steven, donated 70 of the minerals to Colgate, a natural evolution of their longtime interests in geology.

“I’ve collected rocks since I was two years old because my dad has collected rocks for most of his life,” said Shramko, who is majoring in geology.

Shramko’s father owns a business selling rocks and minerals, which is how they managed to amass such a large collection of fluorescent minerals. They collected a few of the minerals that they donated, but most were bought at rock shows.

“This is a great collection of fluorescent minerals, and Colgate is lucky to have them,” said Professor William Peck, chair of the Geology Department. “School groups typically visit the Robert M. Linsley Geology Museum on the second floor of the Ho Science Center and then see a show in the visualization lab, so getting to see the mineral exhibition after the show is icing on the cake.”

As a geology major, Shramko has had the opportunity to take a trip to Ecuador with geology professor Karen Harpp, and an extended study trip to Chile with the Solid Earth Processes class.

The trips provided Shramko a terrific hands-on experience, and he hopes the fluorescent minerals provide the same thing for others interested in geology.

“My dad and I noticed that Colgate didn’t really have any and we felt that we should fix that — Colgate should definitely have some. They are important and for a teaching collection like Colgate’s it is even more important to have a broad range of materials with which to teach,” Shramko said.

In addition to the fluorescent minerals, the Shramkos have donated about 15 other minerals to the university.