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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014

Gualala Arts Lecture Series presents:
Strategic Metals

with Ron Limbaugh
Thursday, January 12, 2012, 7:00 p.m.
Admission is $5

Ron Limbaugh A list of commodities that affect the safety and prosperity of America today and for the future might well include oil, gold, or water. A century ago tungsten might have headed the list. In the inaugural talk of the 2012 Gualala Arts lecture series on Thursday, January 12, Ron Limbaugh will discuss the vital role strategic metals such as tungsten have played in the last century and may play again in the 21st.

As a historian, he will address the fundamental question of how the United States was able to avoid a strategic metal crisis in the two major wars of the 20th century and still keep our economy strong. This question is more complex today than at any previous time in history because of multinational corporate cartels and global environmental issues.

The expanded use of rare earth metals in 21st century technology and America's dependence on sources in China for obtaining them highlights what concerns policymakers today. History may not repeat itself, but it has lessons for the current generation. Few consider the role played by tungsten in steelmaking, electronics, and military technology and even fewer can explain the importance of cerium or europium that make our high tech world possible from cell phones to catalytic converters.

The Flow of U.S. Mineral Commodities, courtesy USGS He will draw from his 2010 book Tungsten in Peace and War that won the Clark Spence biannual award in May 2011 for the best book on mining history. His PowerPoint presentation will focus on the past, but will raise questions about the political, economic, and environmental ramifications of this complex subject in lucid terms that a layman can grasp.

Now retired on The Sea Ranch, Limbaugh taught history for 34 years at the University of the Pacific. He has specialized in regional history, environmental history, and the history of technology. He has also written John Muir's 'Stickeen' and the Lessons of Nature as well as Vacaville: The Heritage of a California Community and Calavaras Gold: The Impact of Mining on a Mother Lode County.

The lecture series begins its ninth season. So far 120 talks have been given. Coleman Auditorium doors open at 6:30 and the talk begins at 7:00 p.m. A $5 admission will be collected at the door.

The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email

Serving the coastal communities of northern Sonoma & southern Mendocino Counties.