Hello geography fans! How good to see you here at the Blog of Funny Names, where we celebrate the great achievements of people with unusual names.
We’ve all recovered sufficiently from our post-Thanksgiving comas now to move back into regularly scheduled programming(ish) and today’s coverage continues with the great Dr. Waldo R. Tobler. Dr. Tobler is known as one of the most influential geographers of the past century, thanks in part to his coining of what is known as the “first law of geography”:
“Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related to each other.”
This kind of sounds really obvious, but sometimes to get crackin’ in matters academic, obviousness is required. Regardless, geography nerds everywhere have this sentence etched on to their brains, much like some of the rest of us have images of pie, cockatoos, and jazz flute solos on ours.
The Swiss-American Mr. Tobler, who I really hope has a vanity license plate that reads “Tobler-One“, received his PhD in Geography at the University of Washington, which my geography skills help me place in Seattle. Or maybe that’s just map reading skills. Ge0-nerds, please educate me on the difference below. Wikipedia tells me he participated in the “William Garrison-led quantitative revolution of the late 1950s” at said institution, which sounds like a LOT of fun.
Dr. Tobler is well known around the world for his achievements, which include pioneering work in the field of computer simulation in geographic research and a list of awards so long and illustrious I will only name the most intriguing here : the AAG Microcomputer Specialty Award. I gotta get me one of those. He is also an honorary fellow (and a fine fellow at that) at the American Geographical Society. He is now retired from teaching, but acts as Professor Emeritus at UC Santa Barbara, which is close enough to Funny Names HQ that perhaps one day we will go up and say hi. But only if our knowledge of geography allows us to find our way there.