these latest meteorite lead values might be a more realistic
record of the elusive composition of primeval lead than that
found in the Ivigtut galena from Greenland.
Fritz Houtermans, co-founder of the Holmes-Houtermans
model for dating the age of the Earth, was quick to pick up on
the new lead data, immediately recognising its potential for
improving the age of the Earth. Using Patterson's new values
from meteorites to represent primeval lead on Earth, instead of
the Ivigtut galena, and the data from ten Tertiary galenas to
represent present day values, he refined his earlier calculation
for the age of uranium. He found the new age of the Earth to
be 4500 million years, plus or minus 300 million. In one giant
leap the Earth had grown older by more than a billion years. But
once again Houtermans was just pipped at the post. At a con-
ference held in Wisconsin in September 1953, three months
before Houtermans published in December 1953, Patterson pre-
sented the results of calculations that were virtually identical to
Houtermans. They included two ages for the Earth derived by
using his lead values from the Canyon Diablo meteorite, to-
gether with modern day values from both a granite and a basalt.
These were, respectively, 4510 million and 4560 million years.
In age of the Earth terms, they were the same number.
There has always been some debate as to who actually pub-
lished their results first, Houtermans or Patterson. Back in 1904
when there was some dispute as to who was the first person to
date the age of a rock by radioactivity, Rutherford or Strutt, the
date of publication of results determined the winner, and in that
case it was Rutherford. But in this case, the precise publication
date for the conference volume in which Patterson's results were
printed is somewhat obscure, the editor believing 'it was prob-
ably published in late 1953 or early 1954'. Late 1953 would
probably mean before Houtermans, but early 1954 would quite