out to be the case, then Patterson's results were more fortuitous
than was realised fifty years ago. But at the time Holmes gen-
erously and enthusiastically proclaimed the team's achieve-
ments: 'this brilliant joint research owed its almost miraculous
success to the development of analytical techniques of the
utmost precision and delicacy'. He graciously concludes: 'it is
a pleasure to record my indebtedness to many younger friends
who are now boldly accepting the challenge and meeting it
with all the resources and superb techniques of the atomic
age.' A gentleman to the end, and perhaps comfortable in the
knowledge that his name is inextricably linked with the age of
the Earth, Holmes did not seem to mind that, after fifty years of
dedication to the problem, he did not get there first.
It is evident that while completing his own last words on the
subject Holmes had been writing to Patterson who sent him
copies of his latest lead results 'in advance of publication' .
Patterson greatly admired Holmes and prized his 1927 'six-
penny' edition of Holmes' book on The Age of the Earth . Holmes
records that they had 'a little friendly disagreement here and
there [which] will not, I trust be taken amiss.' It was probably
over whether it was realistic to use the Canyon Diablo meteorite
to represent primeval lead, but unfortunately the correspon-
dence that passed between them is now lost. They must have
been remarkable documents. In the only letter that remains,
Patterson wrote to Holmes enclosing a paper Holmes had asked
for. With genuine humilty Patterson took the opportunity to pay
his respects to the master:
I wish to reiterate my personal indebtedness to your pioneering work
in this field. It was outstandingly inspiring and ingenious.
The Dating Game was over and Arthur Holmes walked o¬
with the very last trophy.