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After a few years at the South Australian Museum, and the Oceanographic Institute in Göteborg, Bill Riedel spent his professional career at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, working mostly on the evolution, taxonomy and stratigraphic application of Cenozoic radiolarians, with brief forays into calcareous nannofossils and ichthyoliths. He also was Curator of the Scripps geological collections, and those of the Deep Sea Drilling Project. In his present, retired phase, he is exploring the topics outlined in this editorial, and provides services as a consultant.