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Ryan D. Tweney, 1943-2020

Ryan D. Tweney

Ryan D. Tweney, professor, book collector, husband, father, and mentor, died February 7 in Pahrump, Nevada, aged 76. Born in Detroit, Ryan was raised by his mother Helene Tweney and grandmother Viola Marciniak, and educated at Cass Technical High School, the University of Chicago, and Wayne State University, where he earned a Ph.D. in psychology. He taught psychology at Bowling Green State University for over 35 years, inspiring and educating generations of undergraduates and graduate students, particularly with his history of psychology course, which has been described as “legendary.”

A lifelong lover of books, learning, and discovery, he was a scientist at heart, and devoted much of his research in cognitive psychology to the study of other scientists, helping to shape the field of psychology of science, and elaborating and exploring theories of confirmation bias, hypothesis formation, scientific creativity, and more. Author and contributor to countless research papers and several books, a large part of his studies focused on the work and diaries of the 19th-century physicists Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell.

In later years his love of the American Southwest and geology led him to the great Mojave Desert, Death Valley National Park, and eventually to retirement in nearby Beatty, Nevada. There he divided his time between his ongoing academic pursuits, including occasional teaching, and his love for taking to the backcountry in his 4×4 with his wife and friends to collect rocks; to explore the desert, the mountains, and the trails running through them; to search out history and old, long-abandoned sites of human habitation; and to marvel at the mind-numbing complexity and sheer beauty of the geology he saw everywhere he looked. He also supported the local fight to save the endangered Amargosa Toad and joined the board of the Beatty Public Library, offering his organizational and writing skills to help with grant applications, community meetings, and planning.

Always generous with his time and advice, Ryan was a beloved mentor to many students, colleagues, and family members. He is survived by his wife, Karin “Kit” Hubert; two sons, Dylan and Chris; a stepson, Seth; and three grandchildren whom he adored: Clara, Curtis, and Vivienne. The world is smaller for his passing.


  1. Peter Newton

    Dylan, A beautifully written tribute for this man, your father. How lucky you are to have come from such a wellspring of generous creativity. Book-lovers unite. My condolences to you and your family.–Peter

  2. Bill Waters

    My condolences, Dylan… I’m so sorry for your loss… _/|\_

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