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Carrie Snyder, Published March 04 2012

Portraits: Jim Grier

Jim Grier has two loves: research and scuba diving. The 68-year-old Hawley, Minn., man combines his two passions four days a week at the West Fargo Berger Pool. "I like to stay in condition generally and for scuba diving and I love to work with numbers. Combining my exercise with research enables me to do two things at once," said Grier, a biology professor emeritus from North Dakota State University. Grier has been researching scuba fins for about 10 years. He swims different trials of 450 feet, measuring his air consumption and time to the second. He has 90 different fins he is testing, selecting a random pair to try each day. "I've been interested in which scuba gear works the best, particularly fins," Grier said. "I've probably tested more kinds of fins than any other person alive." Grier has been publishing his research on different websites for people to use, but is doing the research because of his own curiosity. He's hoping to wrap up the research on which fins perform the best with the least air consumed this year. "With any research you reach a point where you lose interest or you answer a question," Grier said. "I think I have enough that I'll answer my question."