Knud Ellitsgaard-Rasmussen's career spanned an astounding period of change in the science. He was not a geologist whose name was widely known and it is probably true to say that few students today, even in his native Denmark, have heard of him. He was nevertheless a figure of huge importance to geological research in his role as someone who directed geology along very productive lines, creating an environment which was highly conducive to the successful careers of many talented researchers. He saw and presided over geology as it evolved from the heroic days of an individual with a dog-sledge and a microscope to later days with armies of personnel, aircraft, marine geophysical vessels, the GPS and the ICP-MS. He led the mapping of a subcontinent.