Northeastern Section - 47th Annual Meeting (1820 March 2012)
Paper No. 4-6
Presentation Time: 9:40 AM-10:00 AM


VAN BAALEN, M.R., Dept. of Earth & Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, 20 Oxford St, Cambridge, MA 02138,

The Sturgis Hooper chair in Geology at Harvard University is the one of the oldest and most prestigious chairs in the Natural Sciences at Harvard University. The chair has been occupied by a unique set of distinguished geologists who, together, have made significant contributions to our understanding of the geology of the Northeast. This paper reviews the establishment of the chair and selected accomplishments of its holders.

The chair was originally established by a $50,000 gift of Samuel Hooper in 1865, in memory of his son William Sturgis Hooper, who died prematurely of tuberculosis in 1863 at the age of 30. The gift envisioned the creation of the School of Mining and Practical Geology, as part of the Lawrence Scientific School, and a professorship as well. The first occupant of the chair was Josiah D. Whitney, previously the State Geologist of California. Whitney served until his death in 1896.

Successive occupants of the chair have included Hans H. Reusch (1897-1898), William Morris Davis (1898-1912), Reginald A. Daly (1912-1942), Louis C. Graton (1942-1949), A. Francis Birch (1949-1974), James B. Thompson, Jr. (1977-1992), Paul F. Hoffman (1994-2009), and Daniel P. Schrag (2009-present). Together, this group has had a major impact on Northestern geology, with contributions on ore deposits, glaciation, geomorphology, igneous petrology, and geophysics, notably heat flow, as well as metamorphism, structure and tectonics of the Appalachians and the Canadian Shield, and currently geoengineering, including CO2 sequestration on the continental shelf off New Jersey. in several cases, successive holders of the chair overlapped on the Harvard faculty, leading to synergistic efforts by the collaborators.

It is difficult to think of a group other than the Sturgis Hooper professors who have contributed, over nearly 150 years, with such diversity to our understanding of geology in the Northeast and beyond.

Northeastern Section - 47th Annual Meeting (1820 March 2012)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 4
Historical Perspectives: 250 Years of Geology in the Northeast
Hartford Marriott Downtown: Ballroom B
8:00 AM-10:00 AM, Sunday, 18 March 2012

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 44, No. 2, p. 43

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