GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 5-1
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM


VEBLEN, David R., Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218

Fifty years ago, crystallographic mineralogy was focused on the precise refinement of ideal, average crystal structures. The R-factor was king. Defects in crystalline solids were seldom considered, point defects in semiconductors being an obvious exception. Along came young Peter Buseck, an Assistant Professor whose Geology chairman, thinking Peter was just a chemist, wouldn’t even supply him with pencils or a screwdriver. The first experiments he proposed, probing the effects of oxygen fugacity on diffusion kinetics in Fe-bearing olivine, were met with skepticism. Yet, he persisted. Peter’s experiments with Dan Buening were the first to show that another extensive variable, along with P and T, and through its influence on point defects, controlled diffusion rates in our mantle’s most abundant mineral.

Physicist John Cowley, self-effacing, generous, and a true genius, established the world’s leading program in high-resolution transmission electron microscopy at Arizona State University in the 1970s. Scientists from numerous disciplines welcomed the Center for Solid-State Science. Physicist John Spence, solid-state chemists Leroy Eyring and Michael O’Keeffe, biologists and engineers. But the most important of all was Peter Buseck, who recognized the potential of this new technology for mineralogy.

For 50 years, Peter has pushed the boundaries of electron microscopy in mineralogy, geochemistry, and atmospheric aerosol chemistry. He has mentored countless graduate students and postdocs. My friend Sumio Iiijima, who went on to discover carbon nanotubes and so much more; my officemate Michael O’Keefe (with one F), master of HRTEM image simulation; and many others who have shined a light on the beauty of microstructures and how they control mineral behavior.

Peter has received the Roebling Medal for his innumerable scientific accomplishments and decades-long service to our Society. Peter was not only a mentor, but I am also honored to call him my friend.