Geophysical Laboratory Timeline 1901-2005

Compiled by Jennifer L. Smith and Shaun Hardy

Last revision: 12/16/2005

Date Event
1901, November 16 Daniel C. Gilman and John S. Billings meet with Andrew Carnegie and change the emphasis for Carnegie's proposed new institution funding from education to research and postgraduate training.
1901, December 2 A gift of ten million dollars for a scientific institution in Washington, D.C. is officially announced at a lunch featuring Andrew Carnegie, President Theodore Roosevelt, Daniel C. Gilman, and Charles D. Walcott.
1901, December 16 George F. Becker delivers an outline entitled "Concerning the Geophysical Laboratory" to Charles D. Walcott.
1902, January 4 The Carnegie Institution of Washington is incorporated.
1902, January 29 The first meeting of the Board of Trustees takes place; Gilman is elected president and Walcott, secretary.
1902, January 30 The first meeting of the Executive Committee is held.
1902, March 21 Becker revises and submits the expanded geophysical program to the Board of Trustees.
1902, September 23 The Advisory Committee on Geophysics for Carnegie Institution of Washington (T. C. Chamberlin, C. R. Van Hise, C. D. Walcott, R. S. Woodward, C. Barus, and A. A. Michelson) submits a list of sixteen specific problems in geophysics deserving study; Trustees ask Van Hise to investigate further.
1902 H. S. Washington details the newly created CIPW system for classifying igneous rocks in a series of articles in the Journal of Geology.
1903, October 10 The "Committee of Eight" (W. Cross, J. P. Iddings, L. V. Pirsson, H. S. Washington, F. D. Adams, J. F. Kemp, A. C. Lane, and J. E. Wolff) submits a report on the initial program of research for the geophysical laboratory.
1903 F. A. Perret begins a series of observations at Mount Vesuvius.
1903 H. S. Washington publishes Chemical Analyses of Igneous Rocks.
1904, January Detailed proposals for the Laboratory's staff, building design, budget, and organization by the "Committee of Eight," Van Hise, and Becker are published in Year Book No. 2.
1904 R. S. Woodward succeeds Gilman as president of the Carnegie Institution of Washington.
1905, December 12 After persuasion from Woodward and Walcott, the Geophysical Laboratory is officially established at the meeting of the Trustees; $150,000 approved for land and construction.
1905 The work of A. L. Day, E. T. Allen, and J. P. Iddings on the plagioclase feldspars becomes the first official publication of the Geophysical Laboratory.
1906, March 17 Land at Upton Street in Northwest Washington, D.C. is bought for the Geophysical Laboratory site; Wood, Donn, and Deming are selected architects for the design.
1906, June Excavation on the site begins.
1906, July 6 Construction contract is let to Richardson and Burgess, Inc. of Washington, D.C.
1907, January Arthur L. Day is officially named the first director of the Geophysical Laboratory, though he had already been de facto director for several months.
1907, June Construction is completed and the first scientists move into the Geophysical Laboratory months before the anticipated occupation date.
1908 E. T. Allen and J. K. Clement carry out the first hydrothermal studies at GL on the role of water in tremolite.
1909 E. S. Shepherd, G. A. Rankin, and F. E. Wright develop the quenching method for petrological study.
1909 Andrew Carnegie adds two million dollars to the endowment.
1910 N. L. Bowen arrives at GL as a pre-doctoral student from MIT.
1911 The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology's T. A. Jaggar with collaboration from Harvard's R. A. Daly, the Volcano Research Association of Hawaii, and the Geophysical Laboratory.
1911 J. Johnston and L. H. Adams report the melting point changes with high pressure of Sn, Bi, Cd, and Pb.
1911 Andrew Carnegie supplies the Carnegie Institution of Washington with another ten million dollars of support.
1911 - 1912 A. L. Day and E. S. Shepherd collect and analyze the gases in the active part of the Halema'uma'u crater of Kilauea.
1912 A. L. Day and H. S. Washington study active volcanoes in the Mediterranean.
1912 J. Johnston and L. H. Adams attempt to measure the thermal gradient in the crust with mercury thermometers and an electrical resistance thermometer in wells near Charleston, WV.
1914 H. S. Washington describes fumaroles, their colored accumulations of salts, and the variety of emitted gases from Mount Vesuvius's crater.
1915 N. L. Bowen proves that the gravitative settling of crystals is a viable mechanism for differentiation.
1916 R. E. Griggs leads the first scientific expedition to Katmai, Alaska after the great eruption.
1917, March 28 A. L. Day introduces a plan to investigate the wartime optical glass shortage to President Woodward of CIW.
1917 The Carnegie Institution of Washington, with partner Bausch and Lomb Optical Company, produce close to 40,000 pounds of government-accepted American-made optical glass per month to aid the war-time effort; GL supervised the glass-making efforts.
1917 A. L. Day and E. S. Shepard prove that water was an original part of the lava at Kilauea.
1918 Erskine D. Williamson becomes the first to use the term "chemical potential" in a paper with G. W. Morey.
1918 - 1920 A. L. Day takes a leave of absence from the directorship of GL to serve as the vice president of Corning Glass Works.
1919 W. P. White and L. H. Adams develop a method for constant temperature in an electric furnace.
1919 The crystal structure determination program begins at GL under Ralph W. G. Wyckoff.
1921, March 10 The Board of Trustees authorize the formation of an Advisory Committee in Seismology; A. L. Day is appointed Chairman.
1921 J. D. Grant undertakes drilling at "The Geysers" in Sonoma County, California.
1922 N. L. Bowen publishes "The reaction principle in petrogenesis."
1922 Pentti Eskola describes the sequence of metamorphic rocks at a limestone-granite contact.
1922 G. W. Morey devises a new theory for the rise in pressure of a cooling hydrous magma.
1922 R. W. G. Wyckoff and Eugene Posnjak prove Werner's Coordination Theory, which before then was merely a hypothesis.
1923 G. W. Morey demonstrates the superiority of the quenching method over the heating method for studies of silicates.
1923 L. H. Adams and E. D. Williamson deduce a formula that relates the compressibility and density of rocks to seismic wave velocities and compute the probable density of the Earth's interior.
1923 L. H. Adams proposes using artificial earthquakes to study the earth's interior.
1923 Ralph Anderson and Harry Wood invent a new and simpler seismometer.
1923 Erskine D. Williamson and L. H. Adams declare the earth's core to be metallic and made of iron or iron-nickel, with a diameter of half the earth.
1924 The Carnegie Institution of Washington publishes F. A. Perret's monograph, The Vesuvius Eruption of 1906, with complementary photos by A. L. Day and chemical analyses of lava by H. S. Washington.
1925 G. W. Morey and N. L. Bowen publish the phase relations for commercial soda-lime-silica glasses.
1925 R. W. G. Wyckoff determines the first structure (high cristobalite) at high temperatures from powder x-ray-diffraction data
1926 A seismology laboratory in Pasadena, California is constructed with the cooperation of California Institute of Technology.
1928 F. E. Wright convinces F. A. Vening Meinesz to install his pendulum for making gravity determinations at sea on the US submarine S-21.
1928 GL scientists study volcanic gases using a portable spectrograph in Java and Bali.
1928 R. B. Sosman publishes the cell dimensions of spinel and other compounds of the spinel group.
1928 C. N. Fenner uses new analytical methods for the determination of uranium, thorium, and lead as a basis for age calculations.
1928 N. L. Bowen publishes The Evolution of the Igneous Rocks, the most influential book about petrology in the twentieth century.
1929 C. N. Fenner and C. S. Piggot make the first calculations of a mineral's age using mass spectroscopy of lead isotopes.
1929 - 1930 E. T. Allen, C. N. Fenner, and A. L. Day drill boreholes into the basins of Yellowstone National Park in order to develop a better understanding of underground structures, temperatures, and circulation in geyser basins.
1930 CIW establishes a department of geophysics headquartered at the Seismological Laboratory in Pasadena.
1931 J. W. Greig, E. S. Shepherd, and H. S. Merwin discover that granite melts at a lower temperature than basalt.
1931 T. F. W. Barth and E. Posnjak describe how crystallographically equivalent sites can be occupied by chemically different atoms and publish "The spinel structure: an example of variate atom equipoints."
1932 C. J. Ksanda designs the Ksanda x-ray twin gas tubes
1933 Charles S. Piggot expands his radium research program to include ocean bottom sediments.
1933 The Seismological Laboratory studies the Long Beach earthquake.
1933 J. H. Hibben publishes detailed treatises on inorganic compounds using Raman spectroscopy.
1935 E. T. Allen and A. L. Day publish Hot Springs of the Yellowstone National Park.
1935 N. L. Bowen and J. F. Schairer determine the phase relations in the nepheline -kalsilite-quartz system.
1936 Leason H. Adams is appointed second director of GL
1936 C. S. Piggot publishes a description of his new powder charge driven coring device that can obtain vertical cores up to ten feet in length at depths of 2,800 fathoms.
1937 The CIW seismology program is transferred to the California Institute of Technology and John P. Buwalda becomes chairman of a committee to administer the seismological laboratory.
1938 G. W. Morey publishes Properties of Glass.
1939 GL and the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism cooperate in an investigation of the electrical, magmatic, and other properties of the Santa Maria volcano.
1939 J. H. Hibben follows up  his research on inorganic compounds to include organic materials.
1940 E. Posnjak publishes data indicating that the Curie temperature of ferrous sulfides rises with increasing sulfur content.
1940 N. L. Bowen establishes the sequence of reactions in the progressive metamorphism of siliceous dolomite.
1941 G. W. Morey designs and builds the "Morey Bomb" to study hydrothermal synthesis.
1941 GL  begins machine gun barrel development research during WWII; L. H. Adams is appointed Chairman of the committee.
1947 O. F. Tuttle designs a new experiment set-up that allows for the separate control and measurement of pressure and temperature.
1947 The DTM Lunch Club is established. GL joins when the two departments co-locate at Broad Branch Road 43 years later.
1947 Statistical petrology studies at GL begin under Felix Chayes.
1949 The first powder x-ray diffractometer arrives at GL.
1953 Philip H. Abelson is named third director of the Geophysical Laboratory and expands the research program to include investigations into biogeochemistry.
1954 F. R. Boyd, Jr. publishes the first systematic P-T studies of tremolite and pargasite.
1956 "Concordia" method makes U-Pb age determinations accurate.
1957 G. R. Tilton and colleagues develop the concept that oldest rocks are the nucleus of a continent and younger belts of rocks are subsequently added on.
1958 Staff member Hatten S. Yoder, Jr. becomes the youngest geologist elected to the National Academy of Sciences at age 37.
1959 Work in stable isotope mass spectrometry at GL begins under T. C. Hoering.
1961 S. P. Clark, Jr. derives geotherms as a function of time for various models calculated with the aid of a digital computer.
1961 H. S. Yoder, Jr. and C. E. Tilley outline the transition of basalt to eclogite.
1962 Yoder and Tilley's experimental study of the origins of basaltic magmas is published.
1962 B. R. Doe determines the lead isotopes of galena.
1963 H. J. Greenwood first suggests the deterioration of amphibole at high pressures.
1968 C. Hadidiacos designs solid-state temperature controllers and integrates them into both one-atmosphere and high-pressure types of apparatus.
1968 E. Hansen develops the concept of strain facies and publishes a book on the topic.
1969 Apollo missions return with first lunar samples later studied at GL.
1971 Hatten S. Yoder, Jr. is named fourth director of the Geophysical Laboratory.
1971 F. Chayes introduces a computer-based system for rock analysis information.
1973 F. R. Boyd, Jr. applies the pyroxene geobarometer and geothermometer, and obtains a quantitative measure of the geotherm.
ca. 1975 Amino acid racemization technique as a practical dating tool for fossils developed by P. E. Hare and collaborators
1975 Ho-kwang Mao and Peter M. Bell use a diamond anvil cell to reach pressure of 1,018,000 atmospheres.
1975 R. M. Hazen and C. T. Prewitt organize the first mineral physics conference, sponsored by CIW and NSF.
1976 H. S. Yoder, Jr. publishes his definitive book, The Generation of Basaltic Magma.
1976 The Geophysical Laboratory's Pistons and the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism's Dynamos play their first soccer game. The Dynamos win, 4 - 0.
1977 R. M. Hazen and C. T. Prewitt develop an empirical relationship between bond lengths and compression in oxygen-based minerals.
1980 M. L. F. Estep and H. Dabrowski report how they traced food chains of a snail using the stable isotopes of hydrogen.
1983 The field of mineral physics is officially recognized by the American Geophysical Union.
1984 H. K. Mao and R. J. Hemley squeeze hydrogen above the 2-megabar mark.
1986 Charles T. Prewitt is named fifth director of the Geophysical Laboratory.
1987 GL researchers contribute to first crystallographic studies of high-temperature superconductors.
1988 B. O. Mysen writes Structure and Properties of Silicate Melts.
1989 M. Fogel and N. Tuross pioneer use of stable isotopes as dietary tracers in prehistoric people.
1990 Electronic structure minerals physics calculations begun with the arrival of R. E. Cohen.
1990 GL moves to join the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism on the Broad Branch Road campus.
1991 Center for High-Pressure Research (ChiPR) established at the Geophysical Lab, SUNY Stony Brook, and Princeton with NSF funding.
1996 The "Mud Cup" is established to continue the soccer rivalry between the Pistons and Dynamos.
1996 GL begins investigations into astrobiology.
1997 The Carnegie Institution of Washington Undergraduate Intern Program in Geosciences is created.
1998 Wesley T. Huntress, Jr., is appointed sixth director of the Geophysical Laboratory.
1998 A joint GL and DTM team is selected to be a part of NASA's Virtual Astrobiology Institute.
2001 GL and partner institutions establish High Pressure Collaborative Access Team (HPCAT), based at Argonne and Brookhaven National Laboratories.
2002 J. Scott and A. Sharma demonstrate that bacteria are capable of surviving pressures exceeding 1.5 Gpa.
2003 Carnegie/ DOE Alliance Center (CDAC) established for interdisciplinary high-pressure/high-temperature research
2005 Very large, colorless, single-crystal diamonds synthesized at GL using new chemical vapor deposition technique