Frank Dawson Adams bigraphy, stories - Canadian geologist

Frank Dawson Adams : biography

September 17, 1859 - December 26, 1942

Frank Dawson Adams FRS (September 17, 1859 – December 26, 1942) was a Canadian geologist.

McGill University career and research

In 1889 Adams was appointed Lecturer in Geology at McGill University. He was appointed Logan Professor of Geology after the retirement of John William Dawson in 1892 and held this position until his own retirement in 1924. Though he was working full-time at McGill, he continued to spend summers in the field, financed by the GSC. In 1891 he began working on the Grenville of eastern Ontario, and by the following year had started to work on the Haliburton, Ontario area. His work there, carried out after 1896 with Alfred Barlow of the GSC, was published as a GSC Memoir in 1908, and became a classic of Canadian geology. The rocks, which included unusual alkaline rocks, were not merely mapped, but studied in detail using petrographic and chemical methods, and firm conclusions were drawn about their petrogenesis, all of which was unusual for a GSC Memoir at that time. At the same time, Adams was also studying the peculiar petrological characteristics of a group of alkaline intrusions of much later geological age (now known to be Early Cretaceous), called by him the "Monteregian Hills." This work would be continued by his students, notably Joseph Austin Bancroft (1882-1957), who succeeded Adams as Logan Professor at McGill. Inspired by his observations on the flow of metamorphosed limestones in the Grenville, Adams began a series of pioneer experimental studies of the physical properties of rocks at high pressures and temperatures, carried out in collaboration with John Thomas Nicholson, Professor of Engineering at McGill.Easkins, P.R., 1972. Frank Dawson Adams -- Founder of modern structural geology. Proceedings of the Geological Association of Canada, 24: 13-16. This was well before comparable work was carried out in Germany or the United States. Though the experimental apparatus was primitive compared with that later developed at Harvard University and the Geophysical Laboratory in Washington, D.C., Adams' work was highly regarded by the newly founded Carnegie Institution for Science, which supported him financially, and attempted to persuade him to move to the Institution.Geschwind, C.-H., 1995. Becoming interested in experiments: American igneous petrologists and the Geophysical Laboratory, 1905-1965. Earth Sciences History, 14:47-61Yochelson, E.L. and H.S. Yoder, Jr., 1994. Founding of the Geophysical Laboratory, 1901-1905: A scientific bonanza from perception of persistence. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 106:338-350

Adams remained at McGill, where he served as the Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science and then as Vice-Principal to the University. He served as President of the International Geological Congress held in Toronto in 1913,Middleton, G.V., 2007. The 12th International Geological Congress, Toronto, 1913. Episodes, 30:1-12. and was President of the Geological Society of America in 1918. He received many honors during his career, first becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1896, a Fellow of the Royal Society (of Great Britain) in 1907, a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1917, and awarded the Flavelle Medal, which is given for outstanding contributions to biological science, in 1937. The Frank Dawson Adams Building at McGill University is named in his honor. A plaque in his honor was erected on the Redpath Museum on the McGill campus in 1950.

He retired from McGill in 1924, and began to travel widely, collecting books on the history of geology, as well as rocks and minerals for McGill. He published several papers on the geology of Ceylon and also on the history of geology, culminating in his book Birth and Development of the Geological Sciences (1938). It became a classic and was reprinted by Dover Publications in 1954. He left his rare book collection (1581 monographs) to McGill university.

Education and early career

Frank Dawson Adams was born into a prosperous, middle-class family in Montreal, Quebec. Adams attended the Montreal High School, a private school founded in 1843, and after 1852, closely associated with McGill University.Cartwright, G.F., 2006. The High School of Montreal. As a pupil there, Adams no doubt received a classical education, and his knowledge of Latin was valuable later in life in his historical studies. At the age of sixteen he entered the Applied Science Program at McGill University, where he studied geology with John William Dawson (Principal of McGill since 1852) and Bernard Harrington (who had set up the Applied Science program). In unpublished notes McGill archives he described Harrington as "the professor who influenced me chiefly."

Living octopus

Living octopus

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