Macelwane, James Bernard

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Educator, geophysicist, and founder of the Jesuit Seismological Association; b. Port Clinton, Ohio, Sept. 28, 1883; d. St. Louis, Missouri, Feb. 15, 1956. The son of Alexander and Catherine (Carr) Macelwane, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1903 and was ordained in 1918. After receiving his doctorate in physics, with a dissertation in seismology under Elmer E. Hall, at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1923, he was appointed assistant professor of geology at Berkeley, where he helped to organize a chain of seismograph stations in California. He was named professor of geophysics and director of the new department of geophysics at St. Louis University in 1925. Macelwane published his first paper, "Physics of the Seismograph," in 1911. He was interested in the physical state of the core of the earth and studied microseisms and their relation to the earth's surface and to regional atmospheric conditions and explored geophysical methods of prospecting for oil. He published 133 technical papers and two books besides contributing chapters to several other books. During World War II he was a member of the research and development board of the Department of Defense and was appointed a member of the board of the National Science Foundation in 1954. At the time of his death he was serving his third year as president of the American Geophysical Union and was chairman of the United States Technical Panel on Seismology and Gravity for the International Geophysical Year. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Bibliography: p. byerly and w. v. stauder, "James B. Macelwane, S. J.," Biographical Memoirs, National Academy of Sciences, 31 (1958) 254281.

[p. h. yancey]

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Macelwane, James Bernard

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