16 Facts About George Wetherill


George Wetherill was a physicist and geologist and the Director Emeritus of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, DC, USA.


George Wetherill was born on August 12,1925, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


George Wetherill did his thesis research, on the spontaneous fission of uranium, as well as nuclear processes in nature, as a US Atomic Energy Commission Predoctoral Fellow.


George Wetherill originated the concept of the Concordia Diagram for the uranium-lead isotopic system; this diagram became the standard means for determining precise ages of rocks, and of detecting the possibility of metamorphism.


George Wetherill was a member of the Carnegie group that accurately determined the decay constants of potassium and rubidium, an effort that has become fundamental to the measurement of geological time.


George Wetherill left DTM in 1960 to become a professor of geophysics and geology at the University of California, Los Angeles.


At UCLA, George Wetherill further explored techniques for age-dating, examining extraterrestrial material with radiometric chronology techniques to meteorite and lunar samples.


George Wetherill's studies concentrated on collisions between objects in the asteroid belt together with resonances between their motions and those of planets.


George Wetherill computed how these events could move material into Earth-crossing orbits to become meteorites or larger Earth-impacting bodies responsible for the devastating impacts that caused mass extinctions of the majority of living species, including the dinosaurs.


In 1975, George Wetherill returned to Carnegie's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism as director.


George Wetherill remained director until 1991, when he became a staff member.


George Wetherill developed a technique to calculate numerically the orbital evolution and accumulation of planetesimal swarms, and he used the technique to reach specific predictions of the physical and orbital properties of terrestrial planets.


George Wetherill has shown that Jupiter plays an important role in the evolution of the Solar System; by ejecting comets from the solar system, it offers a protective presence to the inner planets.


George Wetherill provided leadership in the scientific community by serving on advisory committees for NASA, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Science Foundation.


George Wetherill served as president of the Meteoritical Society, the Geochemical Society, the Planetology Section of the American Geophysical Union, the International Association of Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry, and was a member of the American Philosophical Society.


George Wetherill died at his home in Washington, DCWednesday, July 19,2006, after a long illness.