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Interview with Peter John Wyllie

Wyllie, Peter John (2004) Interview with Peter John Wyllie. [Oral History]

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An interview in four sessions, March and April 2002, with Peter John Wyllie, professor of geology, emeritus, in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences. Dr. Wyllie received his undergraduate and graduate education at the University of St Andrews, in Scotland (BSc, geology and physics, 1952; BSc, geology, 1955, honors; PhD 1958). Joined Caltech faculty 1983 as chair of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, remaining chairman until 1987. Served as divisional academic officer 1994-1999 and became professor emeritus in 1999. In this interview, he recalls growing up in England, his grammar school education, national service, undergraduate career at St Andrews, and participation in two British Greenland Expeditions (1950 and 1952-1954). Graduate work with Harald Drever at St Andrews, continuing under O. F. Tuttle at Penn State. Postdoc at Leeds University, U.K., 1959-1961. Returned to Penn State in 1961 as associate professor of geochemistry. Moved to the University of Chicago in 1965, remaining for eighteen years and chairing the Department of Geophysical Sciences before coming to Caltech. He discusses his division chairmanship, teaching the introductory geology course, and the evolution of the division’s curriculum, particularly under chairman Edward M. Stolper. Recalls his involvement with various geological societies and receipt of several awards, including Wollaston Medal (1982) and Roebling Medal, Mineralogical Society of America (2001). Discusses his work on the National Academy of Sciences’ first national survey of earth sciences. Discusses high-pressure experimental petrology at Penn State, Chicago, and Caltech with various graduate students and postdocs, including Gus Koster van Groos, David Watkinson, John K. Robertson, Wuu-Liang Huang, and Who-jer Lee. Comments on the current state of the division as it moves into an era of global change and collaboration with environmental engineering.

Item Type:Oral History
Keywords:Geology and planetary sciences; physics
Record Number:CaltechOH:OH_Wyllie_P
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Wyllie, Peter John. Interview by Shirley K. Cohen. Pasadena, California, March 19 and 29, April 2 and 9, 2002. Oral History Project, California Institute of Technology Archives. Retrieved [supply date of retrieval] from the World Wide Web:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
Subjects:Subjects > Geology
Subjects > Physics
ID Code:256
Deposited By: Oral Histories Administrator
Deposited On:30 Aug 2017 18:51
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 15:24

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