School years (1910–1920)
Following a short time at Headland College, Plymouth, in May 1910, Phillips (then aged 8 years 2 months and living at 2 Woodford Villas, Plymouth) joined Plymouth College as a dayboy, a year after his older brother was admitted. It is thought very probable that during his ten years at the school Phillips was greatly influenced by one of the masters, Joseph Thompson (1859-1922).8
School records (F. J. Jeffery, pers. comm. 1997) show that Phillips’ career at this time was marked by outstanding academic success. He was awarded the annual Form Prize each year from 1911 to 1916. This was followed by Form Prizes for German, mathematics, natural science and geography (1917); English (1918); French and natural science (1919); French (1920); the Brown Prize for mathematics (1918 and 1920); and the Murch Memorial Prize for natural science (1918-1920); and, in November 1918, he obtained credits in English, French, German, elementary and additional maths, physics and chemistry in the Oxford and Cambridge School Certificate.
Despite this daunting record, his school years were not simply devoted to scholastic achievement. In the Natural History Society he was curator of botany in the school museum (1916) and, following the amalgamation of the Natural History Society and the Science Library to form the Natural Science Society in 1916, he became its librarian and treasurer (1917-1920). He also read papers to the Society on: ‘Magnetism’, ‘The microscope’ and ‘Petrol motors’ (1916); ‘Electrical transmission of the voice’ and ‘Chemistry and the camera’ (1917); ‘The origin and manufacture of paper’ (1919); and ‘How the coin of our realm is made’ (1920).
Figures & Tables
The Life of Frank Coles Phillips (1902–1982) and the Structural Geology of the Moine Petrofabric Controversy
Frank Coles Phillips was a photographer mineralogists and structural petrologists working in themiddle of the twentieth century. He was very influential, both in the UK and abroad and was responsible for encouraging the development of structural geology as a discipline in Australia and for the adoption of the stereogram as a fundamental interpretational tool in structural geology in the UK. He was a superb teacher, perhaps best known amongst mineralogist and geologist of today for his classic textbooks, An Introduction to Crystallography and The Use Steographic Projection in Structural Geology.
Phillips was the first to apply the methods of structural petrology (the study of the microscopic fabric of deformed rocks) in an attempt to unravel the complex structural history of the Moine rocks of northwestern Scotland. his findings were at odds with those of his contemporaries and resulted in the Moine petrofabrics becoming embroiled in a long-running controversy, only completely resolved since the mid-1980s.
This geological biography of an important twentieth century mineralogist and petrolohist takes a critical look at Philips' research in the context of contemporaneous developments in structural and Moine geology. It reviews his work in relation to both past problems and present solutions. It will be of interest to all gelogist, especially structural and microstructural geologist, historians of science and the general leader with an interest in science.