Phillips entered Corpus Christi College (CCC), Cambridge,14 as an Exhibitioner in September 1920. The following year, he obtained a first class in the Mathematical Tripos, Part I, and was awarded the Manners Scholarship. In 1922 he was awarded a Foundation Scholarship (at CCC) and the Bishop Green Cup, and was appointed to the position of Temporary Demonstrator in Petrology at the Sedgwick Museum, under the supervision of Alfred Harker (1859-1939; FRS, 1902), Reader in Petrology. Phillips was also elected to membership of the Geologists’ Association in May 1922. The following year he gained his BA, obtaining a first class in Part I of the Natural Sciences Tripos (geology, mineralogy, chemistry and physics). He was again awarded the Bishop Green Cup and, in addition, the Wiltshire Prize for Geology with Mineralogy.15 He subsequently graduated with a first class in Part II (geology) of the Natural Sciences Tripos in 1924, and was awarded the Cowell Scholarship (CCC).
The following year Phillips began the research for his PhD dissertation, The Geology of the Shetland Islands, with Special Reference to the Petrology of the Igneous Rocks (Phillips 1927a), under the supervision of Harker with ‘assistance’ from Cecil Edgar Tilley (1894-1973; FRS, 1938), who was at that time University Demonstrator in Petrology. Phillips was also appointed Student Demonstrator in Mineralogy (1925-1928), under the supervision of the Professor of Mineralogy, Arthur Hutchinson (1866-1937; FRS, 1922)16 with Robert Heron Rastall (1871-1950) and Thomas Crawford Phemister (1902-1982) as his fellow demonstrators.
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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.