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Abstract

Commencing with the appointment of Benjamin Silliman as Professor of Chemistry and Natural History in 1802, the history of instruction and research in the geological sciences at Yale can be conveniently divided into seven generation-long stages. Each stage was characterized by a group of faculty members whose interests and personalities imparted a distinct flavor and character to the institution; as those faculty members left, retired, or died over a decade-long period of change, responsibility for geological studies passed to a new generation.

The first stage began with the appointment of Silliman; the second started in 1850 as Silliman’s career drew to a close and J. D. Dana, his son-in-law, was appointed to the faculty, and brought the first Ph.D. degrees in the United States. The third stage commenced in 1880, and the fourth beginning in 1900, brought the first faculty appointments specifically for graduate instruction. The fifth and sixth stages saw the formative moves that welded different administrative units together, leading to today’s Department of Geology and Geophysics. Stage seven, commencing in 1965, includes the present (1984), but holds the seeds of stage eight.

The increasing diversity of research activities in geology has led to a doubling of the number of geological faculty employed at Yale approximately every 50 years. The number of Ph.D’s awarded has increased at a parallel rate. We suggest the size of the faculty will probably double again by the year 2035 and that production of Ph.D’s will probably rise to a rate of 12

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