Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2006 10:35:43 -0600
Subject: DPS Mailing #06-18:   In Memoriam:  George Wetherill...
Greetings, DPS members,
  1)  In Memoriam:  George Wetherill
  2)  Remember to Vote!
Carnegie Institution planetary-formation theorist, and 1997 National 
Medal of Science recipient, George Wetherill, died from heart failure 
on July 19, 2006, at his Washington, D.C., home. Wetherill 
revolutionized our understanding of how our planets and solar system 
formed through his theoretical models.
Born in Philadelphia on August 12, 1925, Wetherill served in the 
US Navy during World War II, teaching radar at the Naval Research 
Laboratory in the District of Columbia. He graduated from the 
University of Chicago in 1953 after a succession of degrees, Ph.B., 
S.B., S.M., and Ph.D. After receiving his doctorate, he joined 
Carnegie's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism as a member of the 
scientific staff. Between 1960 and 1975 he was a professor and 
department chairman at the University of California, Los Angeles. 
He came back to Carnegie in 1975 as director of the department, a 
position he held until 1991. After he stepped down, he continued his 
research as director emeritus.
In the 1950s, Wetherill was among a group of scientists who 
developed geochemical methods involving natural radioactive decay to 
date the Earth's rocks. Later, his interests in age-dating 
techniques expanded to include extraterrestrial materials, 
including meteorites and rock samples from the moon. In the 1970s, 
he began theoretical explorations into the origins of meteorites 
and the terrestrial planets, developing a technique to calculate 
the orbital evolution and accumulation of swarms of small bodies 
as they coalesce into planets.
Wetherill's computations have also revealed how important Jupiter 
may be in protecting the Earth and other inner planets from 
bombardment via its enormous gravitational field. He showed that 
Jupiter provides a shield from orbiting asteroids and comets, 
scattering most of them out of the Solar System. The discoveries 
of planets orbiting other stars provided him with further 
theoretical challenges in his final years of research.
In 1997 George Wetherill received the highest scientific award in 
the nation-the National Medal of Science. He was elected to the 
American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1971 and to the National 
Academy of Sciences in 1974. He received the 1981 F. C. Leonard Medal 
of the Meteoritical Society, the 1984 G. K. Gilbert Award of the 
Geological Society of America, the 1986 G. P. Kuiper Prize of 
the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical 
Society, and the 1991 Harry H. Hess Medal of the American 
Geophysical Union. In 2003 Wetherill was awarded the Henry 
Norris Russell Lectureship, the highest honor bestowed by 
the American Astronomical Society.
Survivors include his wife, Mary Bailey, of the District of Columbia, 
and his daughters, Rachel Wetherill, of Round Hill, Virginia, 
and Sarah Wetherill Okumura, of Morgan Hill, California. He was 
preceded in death by his son, George W. Wetherill III, in 1974, 
and by his first wife, Phyllis Steiss Wetherill, in 1995.
A memorial service will be held at St. Alban's Episcopal Church 
(3001 Wisconsin Avenue N.W., Washington, DC) at 10:00 am, on 
Monday, July 24.
A reception will follow, starting at about 12 noon, in the 
David Greenewalt Building on the Broad Branch Road campus of 
the Carnegie Institution (5241 Broad Branch Road, N.W., 
directions at
Here is the link to vote online for the 2006 DPS Election. It 
will be available from now until midnight Tuesday, August 1.
Candidate biographies and position statements are posted at the site 
You will need your AAS login and password to access the ballot.  If 
you have forgotten these, you can get the login and reset the password 
at the "Members Only" section of the AAS website (
Send submissions (no attachments, please) to:
Linda French Emmons, DPS Secretary (lfrench @
Department of Physics
Illinois Wesleyan University
P. O. Box 2900
Bloomington, IL 61702