James B. Macelwane
1955 Mendel Medal Recipient



Rev. James B. Macelwane, S.J., was born near port Clinton, Ohio, on September 28,1883. He received his A.B. degree at St. Louis University, followed with the A.M. and M.S. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1918. He then went to the University of California where he obtained the Ph.D. in Physics in 1923. He became Assistant Professor of Geology at the University of California where he organized graduate study in geophysics and had charge of the seismographic stations of the University at Berkeley and at Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton.

In 1925 he was appointed Professor of Geophysics and Director of the new Department of Geophysics in St. Louis University, a position which he still holds. This was the first department of Geophysics in the western hemisphere. He was Dean of the Graduate School of St. Louis University, 1927 - 1933. In the spring of 1944 he was appointed Dean of the new Institute of Geophysical Technology, now broadened into the Institute of Technology, of St. Louis University.

Father Macelwane is an expert in elastic wave theory, earthquakes, earth structure, epicenters and seismicity. During the war he did important research for the Navy in meteorology, atmospheric micro-oscillations and micro-seisms. He has had over one hundred papers published in the scientific journals and is the author or co-author of a number of books, including Introduction to Theoretical Seismology, and When the Earth Quakes. He was largely responsible for the establishment of the relationships between microseismic disturbances and storms. He also sponsored the tripartite station method of detecting and tracking hurricanes.

Holding membership in a large number of scientific societies here and abroad, Father Macelwane has been honored by election to important offices in a number of these societies. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, of the American Physical Society, of the American Geographical Society, and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is currently President of the American Geophysical Union and of the Jesuit Seismological Associatoin, and a Member of the Board of Directors of the Seismological Society of America and of the Editorial Board of the bulletin of that society.

Mendel Medal Presentation Program, May 10, 1955. Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania.





Macelwane, James B(ernard), geophysics; born near Port Clinton, Ottowa county, Ottowa, September 28, 1883; son of Alexander and Catherine Agnes (Carr) Macelwane; student St. Stanislaus College and John Carroll University, Cleveland, until 1907; A.B. St. Louis University, 1910, A.M., 1911, M.S. 1912; Ph.D., University of California, 1923; D.Sc. (honorary), Saint Norbert College, 1949; LL.D. (honorary), Washington University, 1953; D.Sc. (honorary), John Carroll University, 1954. Joined Society of Jesus (Jesuits), 1903; ordained priest Roman Catholic Church, 1918. Instructor in mathematics, St. John's College High School, toledo, 1907-1908, in physics, Saint Louis University, 1912-1913; assistant professor physics, same university, 1913-1915, 1918-1919; assistant professor of geology, University of California, 1923-1925; professor of geophysics and director of the department, St. Louis University, since 1924, professor geophysical engineering, since 1949, dean of the Graduate School, 1927-1933, dean Institute of Technology 1944--. Recipient Jackling Lecturer award, American Institute of mining and Metallic Engineers, Member National Science Board. Fellow A.A.a.S. (past vice president) Geological Society of America, American Geographical Society; Member American Physical Soc., Seismology Society of America (ex-president), Jesuit Seismology Association (president), American Meteorology Society, american Geophysics Union (president, section of seismology), American Institute of Mining and Metallic Engineers, missouri, Academy of Sciences (ex-presdient), Optical Society of America (associate), National research Council, national Academy of Sciences, Societa Sismologica Italiana, Societa Meterologica Italiana, Society Exploration Geophysicists, American Association of Oetroleum Geologists, Sigma Xi. Democrat. Received Bowie Medal of American Geophysics Union, 1948. Author: Loose Leaf Manual of Laboratory Experimetns in College Physics, Parts I, II, III, IV, V (With J.I. Shannon), 1914; Theoretical Seismology, Volume I, Geodynamics, 1936, new edition, 1949; When the Earth quakes, 1947; also more than 100 papers and articles, alone and with others, on seismology and other subjects. Editor and joint author of Bulletin of National Research Council on Seismology, 1933. Co-author: Internal constitution of the Earth, 1939; Compendium of Meterology, 1951. Home: 221 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis 3. Office: 3621 Olive St., St. Louis 8 Died February 15, 1956; buried St. Stanslaus Seminary, Florissant, Missouri.

Who Was Who in America. Volume III, 1951-1960. Chicago, Marquis Who's Who, 1960, p.542.