Volcanologist and founder of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory who studied volcanic eruption in one of the most geologically active zones. He was a longtime professor at the University of Hawaii and was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Studying for his Ph.D in Geology at Harvard, he visited on a geologic expedition to Martinique, West Indies, just days after a massive eruption killed 28,000 people.
Though he was the head of geology at MIT, the university did not initially support his Hawaii observation efforts, and frequently his research was undertaken at his own expense.
He was married to Isabel Maydwell, his former co-worker.
100 years before before his birth, the British scientist Charles Lyell began laying down the principles of geology, which would later guide him in his work.