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Find Your Science at GSA
25 April 2013
GSA Release No. 13-27
Christa Stratton
Director of Education, Communication, & Outreach
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The Geological Society of America Receives Substantial Bequest from Top New England Geologist

Boulder, Colorado, USA – An enthusiastic group of New England geoscientists had the opportunity to celebrate a marvelous gift from the estate of James B. Thompson Jr. at the March 2013 GSA Northeast Section Meeting in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, USA. Jim "JBT" Thompson died on 15 Nov. 2011. In late 2012, the Geological Society of America Foundation learned that it was the beneficiary of a bequest of nearly one and a half million dollars from Thompson's estate.

Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology at Harvard in 1992 after a career of more than forty years. Thompson published seminal papers on metamorphic petrology, mineral thermodynamics, structural mineralogy, and geochemistry. More to the point, he inspired several generations of colleagues and students who have since made significant contributions in a host of fields in the geosciences.

Thompson never lost his love of the White Mountains and New England geology. His creative insights and penetrating field-based observations of metamorphic stratigraphy, structures, and mineral interrelationships coupled with his towering intellect deciphered many of the mysteries of New England geology that, when he began his career after service in the Army Air Corps in World War II, seemed intractable.

Thompson’s distinction as a geologist was well-recognized by his peers. In addition to membership in the National Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he received an honorary degree from his alma mater, Dartmouth College. He was awarded the Arthur L. Day Medal of the Geological Society of America in 1964, the Roebling Medal of the Mineralogical Society of America in 1979, and the Goldschmidt Medal of the Geochemical Society in 1985. He served as president of both the Mineralogical Society of America and the Geochemical Society. Thompson also held Ford Foundation and Guggenheim fellowships at various stages in his career and was a distinguished visiting scholar at both Johns Hopkins University and California Institute of Technology.

The Geological Society Foundation and The Geological Society of America will honor Thompson's career and contributions through several programs, including distinguished international lecture tours, partial support for up to four GSA Penrose conferences each year, student research grants, and at least two distinguished scientist awards. These new and enhanced programs honor Thompson's legacy by increasing the interaction of scholars and students and by offering opportunities for scholars of the earth to conduct their research and collaborate to the furtherance of the disciplines to which he made so many lasting contributions.

The Geological Society of America, founded in 1888, is a scientific society with more than 25,000 members from academia, government, and industry in more than 100 countries. Through its meetings, publications, and programs, GSA enhances the professional growth of its members and promotes the geosciences in the service of humankind. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, GSA encourages cooperative research among earth, life, planetary, and social scientists, fosters public dialogue on geoscience issues, and supports all levels of earth science education.