Biographical Publications

Niu Y., and Wilson M., 2011. Jour. Petrology, v. 52, p. 1239-1242. Foreword:  Magma generation and evolution and global tectonics.  An issue in honour of Peter J. Wyllie for his life-long contributions by means of experimental petrology to understanding how the Earth works. This spans aspects of Wyllie's life, career, research and teaching.  Niu and Wilson organized the special Symposium titled above to "honour" Wyllie's experimental career, while simultaneously celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Journal of Petrology, which was featured at the

2009 Annual Goldsmith Conference in Davos, Switzerland.  Wyllie and Tuttle were authors of the first article in the Journal of Petrology (The system CaO-CO2-H2O and the origin of carbonatites, p. 1-46), and Wyllie was also author of p. 1-37 in Volume 2 (Fusion of Torridonian Sandstone by a Picrite Sill in Soay, Hebrides). Then he served as Managing Editor for 1965-67 (before he joined the Journal of Geology). The Davos Symposium resulted in a special issue of the Journal in 2011, v. 52 (numbers 7 & 8),  pp.1239-1617, with 15 research articles.

Gates A.E., 2003.  A to Z of Earth Scientists.  Facts on File Inc., New York, 336 pp.  Short scientific biographies of 191 "notable scientists" are provided (12 are Caltech GPS faculty, about half deceased).  On pages 295-297 the author presents a smoothly written review of Wyllie's career, research, and public service.  Following an outline of the petrological applications of the laboratory experiments, he wrote:  "Wyllie has often incorporated these applications into broader reviews involving plate tectonics and global processes.  His two textbooks captured the spirit and history of the plate tectonics revolution."

Young D.A., 2003.  Mind Over Magma: The Story of Igneous Petrology. Princeton University Press, 686 pp.  Young's book is a fascinating history of igneous development from the beginning to the late 20th century. In Chapter 26, "Bombs and Buffers", he devotes many insightful paragraphs to the planning and petrological applications of experiments from Wyllie's laboratories between 1959 and the early 1990s. 

Montana A., 2002.  Presentation of the Roebling Medal of the Mineralogical Society of America for 2001 to Peter J. Wyllie.  Amer. Miner., 87, p. 788-789.  Montana provides a generous overview of Wyllie's career, colleagues, experiments and teaching.

Wyllie, P. J., 2002.  Acceptance of the Roebling Medal of the Mineralogical Society of America for 2001.  Amer. Miner., 87, p. 790-793.  Wyllie provides a personal view of the development of research plans and experimental applications by his group of successive colleagues, students and post-docs, from his freshman participation in the British West Greenland Expedition (1951) to his retirement when he planned an expansion of his 1976 textbook with new subtitle:  "A Century of Revolutions from Continental Drift to Climate Change".  The publisher has since concluded that covering four revolutions produced too many pages for the changing textbook market.

Sangman, S.L., Kiran Savanur, Manjunath M., and Vasudevan R., 2006.  Scientometric portrait of  Prof. Peter John Wyllie.  Scientometrics, v. 66, p. 43-53.   The authors have presented a concise sketch of Wyllie's research and publications spanning the years 1951-2004.  Standard bibliometric fields were analyzed by "normal count procedure" for 337 scientific papers and book chapters (144 single-authored and 193 multi-authored papers).  Nine Tables display information about single-author and multi-author publications; the dates and numbers of contributions by 75 named co-authors; the names of 18 journals that published 3 or more papers, along with 50 un-named journals (and books?) that published 2 (13 periodicals) or 1 (37 periodicals) articles.  The tabulated information has been organized into three informative figures that display, as a function of Wyllie's age (21 to 74), the frequency of, and the cumulative number of single- and multi-authored papers.  Three detailed tables focus on the contributions of the collaborative authors. 

The publication details that provided the basis for this scientometric analysis are listed in the following list of RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS, divided into three intervals of 2001-2011, 1995-2000, and 1951-1994.

Wyllie, P.J., 2008.  Crevasses, Rocks and Huskies in Greenland.  My introduction to geology in the 1950s.  Tales of Earth Science, vol. 1, p. 24-38, Geoplanet Press.    This was an invited autobiographical chapter for a book that turned into an on-line journal (which appears to have disappeared).  The Introduction (1950-1952) indicates how an expedition to Greenland after my first year at the University of St. Andrews (thanks to Dr, Harald Drever) seduced me from Physics to Geology.  This experience with The British West Greenland Expedition, summer 1950, qualified me after graduation to be assistant geologist with The British North Greenland Expedition, 1952-54 (Polar Medal from H.M. Queen Elizabeth).  The main text outlines some aspects of the geological field-work during these two very different expeditions.  The Epilogue: 1956 and 2006 first describes how Harald Drever, after my first year as a graduate student, arranged a second seduction in 1956 "from the freedom of polar exploration and field geology into the tyranny of the laboratory to conduct phase equilibrium studies".  He arranged for me to join O.F. Tuttle at Penn State as a Research Assistant, while completing (for St. Andrews) my un-related Ph.D. thesis on Scottish rocks.  "Charting a new path through a multicomponent system in search of a process, or testing the viability of a process, includes a sense of exploration that is just as exciting as trekking into an uncharted field area."  By 2006, I was 6 years into retirement, with reduced textbook plans concentrating on one revolution.  The dramatic Greenland research results from satellites, planes, sledges and ice cores led Time magazine to publish:  "Has the Meltdown Begun?" (Feb 27, 2006), stating that this "study sent tremors through the scientific community last week."  My personal tremors were due to resuscitated memories that before I became a laboratory experimentalist, I had sledged across several of Greenland's fast-moving glaciers.  I also reaized that I had back-packed and sledged over glaciers and ice sheet margins that Alfred Wegener had dominated (1906-8, 1912-13, 1929-30) before and after he conceived and promulgated his thesis of "Continental Drift".  When he died on the West Greenland ice sheet in 1930, it took 30 years before the Plate Tectonics revolution began to emerge and provide credibility to his drifting continents (the dominant theme in my 1976 text-book).