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EWING WILLIAM MAURICE 1906-1974 William Maurice Ewing geophysicist and oceanographer was born on May 12 1906 in Lockney Texas the son of Floyd Ford and Hope Hamilton Ewing He received three degrees from Rice Institute now Rice University-a BA in 1926 an MA in 1927 and a PhD in 1931 He taught physics at the University of Pittsburgh 1929-30 physics geology and geophysics at Lehigh University 1930-44 and geology at Columbia University 1944-72 While on leave from the latter two universities from 1940 to 1946 he was a research associate on national defense projects at Woods Hole Massachusetts Oceanographic Institute Back at Columbia University in 1947 he became professor of geology and in 1959 he was named Higgins Professor of Geology there He was the first director of Columbia Universitys Lamont Geological Observatory later Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory where he served from 1949 to 1972 As a pioneer oceanographer Ewing led more than fifty expeditions to explore ocean bases He made many contributions in the development of oceanographic instruments now in use for exploration of the oceans including the development and use of the deep-sea camera and the piston cover During the war he discovered the SOFAR Channel a continuous layer in the deep ocean where sound energy is trapped by focusing thus providing a mechanism for a long-range communications system Over the years the vast collection of data that Ewing and his associates collected contributed enormously to the present concept of oceans as youthful features His work in earthquake seismology confirmed the layered structure of oceans which had been first demonstrated by his refraction studies Ewing perhaps more than any other single person laid the foundation for the revolutionary concept known as plate tectonics In 1954 he discovered the Sigsbee knolls in the deep basin of the Gulf of Mexico and he suggested that they might be salt domes Fourteen years later he was the chief scientist aboard the oceanographic research ship Glomar
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