Adam Dziewonski, Polish-born American geophysicist, Dead


Adam Marian Dziewoński was born on November 15, 1936, and died on March 1, 2016.

He was a Polish-American geophysicist.

He made seminal contributions to the determination of the large-scale structure of the Earth’s interior and the nature of earthquakes using seismological methods.

Adam Dziewonski spent most of his career at Harvard University, where he was the Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science.

He earned his Masters from the University of Warsaw, Poland (1960), and a Doctorate of Technical Sciences from the Academy of Mines and Metallurgy, Cracow, Poland (1965) Dziewonski taught at the University of Texas at Dallas for several years before settling at Harvard.

Between the 1960s and 1970s, Adam and his collaborators laid the foundation to understanding the underlying cause of tectonic plate motions by exploring convection currents in the Earth’s mantle with radial maps of seismic property variations, based on measurements of seismic waves.

These studies then led to the development of the introductory reference Earth model (PREM) along with Don Anderson; PREM established an accurate radial model of the Earth for seismic velocities, attenuation, and density.

Adams other research direction regularly determined the orientation and magnitude of the deformation for most of the significant earthquakes that have been well-recorded.

And these results are known as the Harvard CMTs (centroid moment tensor solutions) and are still continued today at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory by Göran Ekström as the Global CMT Project.

Adam Dziewonski has received numerous honours and awards for his scientific achievements in his field of work, such as the Gold Medal of Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture (1999), the Harry Fielding Reid Medal of the Seismological Society of America (1999), the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (1998), and the Bowie Medal of the American Geophysical Union (2002).

During 1995, Adam was also elected a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences.

Adam Dziewonski passed away in Cambridge, Massachusetts.