A.G. HUNTSMAN AWARD

FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE MARINE SCIENCES

 
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JOHN TUZO WILSON (1981)

The continuing contribution of John Tuzo Wilson, the fourth recipient of the A.G. Huntsman Award, is well-known to all geoscientists. Because of his encyclopaedic knowledge of geology and his innovative imagination he played a key role in the development of the concepts of plate tectonics and sea-floor spreading with such prescient ideas as mantle plumes or hot spots and the mechanics of Transform Faults, now basic to modern geodynamic understanding. His proposal that oceans may have opened and closed more than once was adopted by geologists working on land as well as at sea and is commonly referred to as the Wilson Cycle. Although he has spent considerable time travelling, it is perhaps appropriate that for over 30 years he was professor of geophysics at the University of Toronto where his ability to draw the salient information from a vast reservoir of geological observations, and to clearly explain it, has influenced an entire generation of geologists and geophysicists. He has used his abilities well, world-wide, in interpreting geology to the layman and stimulating the professional. Lately these powers have been harnessed also at the popular and fascinating Ontario Science Centre. His honours and awards have been many, including the Vetlesan Prize from Columbia University and the Maurice Ewing Medal of the American Geophysical Union; however, it is appropriate that Canada's major marine geoscience institute officially recognizes John Tuzo Wilson's substantial contribution in this field by presenting him with the A.G. Huntsman Award.