Columbians Ahead of Their Time
 William Maurice Ewing
William Maurice Ewing “It's my view that we won't know where the most interesting places are until we've seen all of them.”

William Maurice Ewing (1906–74)
Earth Scientist
Faculty 1944–72

Ewing’s quest to solve the puzzles of the Earth’s ocean basins led him to invent or perfect instruments and methods for exploring the ocean floors.  He pioneered the use of shock waves for underwater monitoring of vessels and marine life.  He collaborated with students at Columbia’s Lamont Geological Observatory to develop seismographs that were used to establish the first global earthquake monitoring network consisting of calibrated uniform instrumentation.  Relentless in his explorations of the structures underlying the ocean bottoms, he helped lay the foundations for the establishment of plate tectonics as the explanation of the evolution of the Earth’s crust.

Trained as a physicist at Rice University, Ewing began his academic career at Lehigh University before coming to Columbia in 1944.  In 1949, he founded the Lamont Geological Observatory (today the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory) and became its first director. Thanks to Ewing’s many explorations, the observatory now holds one of the world’s largest collections of deep-sea cores. His work continues on the observatory’s oceanographic research vessel, the R/V Maurice Ewing, which sails the world collecting data on Earth’s oceans.

Read more about Ewing in the Columbia Encyclopedia.

Maurice Ewing and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

R/V Maurice Ewing.

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