Amadeus William Grabau was born on January 9,
1870, in Cedarburgh, Wisconsin. He was a great contributor to systematic paleontology and strati-graphic geology and also a respected professor and writer. He spent half of his professional life in the United States and the last 25 years in China. Grabau studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and received a master of science and a doctorate of science degree at Harvard University, then returned as faculty at MIT from 1892 to 1897. He moved to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, from 1899 to 1901, and became a professor in paleontology at Columbia University in New York City in 1901. In 1912 Grabau married Mary Antin, a Russian immigrant from a shtetl who wrote a best-selling autobiography, The Promised Land. In World War I Grabau defended Germany's actions, which led to his divorce from Mary and his being fired from Columbia University. In 1919 Grabau moved to China and became a professor at Peking National University (now called Peking University).
In the first 20 years of his career he was one of the country's leading scientists in paleontology, stratigraphy, and sedimentary petrology. The greatest effect of his scientific work has been his contributions to the principles of paleoecology and to the genetic aspects of sedimentary paleontology. Paleoecology uses fossil data to reconstruct information about past ecosystems. Grabau was interested in relating the ecosystems to differences in the organism that made the fossils he was studying. His stratigraphic work was also influential; not only did it bring about a more developed understanding of the subject, but it was the source of understanding Earth movements. The concepts involved in his polar control theory, pulsation theory, and the separation of Pangaea allowed for the imaginative syntheses of geologic evidence. After Grabau moved to China, he conducted a geologic survey of much of the country, and from this work he became known as the father of Chinese geology. Grabau died on March 20, 1956, in what is now called Beijing.
Grabau published more than 10 books during his career, including North American Index Fossils (1909, 1910), Principles of Stratigraphy (1913), Textbook of Geology, 2 vols. (1920-21), Silurian Fossils of Yunnan (1920), Ordovician Fossils of North China (1921), Paleozoic Corals of China (1921), Stratigraphy of China (1924-25), Migration of Geosynclines (1924), Early Permian Fossils of China (1934), and Rhythm of the Ages (1940). This influential geologist and paleontologist received numerous awards and was a member of the following institutes: the Geological Society of America, New York Academy of Science, and Geological Society of China. He was also an honorary member of the Peking Society of
Natural History, the China Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, the Academia Sinica, and the Academia Peipinensis.
See also Asian geology; historical geology; paleontology; sedimentary rock, sedimentation.
Was this article helpful?
Preparing for Armageddon, Natural Disasters, Nuclear Strikes, the Zombie Apocalypse, and Every Other Threat to Human Life on Earth. Most of us have thought about how we would handle various types of scenarios that could signal the end of the world. There are plenty of movies on the subject, psychological papers, and even survivalists that are part of reality TV shows. Perhaps you have had dreams about being one of the few left and what you would do in order to survive.