Peter Hurley ’68 (XV) and his wife Marty Hurley have been planning for a long time to donate to MIT. Now retired, they decided to carry out their long-held philanthropic goal of honoring Peter’s father, geology Professor Patrick M. Hurley, by supporting EAPS graduate students in his name.
“My father always valued education and learning as key to a successful, productive life,” says Peter, “Marty and I feel the best way to honor him is to give educational opportunities to another generation of scientists.”
Patrick Hurley joined MIT’s faculty in 1946 and became professor of geology and geochronology in 1953, retiring in 1977. During his tenure, he held several leadership positions at MIT including faculty chair and President of the Faculty Club, and he chaired the committee that appointed MIT President Jerome B. Wiesner.
Professor Hurley was a leader in the field of geochronology, applying natural radioactivity to determine the age of rocks in the Earth’s crust. He developed and built early mass spectrometers in his lab long before they became available “off the shelf.” Hurley’s research, conducted across the globe, led to an understanding of the basement rocks in the continents, as well as continental drift and early studies in plate tectonics. In a 1967 paper in Science, Hurley and others provided the evidence, based on isotopic tracing, that Africa and South America had once been contiguous. The co-author of over 200 scientific publications, one of his books (How Old is the Earth?) is still available on Amazon more than four decades after its original publication. In 1995, Hurley was awarded the prestigious Walter Bucher Medal by the American Geophysical Union for “his profound effect on the Earth sciences and the subsequent history of isotopic research.”
EAPS is delighted to have the opportunity to honor Professor Patrick Hurley with an annual fellowship in his name, and to welcome Peter and Marty Hurley as new members of the EAPS Patrons Circle. The Patrick M. Hurley Fund is an expendable fund that will support graduate students in EAPS regardless of discipline, and we anticipate that the first Patrick M. Hurley Fellowship will be awarded in Fall 2017.
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For further information on giving opportunities or creating a named fund to benefit the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, please contact:
Senior Development Officer
Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT
617 253 5796
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