February 12, 1813 - April 4, 1895
Election Year: 1863
Scientific Discipline: Geology
Membership Type: Member
James Dwight Dana was a prominent American scientist who contributed significantly to the fields of mineralogy and geology. Dana graduated in 1833 from Yale College, where he established an important relationship with his professional and academic mentor, Benjamin Silliman. In 1838 Dana was recruited as the geologist and mineralogist for the four-year U.S. Exploring Expedition of the Pacific Ocean. During this trip Dana made major contributions to our understanding of the geology, mineral content, and zoology of South America, Australia, East Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Dana is also well regarded for his work with volcanology, specifically his volcanic expedition of 1880 which led to the first comprehensive study of the Hawaiian volcanic structure. Dana assumed his former mentor’s role as the Silliman Professor of Natural History and Geology at Yale in1850 and remained in this prestigious position until 1892. He was a founding member of the National Academy of Sciences.