Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Douglass, Andrew Ellicott (United States 1867-1962)
astronomy, dendrochronology

Douglass was by training an astronomer (who at one point worked for William Pickering and Percival Lowell), but he is perhaps best known for his development of the technique known as dendrochronology, or tree-ring dating. He had been looking for some way to connect the record of sunspot cycles to climate, and found that he was able to correlate tree-ring patterns with the time of onset of various historical events, both natural and anthropogenic. His most important work involved his development of the technique of cross-dating, which has made it possible to extend backward a continuous record of events through thousands of years of history.

Life Chronology

--born in Windsor, Vermont, on 5 July 1867.
--1885: enters Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut
--1889: graduates from Trinity College with honors in astronomy, mathematics, and physics
--1890: accompanies Harvard expedition to establish an observatory in Arequipa, Peru
--1894: chosen as an assistant and sent to the Arizona Territory to work with Pervical Lowell at the Lowell Observatory; ends up being made acting director at those times Lowell was absent
--1901: dismissed by Lowell for disagreeing with his interpretation of Martian surface patterns
--1903-1906: serves as probate judge in Arizona
--1906: joins the faculty of the University of Arizona
--1910-1911: acting president, University of Arizona
--1914: publishes "A Method of Estimating Rainfall by the Growth of Trees" in the Bulletin of the American Geographical Society
--1917-1937: director of the Steward Observatory, Tucson
--1918: made professor of astronomy, University of Arizona
--1919: publishes his Climatic Cycles and Tree Growth, Vol. I
--1924-1925: vice-president, American Meteorological Society
--1925-1938: research associate, Carnegie Institute of Washington
--1928: publishes his Climatic Cycles and Tree Growth, Vol. II
--1936: publishes his Climatic Cycles and Tree Growth, Vol. III
--1938-1958: director, Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona
--1941: publishes "Crossdating in Dendrochronology" in the Journal of Forestry
--dies at Tucson, Arizona, on 20 March 1962.

For Additional Information, See:

--American National Biography, Vol. 6 (1999).
--Isis, Vol. 77(2) (1986): 291-301.
--Tree Rings and Telescopes: The Scientific Career of A. E. Douglass (1983).
--American Antiquity, Vol. 28(1) (1962): 87-89.
--Geographical Review, Vol. 52(4) (1962): 612-614.
--American Scientist, Vol. 88(5) (2000): 440-447.

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Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved.

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