Wilson, J. Tuzo

Wilson, J. Tuzo (John Tuzo Wilson), 1908–93, Canadian geologist and geophysicist, b. Ottawa, Ph.D. Princeton (1936), M.A. Cambridge (1940). He worked for the Geological Survey of Canada (1936–39) and was an officer in the Canadian army engineers during World War II. Wilson subsequently was a professor of geophysics at the Univ. of Toronto (1946–74), director general of the Ontario Science Centre (1974–85) and chancellor of York Univ. (1983–86). He made two important contributions to the theory of plate tectonics. The first was the idea that island chains, such as the Hawaiian Islands, were formed by the movement of a plate over a stationary “hotspot” in the earth's mantle; the second was the theory of the transform fault, where two plates slide past each other horizontally, as is the case of the San Andreas fault. His writings include IGY: Year of the New Moons (1961), A Revolution in Earth Science (1967), and Continents Adrift and Continents Aground (1977) as well as many scientific papers.

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