Earth Sciences and Ecology Question #304

Caitlin Drewery, a 12 year old female from the Internet asks on December 15, 1997,

Do you have any information on Alice Wilson, the geologist?

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The answer

(Barb Cloutier) Earth Sciences Information Centre answered on December 15, 1997

Alice Evelyn Wilson was born on August 26, 1881 in Cobourg, Ontario and died in Ottawa on April 15, 1964 at 82 years of age. She grew up in a family of scientists and attended the University of Toronto. She started work for the Canadian government in 1909 at the Geological Survey of Canada where she studied fossils under Dr. Percy Raymond. After many years of hard work and begging for funding, she received her doctorate from the University of Chicago at 48 years of age. Dr. Wilson was the first female geologist at the Geological Survey of Canada and was the first female scientist to join the Royal Society of Canada. Because it was not acceptable for her to accompany men on field excursions, Alice Wilson's geological research centred on the Ottawa-St. Lawrence Valley. She studied this area for over 50 years! After her retirement at the age of 65, Dr. Wilson continued her travelling and began teaching at Carleton University in Ottawa. For more information on Alice Wilson, check out this book: Alice Wilson: Telling the Earth's Story by Michael Webb, Copp Clark Pitman Ltd, 1991, or read her biography on the GCS website.


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