WETHERILL, GEORGE W. / Astronomie / Chercheurs

Centre International de Recherche Scientifique

Chercheurs

Astronomie / WETHERILL, GEORGE W.

wetherilldtm.ciw.edu

Position

Director Emeritus, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution of Washington, DC, USA.

Thèmes de recherche

Lunar and planetary geology; isotope and trace element geochemistry; geochronology and continental evolution; origin, evolution and dynamics of the solar system; biological effects of trace elements.

While working at the Carnegie Institution during the 1950s, Wetherill was a member of a small group of scientists who made major advancements in techniques that permitted determination of the ages of ordinary igneous and metamorphic rocks. Later at UCLA, he applied these techniques to show that all the major classes of the most common type of meteorite had the same age as the Earth -- 4,500 million years.

In 1975, Wetherill returned to the Carnegie Institution of Washington as director of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism. There he continued successful theoretical studies of the orbital evolution of asteroids and meteorites and started investigations of the formation and evolution of our solar system.

The results of these theoretical approaches included, among other things, the likely location of "habitable zones" in other planetary systems, and the important role that Jupiter may have played in the development of advanced life on Earth. The gas giant's gravitational field could protect Earth from being bombarded by a great number of very large comets.

Prix et récompenses

2000 J. Lawrence Smith Medal (National Academy of Sciences) "for his unique contributions to the cosmochronology of the planets and meteorites and to the orbital dynamics and formation of solar system bodies."

Publications

Boss, A. P., G. W. Wetherill, and N. Haghighipour, Rapid formation of ice giant planets, Icarus, submitted.

Brown, P., Z. Ceplecha, R. L. Hawkes, G. Wetherill, M. Beech, and K. Mossman, The orbit and atmospheric trajectory of the Peekskill meteorite from video records, Nature 367, 624-626, 1994.

Chambers, J. E., and G. W. Wetherill, Planets in the asteroid belt, Meteoritics Planet. Sci. 36, 381-399, 2001.

Chambers, J. E., and G. W. Wetherill, Making the terrestrial planets: N-body integrations of planetary embryos in three dimensions, Icarus 136, 304-327, 1998.

Chambers, J. E., G. W. Wetherill, and A. P. Boss, The stability of multi-planet systems, Icarus 119,261-268, 1996.

Inaba, S., H. Tanaka, K. Nakazawa, G. W. Wetherill, and E. Kokubo, High-accuracy statistical simulation of planetary accretion: II. Comparison with N-body simulation, Icarus 149, 235-250, 2001.

Kortenkamp, S. J., G. W. Wetherill, and S. Inaba, Runaway growth of planetary embryos facilitated by massive bodies in a protoplanetary disk, Science 293, 1127-1129, 2001.

Kortenkamp, S. J., and G. W. Wetherill, Terrestrial planet and asteroid formation in the presence of giant planets. I. Relative velocities of planetesimals subject to Jupiter and Saturn perturbations, Icarus 143, 60-73, 2000.

Kortenkamp, S. J., and G. W. Wetherill, Terrestrial planet and asteroid formation in the presence of giant planets. I. Relative velocities of planetesimals subject to Jupiter and Saturn perturbations, Icarus 143, 60-73, 2000.

Levison, H., M. Duncan, and G. Wetherill, A mechanism for producing the transient absorption events in Pictoris, in Circumstellar Dust Disks and Planet Formation, R. Ferlet and A. Vidal-Madjar, eds., pp. 105-110, Editions Frontières, Gif sur Yvette, France, 1994.

Levison, H. F., M. J. Duncan, and G. W. Wetherill, Secular resonances and cometary orbits in the Pictoris system, Nature 372, 441-444, 1994.

Lissauer, J. J., J. B. Pollack, G. W. Wetherill, and D. J. Stevenson, Formation of the Neptune system, in Neptune and Triton, D. P. Cruikshank, ed., pp. 37-108, University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 1995. (No reprints available.)

Wetherill, G. W., and S. Inaba, Planetary accumulation with a continuous supply of planetesimals, Space Sci. Rev. 92, 311-320, 2000.

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