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Florence Bascom - Windows to the Universe

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Florence Bascom, geologist, holding a compass
Florence Bascom Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Women's History Archives at Smith College

Florence Bascom

Florence Bascom, who lived from 1862 until 1945, was one of the most important geologists in the United States. She studied mineral crystals by looking at them very closely with a microscope. She also studied metamorphic rocks and how mountains form.

Long ago, it was not easy for a woman to go to college in the U.S., but that didnít stop Florence! She earned two bachelorís degrees, a masterís degree, and a Ph.D. in geology. She was the second woman to ever earn a Ph.D. in geology in the U.S.

Florence started teaching geology at Bryn Mawr, a womenís college, in 1895. She collected minerals, rocks, and fossils for the college and taught hundreds of students over the years. Many of her students became successful geologists just like she did!

Last modified September 21, 2009 by Lisa Gardiner.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF