Scientist. James Dana graduated from Yale College in 1833 before sailing to the Mediterranean Sea as a teacher of midshipmen in the US Navy. upon his return to the US, he attended the Yale Institute of Natural Science, where he studied mineralogy. In 1836 and 1837, he was an assistant in the chemistry lab at Yale. From 1838 until 1842, Dana sailed with the US Exploring Expedition, led by Captain Charles Wilkes. The Expedition sailed around the world, mainly exploring the Pacific Ocean and the northwestern US around the Columbia River. The Expedition also discovered the Antarctic continent. During this time, Dana corroborated Charles Darwin's theory of subsidence. When the Expedition returned to the US, Dana spent the next thirteen years preparing his reports, which contained numerous sketches, maps and diagrams. Parts of these reports were published in the American Journal of Science and Art, the journal of which Dana later became joint and chief editor. From 1850 until 1892, Dana was Professor of Natural History and Geology at Yale College. Dana is responsible for much of the early knowledge of volcanoes, obtained from his time with the US Exploring Expedition and later trips to the Hawaiian Islands in the 1880s. His studies in Hawaii led him to theorize on the structure of continents and formation of islands. His recognition of the linear pattern formed by the volcanic island chains was the first step toward the later theory of plate tectonics. Dana published over 200 papers and books on mineralogy, geology, zoology and volcanic studies, including his "Manual of Mineralogy" in 1848, which has been consistently reprinted and is still a standard college text today.
Bio by: Dan Silva