Rev. James B. Macelwane, S.J., was born near Port Clinton, Ohio, on September 28,1883. He received his A.B. degree at St. Louis University, followed with the A.M. and M.S. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1918. He then went to the University of California where he obtained the Ph.D. in Physics in 1923. He became Assistant Professor of Geology at the University of California where he organized graduate study in geophysics and had charge of the seismographic stations of the University at Berkeley and at Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton.
In 1925 he was appointed Professor of Geophysics and Director of the new Department of Geophysics in St. Louis University, a position which he still holds. This was the first department of Geophysics in the western hemisphere. He was Dean of the Graduate School of St. Louis University, 1927 - 1933. In the spring of 1944 he was appointed Dean of the new Institute of Geophysical Technology, now broadened into the Institute of Technology, of St. Louis University.
Father Macelwane is an expert in elastic wave theory, earthquakes, earth structure, epicenters and seismicity. During the war he did important research for the Navy in meteorology, atmospheric micro-oscillations and micro-seisms. He has had over one hundred papers published in the scientific journals and is the author or co-author of a number of books, including Introduction to Theoretical Seismology, and When the Earth Quakes. He was largely responsible for the establishment of the relationships between microseismic disturbances and storms. He also sponsored the tripartite station method of detecting and tracking hurricanes.
Holding membership in a large number of scientific societies here and abroad, Father Macelwane has been honored by election to important offices in a number of these societies. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, of the American Physical Society, of the American Geographical Society, and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is currently President of the American Geophysical Union and of the Jesuit Seismological Association, and a Member of the Board of Directors of the Seismological Society of America and of the Editorial Board of the bulletin of that society.
Mendel Medal Presentation Program, May 10, 1955. Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania.