Dr. Earl Ingerson was born on October 28, 1906, in Barstow, Texas. He spent all of his formative years in Barstow, graduating from high school as class valedictorian. He enrolled in Hardin-Simmons College at Abilene and graduated summa cum laude with a BA in chemistry in 1928. He also played on and coached the Hardin-Simmons tennis team to the Texas championship in 1926. At Hardin-Simmons he then got an MA in geology in 1931. Ingerson continued his education at Yale University, receiving the PhD cum laude in geology in 1934. He did post-doctoral work in structural petrology with Professor Bruno Sander at Innsbruck, Austria, in 1934 and 1935. From 1935 to 1947 he was on the staff of the Geophysical laboratory of the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C. and in 1947 became Chief of the Geochemistry and Petrology Branch of the U.S. Geological Survey, a position he held until his move to UT-Austin in 1958. Dr. Ingerson was recruited to develop the field of geochemistry and to enlarge its international reputation. He was Professor of Geology at UT-Austin until his retirement in 1977. From 1961 to 1964 he also served as Associate Dean of the Graduate School. He married Martha Duncan, who was the “gracious lady” behind him until her death in 1979. Professor Ingerson remarried and his second wife, Maureen, died in 1992.
During his tenure with the Geophysical Laboratory and the U.S. Geological Survey, Dr. Ingerson authored many of his nearly 200 publications. Among these were such fundamental works as “Laboratory technique in petrofabric analysis” (Geological Society of America Memoir 6, 1938), “Nature of the ore-forming fluid” (Economic Geology, 1940), “Liquid inclusions in geologic thermometry” (American Mineralogist, 1947), and “Methods and problems of geologic thermometry” (Economic Geology, 1940).
Many honors and accomplishments typify Ingerson’s outstanding career: Honorary Doctor of Science (Hardin-Simmons College, 1942), Day Medal (Geological Society of America, 1955), Distinguished Service Award (U.S. Department of the Interior, 1959), and the Distinguished Alumnus Award (Hardin-Simmons University, 1977). Ingerson was the founder of two major societies and their journals — The Geochemical Society and its publication, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, and the International Association of Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry and its journal Organic Geochemistry. In recognition of the important role he played in establishing these organizations, Earl Ingerson was asked to serve as the first president of each. He held membership, fellowship, and committee service in more than 35 professional societies in 13 nations.
Professor Ingerson taught physical geology and geochemistry at the upper division and graduate levels. He supervised nine MA and six PhD students.
Although he retired in 1977, Professor Emeritus Ingerson remained active as an editor and counselor to several journals and geological societies until Alzheimer’s disease curtailed his activities. F. Earl Ingerson died on June 11, 1993, in Austin, Texas.