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Agassiz, Alexander (17 December 1835–27 March 1910), marine biologist, oceanographer, and industrial entrepreneur, was born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, the son of Louis Agassiz, a zoologist, and Cécile Braun. Agassiz came to the United States in 1849, following the death of his mother in Germany. The domestic life of his parents had been marred by difficulties, and Alex moved to Massachusetts to join his father, who had become a professor of zoology and geology at Harvard University after a distinguished career in Europe. The American experience came at a difficult stage in Alex Agassiz’s adolescence. He hardly knew his father, who had spent much time away from home on scientific projects....

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Ashburner, Charles Albert (09 February 1854–24 December 1889), geologist and mining engineer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Algernon Eyre Ashburner, a shipbuilder, and Sarah Blakiston. Charles Ashburner obtained his college education at the Towne Scientific School of the University of Pennsylvania and ultimately was granted a total of three baccalaureate and advanced degrees by his alma mater. In June 1874 he received his B.S. degree in civil engineering and graduated valedictorian of his class. Three years later he was awarded an M.S. degree in geology. Upon recommendation of the faculty, in recognition of his outstanding career and accomplishments, Ashburner became the first member of the alumni to receive an honorary D.Sc. degree, in June 1889....

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Cist, Jacob (13 March 1782–30 December 1825), anthracite coal pioneer, naturalist, and inventor, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Charles Cist, a journalist and publisher, and Mary Weiss. The eldest son of a large, prominent family, Cist proved responsible, practical, and curious from a young age. After completing elementary school in Philadelphia, he studied for three years at the Moravian Academy (Nazareth Hall) in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, where he exhibited particular interests in geography, manufacture, and illustration. Cist became proficient at sketching in ink and in oils, landscapes and factories being among his prominent themes. He also showed a knack for writing, publishing short pieces of prose and verse in magazines and newspapers....

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Emmons, Samuel Franklin (29 March 1841–28 March 1911), geologist, mining engineer, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Nathaniel Henry Emmons, a merchant engaged in East India and China trade, and Elizabeth Wales. After graduating from Harvard College in June 1861, Emmons was persuaded by his family to accompany his ailing mother to Europe rather than enlist in the Union army. Emmons stayed in Europe, attending the École Impériale des Mines at Paris from 1862 to 1864. Attracted by the practical aspects of mining engineering and the proximity of mines, he entered the Bergakademie Freiberg, Saxony, in the summer of 1864. A year of study was followed by a year of traveling through Europe visiting important mining centers, after which he returned home to Boston in June 1866....

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Gayley, James (11 October 1855–25 February 1920), engineer and inventor, was born in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, the son of Samuel Alexander Gayley, a Presbyterian minister, and Agnes Malcolm. His parents had emigrated from northern Ireland to the United States, and Samuel Gayley became minister in West Nottingham, Maryland, shortly after his son’s birth. James Gayley attended local schools and a preparatory academy in West Nottingham. He went on to Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, from which he received a degree in mining engineering in 1876. From that year to 1879 Gayley worked as a chemist for the Crane Iron Company in Catasauqua, Pennsylvania. This was a time of great growth in the iron and steel industries in the United States, and new techniques were being introduced by many inventors, often in small companies....

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Kelly, Mervin Joseph (14 February 1894–18 March 1971), engineer and research director, was born in Princeton, Missouri, the son of Joseph Fenimore Kelly, a high school principal, and Mary Etta Evans. As a young child Kelly moved with his family to Gallatin, Missouri, where his father bought a hardware and farm implement store. In 1910 Kelly matriculated at the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy with the intention of becoming a mining engineer. He supported himself by working the first two years for the Missouri State Geological Survey as a mineral specimen cataloger and, during the summer after his sophomore year, in a Utah copper mine. This latter experience soured him on a career in mining, and he changed his field of study to general science. For the next two years he worked as an assistant in the chemistry department, and by the time he received his B.S. in 1914, he had decided on a career in research. He spent the next year teaching physics and studying mathematics at the University of Kentucky, where he received an M.S. in 1915, the same year he married Katharine Milsted; they had two children. He then enrolled in the University of Chicago and studied physics under ...

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Keyes, Charles Rollin (26 December 1864–18 May 1942), geologist, mining engineer, and publisher, was born in Des Moines, Iowa, the son of Calvin Webb Keyes, a wealthy merchant and entrepreneur, and Julia Baird Davis. Keyes entered the State University of Iowa in 1883, securing his bachelor’s degree in 1887 and, after leaving the campus, his A.M. in 1890....