Norman L. Bowen

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Norman Levi Bowen
(left to right)- Norman Levi Bowen (1887-1956) and Orville Frank Tuttle (1916-1983) (4730112454) (cropped) (cropped).jpg
Norman Levi Bowen
Born Norman Levi Bowen
(1887-06-21)June 21, 1887
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Died September 11, 1956(1956-09-11) (aged 69)
Nationality Canadian
Fields petrology
Institutions Carnegie Institution for Science
Known for Bowen's reaction series
Notable awards

Norman Levi Bowen FRS[2] was born in Kingston, Ontario, Canada June 21, 1887 and died on September 11, 1956. Bowen "revolutionized experimental petrology and our understanding of mineral crystallization". Beginning geology students are familiar with Bowen's reaction series depicting how different minerals crystallize under varying pressures and temperatures."[3]


Bowen conducted experimental research at the Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution for Science of Washington from 1912 to 1937. He published The Evolution of the Igneous Rocks in 1928. This book set the stage for a geochemical and geophysical foundation for the study of rocks and minerals. This book became the petrology handbook.

Personal life[edit]

Bowen married Mary Lamont in 1911, and they had a daughter Catherine.

Awards and honours[edit]

Bowen was awarded the Penrose Medal in 1941 and elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 1949.[2]

The Norman L. Bowen Award, awarded annually by the American Geophysical Union, is named in his honour.

The astronauts of Apollo 17 named a small lunar crater after him.


  1. ^ Norman Levi BowenBiographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences
  2. ^ a b c Tilley, C. E. (1957). "Norman Levi Bowen 1887-1956". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 3: 6–26. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1957.0002. JSTOR 769349. 
  3. ^ Chamot, Josh. 100 Years of Science History., Geotimes, 3 (2002): 44-45.

Further reading[edit]