Peter Deines (1936-2009)

March 01, 2009

Prof. Peter Deines, an authority on isotopic geochemistry, was well known especially for his research on the origins of diamonds and for his services to the Geochemical Society. He died at 72 in State College, Pennsylvania on February 2, 2009, after a protracted illness with cancer. His passion was the understanding and precise evaluation of isotopic fractionation factors for resolving deep geologic processes.

Born in Hann. Münden, northern Germany, he earned his Geologen Vordiplom at Friedrich Wilhelms University, then an MSc. and PhD. in Geochemistry and Mineralogy at Penn State University. Recognizing a gem, at his graduation in 1967 Penn State appointed him as a professor in geochemistry, a position he retained until nominal retirement in 2004 and Emeritus since then. Among his academic duties, he served in an extraordinary, over 60, administrative posts and university committees, including advisory to two University Presidents. To abet his teaching, he wrote for web distribution two currently available books, Solved Problems in Geochemistry, and Stable Isotope Geochemistry Course Notes. The College Wilson Award was given in recognition of his consummate teaching of geochemistry.

In 1981, he conceived as Treasurer of the Geochemical Society its first budgeting and financial planning system and continued its development until 1988. In appreciation of that contribution, he was elected to a unique Honorary Life Membership in the Society. His service also extended to becoming Chairman of Goldschmidt Conferences in 1988-1990 and as Co-Chair in 1991-1992 and 1994-1995. Some generations of geological scientists have had their careers directly furthered by Dr. Deines's devotion to the teaching and evolution of geochemistry.

By Hu Barnes, former President of the Geochemical Society

Category: In Memoriam