Press, Frank

Press, Frank

(1924–  ) seismologist, governnment science adviser; born in New York City. He held faculty positions at Columbia University (1949–55), the California Institute of Technology (1955–65), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1965–77); he was president of the National Academy of Science from 1981. As director of the California Institute of Technology's seismological laboratory, Press and his colleagues first identified the "free oscillations" of the earth—the persistent global vibrations arising from earthquakes and other geological disturbances. During his service on the International Geophysical Year glaciology and seismology panel (1955–59), he helped determine the thickness of the earth's North American crust, while his polar research confirmed Antarctica to be a true continent. He was a consultant for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the U.S. military, and the State and Defense Departments; a delegate to the Nuclear Test Ban Conference in Geneva; a member of the President's Science Advisory Committee (1961–64); and director of the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy (1977–81).