William Melson, senior scientist emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution, died Oct. 7, 2016, at the age of 77.
Melson graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1961 and earned a Ph.D. in geology from Princeton in 1964. For more than 40 years, he was a geologist/researcher specializing in mineral sciences at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, and he received a 50-year career-service pin as scientist emeritus.
He worked on eruptions and volcanic hazards and accompanied Smithsonian archaeologists to archaeological sites. Melson also served on NASA’s lunar-sample-analysis planning team and the NSF Institution of Oceanography’s deep- sea drilling project. He co-authored Lunar Rocks, and wrote Geology Explained: Fort Valley and Massanutten Mountains.
Melson was a consultant to the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board and offered many educational programs, hikes, and field trips, as well as taking 150 volunteers to the Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica. He also was an adjunct faculty member at George Washington University. He was a fellow of the Geological Society of America, the Mineralogical Society of America, and the American Institute of Chemists. He completed 10 marathon races.
Melson is survived by wife Judith, two daughters, and three grandchildren.
Graduate memorials are prepared by the APGA.