October 6, 1911-December 31, 1974


LIKE MANY CONTEMPORARY scientists, David T. Griggs became enmeshed in a dual career: (1) scientific research and teaching in the field of geophysics and (2) the application of science to national defense.

David Griggs was born October 6, 1911, in Columbus, Ohio, the son of Robert Fiske Griggs and Laura Amelia Tressel Griggs. The ancestors of both parents derived from English immigrants who came to America prior to the American Revolution.1 Robert stemmed from a long line of Congregationalists and Quakers; Laura was from a Methodist and Lutheran line—in fact, her father had been a minister. David had a younger brother and two sisters.2 His parental home was a citadel of Christian values, based on love, fidelity, and truth.

While his early childhood was spent in Ohio, Dave's high school days were spent in Washington, D.C., where his father had become the first professor of botany at the George Washington University. In the early part of the twentieth century, botany in the United States had not reached a high scientific level, and Dave's father was instrumental in bringing it into the science realm. His research included expeditions to Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Texas, and Alaska. It was during one of these expeditions to Alaska, in 1916,

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