(1883 - 1964)
Pentti Eskola was born in Lellainen, Finland, the son of a farmer. He studied chemistry at the University of Helsinki.
In 1921 he traveled to Washington, DC to work for two years at the Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution in Washington, where he conducted experimental studies on the chemical system of rocks. In 1924 Eskola returned to the University of Helsinki, where he would be a professor for nearly 30 years.
Throughout his life, Eskola was fascinated by the study of metamorphic rocks. He was one of the first to apply far-reaching physicochemical postulates to the study of metamorphism, thereby laying the foundation for most subsequent studies in metamorphic petrology. As early as 1914 he introduced the idea of metamorphic phases to correlate metamorphic events. Building largely on studies undertaken in Scandinavia, and in the Precambrian rocks of England, Eskola threw his energy into defining the changing pressure and temperature conditions under which metamorphic rocks were formed, an approach that would allow scientists to make systematic comparisons between rocks of widely different mineralogical composition – and trace the evolution of rocks in the crust of the Earth.
Pentti Eskola received many honors and much recognition for his achievements, including the Penrose, Steinbock and Wallison medals.
Adapted from M. Ewings introductory speech.