The Shell Companies Foundation, Inc., of Houston, Tex., has given $750,000 to the University of Texas at Austin to establish the Shell Distinguished Chair in Geophysics. The 5-year, $150,000-per-year grant will support the studies of John G. Sclater. Sclater, currently a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has accepted a joint position that begins July 1 in the geological sciences department and in the Institute for Geophysics at UT Austin.

Sclater's research into the formation of ocean basins has applications for understanding the way petroleum deposits mature. He has studied the reconstruction of movements of the continents and the subsidence of ocean basins. He is considered an expert in the interpretation of geothermal and seismic data.