Bruce C. Heezen (1924-1977), oceanographer and geologist, received the B.A. degree from Iowa State University in 1948 and his Ph.D. degree from Columbia University in 1952. Heezen's entire professional career was spent on the geology department faculty of Columbia University and as a scientist at the University's Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory. He was Research Associate, 1955-1957; Senior Research Scientist, 1957-1960; Assistant Professor, 1960-1964; and Associate Professor, 1964-1977. Heezen was also a consultant with the United States Naval Oceanographic Office from 1968 until his death.
Heezen's interest in oceanography began in 1947 when as an undergraduate he was invited to join Maurice W. Ewing's expedition to study the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. His career was marked by constant seagoing voyages and submersible dives to support research on turbidity currents, abyssal plains, continental drift, and other aspects of the ocean floor. He was the author of over 300 scientific papers and several books including The Face of the Deep, with Charles D. Hollister in 1971. With his colleague Marie Tharp, Heezen created many maps and panoramas of the ocean floor. Several of the maps were published in National Geographic magazine. Heezen died in 1977 while working in the submersible NR-1 on the Reykjanes Ridge in the North Atlantic.
Heezen was a member and officer of numerous national and international organizations. He was the recipient of the Henry Bryant Bigelow Medal of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1964; the Cullum Geographic Medal of the American Geographical Society, 1973; and the Gardiner Greene Hubbard Medal of the National Geographic Society, awarded posthumously in 1978.