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Siple Paul Allman

Paul Allman Siple
Serial Number:
United States Navy
Date of Death:
National Memorial Park, West Falls Church, Fairfax County, Virginia

Paul Allman Siple was born in Montpelier, Ohio on December 18, 1908, to Clyde Lavonius Siple and Fannie Hope Allman. His family moved to Erie, Pennsylvania, where he graduated from Central High School in 1926. He became an Eagle Scout in 1923 with 59 merit badges. After an extensive nationwide search in 1928, he was the first Eagle Scout selected for an Antarctic expedition, sailing with Richard E. Byrd on his ship the City of New York. Siple appeared in the documentary film With Byrd at the South Pole (1930).

He became a brother of the Alpha Chi Rho fraternity while attending Allegheny College, in Meadville, Pennsylvania. He married Ruth Ida Johannesmeyer on December 19, 1936.

He also attended Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, from which he received a Ph.D. in 1939. His dissertation was on "Adaptations of the Explorer to the Climate of Antarctic." He worked in the Army Scientific Office for most of his career.

Siple was involved with the United States Antarctic Service Expedition of 1939–1941, which would have been the third Byrd expedition. He served during Operation Highjump, (also known as the United States Navy Antarctic Developments Program 1946–1947), developed cold-weather gear for the Korean War, and Operation Deep Freeze I in 1955–1956. He was the inaugural scientific leader at the U.S. Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station 1956–1957, during the International Geophysical Year. This activity is covered in his fourth book, 90 Degrees South. As an author, Siple wrote a total of four books, A Boy Scout With Byrd (1931), Exploring at Home (1932), Scout to Explorer: Back with Byrd in the Antarctic (1936) and 90 Degrees South (1959).

From 1963 to 1966 he served as the first U.S. science attaché to Australia and New Zealand, where he had a stroke in 1966 and returned to the United States.

His major scientific accomplishment has dominated winter weather reports. Paul Siple coined the well-known term wind-chill, used to describe human comfort due to the impacts of cold temperatures and wind, in his doctoral thesis research on the freezing rate under breezy conditions.

He died on November 25, 1968, at the Army Research Center in Arlington, Virginia. He is now buried in the National Memorial Park in Falls Church, Virginia.

Siple is permanently memorialized with the naming of geographical features that bear his name, Siple Island, Mount Siple and the Siple Coast in Antarctica, and Siple Station, the United States' scientific installation in Ellsworth Land.

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