Clair Patterson, the Caltech geochemist who established the earth's age and who alerted the world to dangers of industrial lead pollution, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
The academy, founded in 1863, is an official adviser to the U. S. government and Caltech spokesmen said membership is considered to be one of the highest honors that can be bestowed on an American scientist or engineer.
Patterson, a La Canada Flintridge resident, has been at Caltech since 1952. He developed many of the basic principles of lead isotope evolution and pioneered their application to the dating of earth rocks and volcanic magmas, meteorites and moon rocks. He is continuing his investigation of hazards posed by lead contamination of oceans, air and marine life.