College: Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department: Earth and Environmental Science
Research Interests: My research mainly focuses on Igneous Geochemistry. I am interested in how magmas are formed and the processes by which their compositions are modified as they move through the crust to be erupted at the earth's surface.
TILE course: Origins of Life in the Universe
Ph.D., The Open University, Geochemistry, 1989.
B.A, University of Cambridge, Churchill College, Natural Sciences, 1985 .
My research mainly focuses on Igneous Geochemistry. I am interested in how magmas are formed and the processes by which their compositions are modified as they move through the crust to be erupted at the earth's surface. My students and I address these topics by analysing and interpreting the elemental and isotopic compositions of volcanic rocks and minerals. Samples are prepared for elemental and isotopic analysis in the clean laboratory at Iowa and then analysed by ICP techniques at the University of Iowa (ICP-MS and ICP-AES) and other institutions (MC-ICP-MS).
I team teach this new interdisciplinary General Education class (Origins of the Universe) with colleagues from Astronomy, Geoscience, and Biology, to address questions such as: How old is the universe? What is the nature of life? How has life evolved on Earth? What are our human origins? Are there other habitable planets in the universe? These fundamental questions revolve around understanding origins from different perspectives, and students work together with faculty from across different departments to investigate these questions. We use inquiry-based activities to build success in critical thinking, teamwork, and effective written and oral communication. Topics include the origin of the universe, the biochemistry of life, and the origin of life on Earth. It is designed for first and second year students, and it is intended to be taken over two semesters. Students should plan on taking the spring semester course (part 2: 012-046) that includes a 1 s.h. lab. If taken in its entirety (recommended), this course fulfills the 7 s.h. natural sciences GE requirement.