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In Memory: Madeline Mutch
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Ice Age Extinctions
“What do you do if a polar bear comes?” The Finnish helicopter pilot asks this as he is about to take off from a frozen lake in southwestern Greenland to pick up the rest of the science team, leaving Brown University PhD student Billy D’Andrea all alone on the ice. D’Andrea smiles at him to acknowledge the joke, but the pilot isn’t smiling back; it turns out that he has encountered male polar bears venturing this far inland, presumably desperate for a meal. The plight of polar bears provides a dramatic example of the sensitivity of arctic ecosystems to climate change. And while the Brown University science team was interested in understanding the natural variability of climate in this region of Greenland, they were not interested in encountering a hungry polar bear on the middle of an isolated, frozen lake in the arctic tundra…
Mark “Kane” McGuire, ‘07, Billy D’Andrea,
Dr. Yongsong Huang, and Jonathan Nichols
at a Greenland limnological core drilling site.
In April of 2006, a team led by Professor Yongsong Huang and Billy D’Andrea conducted a two week lake coring expedition in the Søndre Strømfjord region of southwestern Greenland, just north of the Arctic Circle. They were targeting a group of brackish lakes in the region, which they had identified as being particularly useful for reconstructing past changes in the climate of the region. Based in part on preliminary work they had published in the journal Organic Geochemistry, which reported the presence of unusual algal lipids in the sediments of the brackish lakes of the region, the National Science Foundation funded an extensive project to reconstruct the temperature variability of southwestern Greenland using the 8,000 years-worth of sediment found at the bottom of the lakes. The unusual algal lipids are alkenones, and they have been shown in the world’s oceans to retain a signal of the temperature of the water in which the producer algae lived. The on-going Greenland project involves (among other objectives) investigating whether alkenones found in lake sediments can be used to quantitatively reconstruct lake water temperature, identifying and collecting the producer algae for culturing experiments, and reconstructing lake water temperature in decadal time steps over the past 8,000 years by examining the alkenones preserved in lake sediment cores. The primary motivation for the research is to investigate the natural variability of temperature and precipitation in southwestern Greenland over the past 8,000 years and to understand the natural forcing mechanisms and climate feedbacks that determine this variability. To reconstruct past temperature, they first needed to recover the sediment cores.
The coring team (which, fortunately, never did encounter a polar bear) included Dr. Yongsong Huang, Billy D’Andrea, Jonathan Nichols (a Brown PhD student), Mark “Kane” McGuire, an undergraduate (class of ‘07) who would eventually complete a senior thesis project connected to this field work, and Dr. John Anderson (a collaborator from Loughborough University in the UK). The team traveled to and from Greenland on a C-5 and C-130 cargo plane, masterfully piloted by the 109th wing of the Air National Guard out of Scotia, NY. While the noise inside a propeller-driven cargo plane made in-flight movies impossible, the cargo net seats and extra leg room more than made up for it… and of course the team could bring all the equipment they needed.
Once in Greenland, the team operated out of a science facility called KISS (Kangerlussuaq International Science Support), from which they relied on an A-Star helicopter, a Hagglund tractor, a pick-up truck, and some long distance trekking to achieve full sediment recovery of 12 lakes in the region over a ten day period. Winds and cold temperatures (0-10 °F) made field work challenging at times, with lake water immediately freezing up the coring equipment, but the team worked extremely well together and were able to overcome such obstacles. The team enjoyed hiking in and out of some of their coring sites, but they preferred the ease and speed of helicopter travel – not to mention the beautiful sweeping views of fjords and frozen tundra these flights provided.
During the April coring trip, the team also deployed five oceanographic time-series sediment traps into two of the lakes. These giant funnels, buoyed at the lake surface and anchored to the lake floor, would collect the sediment that fell to the lake bottom throughout the coming summer. The traps would collect the sediment in ten day intervals into 12 different sample bottles, allowing them to determine when the alkenones were being produced (that is, when the algae were blooming) and inform the team as to when to return to study and collect the algae. In August 2007, Billy D’Andrea and Jon Nichols returned to Greenland to collect the sediment traps with the aid of Dr. John Anderson and other field assistants from the University of Minnesota and the University of Barcelona. Later laboratory analysis of the sediment trap material clearly demonstrated that the alkenones were being produced in late June.
In June 2007, Huang, D’Andrea and new Brown/MBL PhD student Susanna Theroux returned to collect the algae and to perform lake water sampling designed to better understand the habitat of the organisms. It was immediately clear that the team was there at the right time, as the lake was overtaken by an alga which they had never seen before. Lipid analysis of water filters taken from the lake during the bloom showed enormous concentrations of alkenones, telling the team that these new algae were the ones they were after. The team exploited the natural temperature gradient provided by the lake’s thermoclines to demonstrate that there was a strong temperature dependence on the alkenones produced by the algae in the Greenland lakes. They will use this in situ calibration along with the calibration results of ongoing algal culturing experiments to determine an absolute temperature calibration for reconstructing lake water temperature over the past 6,500 years. Huang, D’Andrea and Theroux will return to Greenland in June 2008 to conduct more limnological sampling and perform on-site culture experiments using the Greenland alkenone producers.
Diligent field and laboratory work has paid off and research associated with the Greenland project has progressed nicely. Two research papers have been published since the beginning of the project. In a paper published in JGR-Biogeoscience, D’Andrea and Huang and their co-authors reported successful polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of 18S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequences of haptophyte algae from water filters, surface sediments, and late-Holocene sediments (~1000 years old) from the Greenland lakes. The DNA of the algal primary producer is extremely well preserved in the laminated lake sediments which have been deposited in cold (1-2 oC), anoxic, and sulfidic bottom water. Phylogenetic analyses of the Greenland haptophyte rDNA sequences suggested that alkenones in the Greenland lake sediments are produced by haptophyte algae of the class Prymnesiophyceae. The 18S rDNA sequences from the Greenland samples indicate that the Greenland alga represents a new taxon (this new alga has since been captured by the researchers). More recent DNA work by Theroux, D’Andrea and Huang (presented at AGU in 2007) demonstrates that the Greenland alkenone producers have remained unchanged over the past 6,500 years and that a single alkenone-based temperature calibration can be used to assess temperature variability over that time period.
The second paper, published in Analytical Chemistry, reports a new method for compound-specific hydrogen isotopic analysis of alkenones. Hydrogen isotope ratios (2H/H or D/H) of alkenones preserved in lake and marine sediments hold great promise for paleoclimate studies. However, hydrogen isotope measurements of individual alkenones have not been possible due to chromatographic co-elution of alkenones with the same chain length but different numbers of double bonds. Published studies have only reported the δD values of the mixture of co-eluting alkenones. Huang’s research group developed an efficient procedure to isolate individual alkenones based on double bond numbers using silica gel impregnated with silver nitrate. The chromatographic procedure allows for the first time hydrogen-isotopic measurement on individual alkenones. δD values of specific di-, tri- and tetra-unsaturated C37 alkenones produced by an Emiliania huxleyi culture, as well as those isolated from Greenland lake sediments, differ consecutively by 43 to 65 ‰. These findings suggest that alkenones with different numbers of carbon-carbon double bonds express significantly different δD values and that co-elution of different alkenones may lead to erroneous source water δD reconstructions. Their alkenone isolation approach opens a new avenue for paleoclimate reconstructions using hydrogen isotope ratios of individual alkenones.
The most exciting findings of the temperature reconstructions so far (unpublished, but presented at the 2007 AGU meeting) is that the temperature records from Greenland lakes show centennial-scale variability that corresponds with variability of solar output. However, changes in solar output over centennial time scales are too small to directly impact the temperature of southwestern Greenland so dramatically. D’Andrea and Huang believe that the small changes in solar output cause changes in atmospheric circulation patterns (associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation) which amplify the solar forcing, and result in large climatic changes for southwestern Greenland and other Northern Hemisphere sites. Of particular interest in the southwestern Greenland temperature reconstruction is a large and rapid temperature drop at the time when Viking settlers disappeared from the region. The lake-based temperature reconstructions might help improve our understanding of the role played by abrupt climate change in driving the Norse settlers from Greenland. If confirmed, the findings could shed important new light on the drivers of Northern Hemisphere climate variability, leading to better understanding of Earth’s climate system and better predictions of future regional climate change.
-- Billy D’Andrea
Dear Alumni/ae and Friends of Brown Geological Sciences:
Academic life has a continual rhythm of change, renewal, and growth. As of July, 2008, one of us (Tim) assumed the Chairmanship of Geological Sciences, while the other (Warren) now looks forward to the satisfaction and reflection of a sabbatical. This transition gives us a chance to look at how the Department is evolving, why our Department has been such a special place to study and to work, and to look forward to the development and growth that will continue to make the Department vital and exciting.
We can take pride in having largely passed through a major phase of faculty renewal in the last few years. Although some of the searches started before Warren’s tenure, we have recruited and integrated six new faculty into the Department over the past three years. Jim Russell (ESH), Jessica Whiteside (ESH), and Mike Wyatt (Planetary) joined us in 2006, Greg Hirth (Geophysics) in 2007, and Meredith Hastings (ECI) and Stephen Parman (GMP) in 2008. We’ve added exceptionally talented people, mostly at the junior level, who will expand and strengthen the Department.
Finding adequate research space for all the new and continuing faculty has been a challenge. However, the community spirit and cooperation of the Department has made the Chair’s job much easier. As we’ve gone through this process, we’ve maintained the philosophy of sharing facilities and building concentrations of excellence in our core disciplines; in many cases our recent additions will also take us in new directions with their research interests and their analytical tools. At the same time, we count on the vitality of our emeriti faculty (Hess, Matthews, Rutherford, T. Tullis, and Webb) who continue to be involved in the Department through advising students, conducting research, and participating in Department seminars.
One of the defining characteristics of Geological Sciences at Brown has been its spirit of collegiality and commitment, which extends not only to connections among our faculty, but to their relations with graduate students, undergraduates, and the staff who work with us. Our new faculty have shown that they embrace this spirit, as they take students to Africa, Utah, the Pacific, or the Antarctic, and as they put their hearts into teaching and mentoring.
Looking ahead, we see an interesting landscape for growth in the Department over the next few years. We have been fortunate that through our planning efforts for renewal of the faculty the University has allowed us to integrate new faculty prior to retirements.Over the next few years, we anticipate that the Department faculty will experience modest growth and that the Department will play an increasing leadership role on campus in interdisciplinary research and teaching. Opportunities include the growth in environmentally-related initiatives (the Brown-Marine Biological Laboratory combined Ph.D. program and the Environmental Change Initiative) and efforts to increase access to sophisticated tools for computing and scientific visualization.
Much of this newsletter highlights the lives and accomplishments of our alumni. We highly value our connections with alumni and former colleagues and depend on them to inform us on how we’ve done so far as well as offer avenues of advice for the future. As the Department continues to evolve and grow, we count on your continued interest in Geological Sciences at Brown, and welcome your news and commentary.
- Tim Herbert and Warren Prell
Geoff Abers (ScB ’83): I moved to a Senior Scientist position at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, after eight enjoyable years on the faculty at Boston University. I have moved to Nyack, NY with my wife, Terry Plank, and son Sam. Seismology has me in the field in Washington and Alaska and writing up results from a recent project in Central America with Karen Fischer’s group. Most of my time lately is spent running the MARGINS Office, an NSF-funded support facility that involves me in a wide spectrum of geoscience, and attending very many meetings.
Jennifer Anderson (PhD ’04): I just completed my third year as an assistant faculty member in the Geoscience Department at Winona State University on the mighty Mississippi River in Southeastern Minnesota. I am enjoying the busy life of a state university faculty member and teach a number of different classes including Planetary Geology, Astronomy, Geophysics, Historical Geology, and an interdisciplinary, team-taught science content course for elementary education majors. I have also worked with a Dance faculty member to design and teach a Science and Dance course called “Time in Motion” which is (indeed) taught in a dance studio and where students investigate the scientific concept of Time. My husband, Jeremy is also enjoying his job at Thern where he designs winches and cranes; but mostly, he races his Ford Mustang and his new 125-cc shifter kart (0 to 60 in 3 seconds, top speed 140+ mph, corners at 3 g’s). If you ever find yourself in Minnesota, be sure to give me a call!
Ray Arvidson (PhD ’74): I was the Whipple Lecturer and Whipple Awardee, Planetology Section, at the Fall 2007 AGU Meeting. You can view the webcast at
Janice Bishop (PhD ’94): Below is a photo of my kids (Markus and Katie Gruendler) showing off the funny carrots from our garden. Markus turned 3 in January 2008 and Katie turned 2 in June 2008.
Ruth Bernstein (PhD ’82): My boys are both in college (Juilliard and University of Rochester) and I decided to join them. I have gone back for a Master’s in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Management. I am in the distance program at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. I guess I have come a ways from Geology. Anyone know of a geologic nonprofit agency? My husband, Jeff, and I live in Seabeck, Washington.
Donna Blackman (PhD ’91): I am the Chair of the US RIDGE 2000 Science Program and Steering Committee () at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Dan Brabander (PhD ’97): I am currently an associate professor of Geosciences at Wellesley College. My research interests these days have drifted far and wide since my basement GeoChem days and currently include: urban geochemistry and human health; the fate and transport of pollutants in watersheds; and science education. I teach Earth Processes and the Environment, Environmental Science, and Environmental Geochemistry. Daughters Kari (7) and Mica (2) can tell the difference between basalt and granite!
Jim Burnell (PhD ’83): I am interfacing with the mining industry in Colorado (which is back after an absence of 25 years), with a boom in activity in the gold, molybdenum and uranium sectors, especially. I’ve been delivering talks around the state, most popular being “Colorado Uranium Overview” and “Critical and Strategic Minerals – Can Colorado Help?” I appear to be aging, but have no plans for retirement in the near future, as health is great.
Elizabeth Chambers (ScB ’87): I finished serving three years at the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) mission in Moscow, Russia. I enjoyed experiencing the Russian culture and improving my Russian as well as earning a brown belt in karate. In August I started my two-year tour at the USAID mission in Kabul, Afghanistan as the Financial Management Officer. It is one of USAID’s largest missions. If anyone happens to be in the area for a project, please contact me at the US Embassy.
Jessica Cohen (ScM ’01): Just a quick note to let everyone know that I’m now living in Copenhagen, Denmark. My husband and I moved over a year ago, and are loving the city and our new lives here. The guest room is always available for friends from Brown.
Glen Collins (ScM ’53): I am enjoying my 13th year of retirement and the satisfaction of knowing that I have contributed to the cause of protecting and preserving the federal public lands in the West.
Jim Conca (ScB ’79): My wife (Dr. Judith Wright) and I published a new book, The GeoPolitics of Energy: Achieving a Just and Sustainable Energy Distribution by 2040. This is a general audience science book, basically a primer for the public and decision-makers. The premise of the publication is that we need a worldwide energy distribution that is about a third fossil fuel, a third renewables and a third nuclear by 2040 of the total 30 trillion kWhrs/year we will be generating by that time, ambitious but doable with the appropriate political will. Folks can check it out at Amazon.com. I am presently Director of the NMSU Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center here in Carlsbad, NM. For the last 13 years, we have been monitoring the environment (air, water, soil, people) in a 100-mile radius around the only operating deep geologic nuclear waste disposal site in the world, the WIPP, the Waste Isolation Pilot Project, here in NM (our website is at ). It is a half-mile below the surface in the middle of a three-thousand foot 230-million year old massive bedded salt deposit that is so tight that 230-million year old sea water is still leaking out (we just isolated some DNA from it - quite exciting). We are always surprised that no one has heard of WIPP which has been accepting nuclear waste since 1999, both low activity and high activity, just not commercial spent fuel (a non-scientific decision made in 1977 for Cold War reasons). Without reservation, the nuclear repository has been the most successful, and safe, endeavor the country has ever engaged in, with no fatalities, no problems, and even coming in under budget. It has shown the nuclear waste issue to be not much of a problem, that Yucca Mountain is unnecessary if we begin recycling spent fuel, and that the WIPP site has sufficient capacity for over 30,000 years of nuclear waste at ten times the present nuclear power generation.
Ken Conca (ScB ’82): I was recently promoted to full professor in the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland. I also teach in Maryland’s interdisciplinary Environmental Science and Policy major. I am currently working on a book on the United Nations and global environmental governance. Feel free to contact me at
John Copenhaver (ScB ’75): My wife Lynn and our two Maltese dogs (Hubble and Gatsby) live in Atlanta, where I am the President and CEO of the Disaster Recovery Institute (DRI). After leaving Brown, I received my Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia and practiced law in Atlanta before gravitating to disasters; I was appointed by President Clinton to head FEMA’s Southeast Region in 1997, where I served until I lost my job in the “hostile takeover” January 20, 2001. I now am happily back in the private sector, where I supervise the international expansion of DRI’s operations. Photo above: at the Great Wall of China.
Abe Doherty (ScB ’95): I got to visit with Alice Post (PhD ‘98) in her small town in the Netherlands this fall, as part of a month-long European film festival tour. I made a short film that was playing in film festivals in 10 countries this fall, so it was a dream-come-true to travel with the film. Alice still wears lots of black. She roasted us chestnuts gathered from her amazing garden and took me on a bike ride through the countryside, past many thatch-roof houses, tiny ponies and pre-historic burial sites of the Huns (the only rocks around). She and her husband Peter both work for Shell. I’m still with the California Coastal Conservancy (now as a project manager for the California Ocean Protection Council) and am having fun making movies in my spare time.
Robert Edrington (ScB ’84): As you may recall from last year, we were adopting a little girl from China and seemed to be in perpetual limbo. Well, she’s here (Esther Grace QiuJu Edrington) and what an adventure it was to go and get her. First we (Melissa and I) took the 15+ hour trip to Beijing. The first week was spent touring Beijing and Guilin, as we figured that this was a once in a lifetime trip. Then it was off to Nanning, the Capital of little Esther’s Province. We survived “gotcha day” which is the first day we got to not only see Esther but take her back to the hotel. The paperwork was intense and of course there was the official interview, and more paperwork. Did I mention the paperwork? Then we spent the rest of the week getting to know this little bundle of ours. It was an awkward time in which we were trying to build her trust in us and help her get over the shock of being taken from her familiar surroundings to this new unknown world and these strangers. By Friday we got the official paperwork that made Esther ours by Chinese law and we were off to Guangzhou (Canton), which is where the US Consulate that handles adoption cases is located. And yes, more paperwork; this time it was to process the final visa and immigration details. Also there was the medical exam and swearing in. So finally we were heading to the good ol’ USA. We were a little nervous taking a 10-month old on a very long trip but she was such a trooper. And the really cool part is that she became an American citizen the moment her visa was stamped and she put her foot on US soil and that moment was on the 4th of July, 2007! She’s a real Yankee Doodle Dandy. If anyone wants a more detailed story they can go to esthermakes6.blogspot.com as we kept a blog for the trip and beyond. Esther is fitting in very well with the rest of the kids. Her big brothers find her a great source of entertainment and her big sister loves being a big sister (as up to this point she has been the little sis).
Bob Ettinger (ScB ’01): I have moved to Seattle to teach middle school science, following my college girlfriend (now fiancée!) who started a PhD at UW. The geology is quite impressive out here, but unfortunately it’s not part of the 6th grade curriculum! If there are any geo alums out there who’d like to go look at cool rocks on a hike out here, drop me a line at.
John Farrell (PhD ’91): As a Brown alum, the husband of an alum (A. Baum '82, MD '85), and the father of two lovely daughters that probably don't have a prayer of getting in, despite the fact that they are both smarter (than me) and have better grades than I ever did, I thought that folks might be interested in the fact that President Bush recently appointed another alum, Dr. Virgil (Buck) Sharpton (PhD ’85) to the position of Commissioner on the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (), a federal agency that establishes the nation's goals and objectives for all Arctic research. I serve as the Commission's executive director, and, interestingly enough, the former Chairman of the Commission was George Newton Jr. ('57, BS in engineering). So, there's been a running link. Maybe that's why there is a little town in Rhode Island named "Arctic."
Jeremy Fisher (PhD ’06): I spent most of last year working as a postdoc at UNH/Durham and Tulane while living in the Boston area with my wife, Frances. While it was a productive year, just about all I can remember is a dizzyingly long number of hours commuting. The position did, however, yield a Science publication in November ’07 on Hurricane Katrina, followed by a brief media blitz. In August ‘07, I moved and took a research position at Synapse Energy Economics (www.synapse-energy.com) in Cambridge, MA working on fast-paced projects to understand the practicalities and economics of renewable energy, efficiency, and emissions trading. We are happily living in Somerville.
Karl Flessa (PhD ’73): I’m now the Head of the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arizona and am continuing my research on the Colorado River delta.
Kena Fox-Dobbs (ScB ’99): In December 2006 I received a PhD in Earth and Planetary Sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz. I spent 2007 teaching several courses in paleontology as a lecturer at UCSC, and working as a postdoc at the Smithsonian. Currently I am studying the biogeochemical effects of termites in African savanna ecosystems as a postdoc in the Zoology and Physiology department at the University of Wyoming. Although it was difficult to leave the Bay Area after 8 excellent years, I am looking forward to future adventures in the Rockies. I can be reached at.
Erik Franklin (ScB ’94): I’m still working for Fast Search & Transfer, the Norwegian Search Engine company I joined five years ago. I’ve recently transitioned into an Alliances Manager role, managing our partners and system integrators who support programs in the US Federal government. I still live in Arlington, Virginia with my wife Sara, our two beautiful daughters Grace and Caroline and the mutts, Gus and Sierra. The attached picture of my girls doing a little leaf collecting and rock hopping last fall. I can be reached at .
Liz Fuller (ScM ’03): In 2007, I took the Polar Plunge into the icy waters of Chesapeake Bay with 12 sponsors behind me, raising money to support the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. That morning, Fox News chatted with me, and - to my surprise - chose to air the footage! Some of it, anyway. They left out my comments about the science behind climate change. If you’d like to see what the Polar Plunge looked like, with over two hundred people racing into the bay, take a look at: . In 2008, I joined the Peace Corps. I arrived in Morocco on March 4th, but for the safety of all Peace Corp Volunteers, we’re asked not to give our whereabouts in any public document. I can tell you that I’m in the environmental sector, and am learning to speak Tamazight, which means that I’m assigned to a Site of Ecological Interest in the High Atlas or Middle Atlas mountains. If you want to follow my adventures, you can check out my blog at . I can’t update too frequently, since we’re spending more and more time in our villages, and because the computers are a little iffy sometimes, but I do when I can.
Jim Greenwood (PhD ’97) and Marty Gilmore (PhD ’98): This has been a great year for us. Jim has been probing Martian meteorites in beautiful Hokkaido and Marty earned tenure at Wesleyan. Best of all, we welcomed Samuel Charles Greenwood into the world on Labor Day, 2007. He’s simply wonderful and gives his parents great joy.
Lisa Gaddis (ScM ’81): After four years, I recently stepped down as Chief Scientist of the Astrogeology Team of the U.S. Geological Survey. It is a huge delight to be able to return to research in planetary science! Our team is based in Flagstaff, Arizona, and we work on space missions and digital maps of the planets for NASA. In recent years I’ve worked on the Mars Exploration Rovers mission and I’m now gearing up for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission. I’m primarily a lunar scientist, so I’m very excited about the U.S. and international plans to study the Moon. (Like many other ‘lunatics’ across the world, I can’t wait to work with the excellent data to be returned by the Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument headed by Carlé Pieters!) My husband, James Tyburczy, is a Professor at Arizona State University in the School of Earth and Space Exploration, and we have two children, aged 12 and 10. Between increased space science activity and growing teenagers, we expect to be very busy in the next few years! Photo: Some of my USGS colleagues who are working on the rover mission: (left to right) Larry Soderblom, Jeff Johnson, Ken Herkenhoff, and myself. This photo was published in Mountain Living Magazine in February 2005.
Steve Getty (PhD ’90): I am a Researcher and Science Educator at Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) in Colorado Springs, CO. My research and teaching are with about 15 districts around the country (FL, IL, CO, CA) working with K-12 teachers in science and math. I’m developing new types of texts and labs in almost all of the sciences. Projects I’m helping to lead have funding from the U.S. Deptment of Education, NSF, Colorado Math/Science Partnership (MSP), and Los Angeles Unified Schools. But, WOW, human subjects are much messier to analyze than rocks! (you can’t crush, dissolve, and ionize high schoolers in a mass spec, ‘tho some of you might like to….) What’s the most fun about Colorado Springs? The amazing geology, teaching geology here, birding, and mountain biking! (don’t ask – no, I never get skiing).
Eddie Gonzalez (ScB ’94): 2007 was very exciting. This past June, we added a new member to the family, Ruby Pierce Gonzalez. We are very excited to be parents and are tremendously enjoying our time with Ruby. She turned 6 months in December and we are sure she is on the verge of talking, walking, and solving all the world’s problem. Also, this past August we moved to Berkeley, California so that my wife, Betsy, could begin a 3-year seminary program at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. After 13 years in Washington, DC, I was ready for a change and my wife’s academic pursuits offered a great opportunity to spend time on the left coast. We love living in the Bay Area and have already connected to many Brown friends living out here. As a result of the move, I left my position as Senior Program Director with the National Park Foundation and am now Regional Development Officer for the Student Conservation Association, an organization whose mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong environmental stewardship by engaging young people in hands-on conservation service. I am responsible for finding financial support for our west coast youth and young adult programs including our desert restoration, invasive-species control, fire management, inventory and monitoring, and trail maintenance activities from Washington state to California over to New Mexico. If any alums are working in public land management agencies or agency partners that have a need for youth conservation work, please contact me at email@example.com. I would love to get more youth involved in conservation service work. Before our move west, we started a blog to keep family and friends updated on Ruby and our life in Berkeley. Check it out at www.gonzalezfamilyadventures.blogspot.com. Anyone visiting the Bay Area can contact me on my cell at 703-868-2333. We live in a one-bedroom apartment near Berkeley campus so we don’t have much space to crash but we would love to show you around.
Eric Grosfils (PhD ’96): Life here at Pomona College is going well these days. We’ve been in our new academic building here on campus for about two years, a great space though we continue to iron out kinks; after several years of searching we have added an expansion position to our faculty; and, having recently concluded stints as a GSA PGD officer and as a department Chair, I’m enjoying more “free” time than usual! A lot of that time is spent with Linda and my son Owen (now 4), but I’m also serving as a NAGT Distinguished Speaker this year and happily have had a lot more time to spend working on NASA- and NSF-funded research with students, former students, and other colleagues. As part of this, I am happy to report that I was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to work with colleagues in New Zealand during the first several months of 2009, where I’ll spend time exploring components of the magmatic systems shaping the Taupo Volcanic Zone.
Jessica Jewell (AB ’04): After working at a geotechnical and environmental engineering firm for the past year and a half, I am now pursuing an ScM in Environmental Sciences Policy and Management. I’m doing an Erasmus Mundus program which is funded by the European Union and is based in four different universities in Europe. This year I’m studying at the Central European University in Budapest. The city is a geologist’s playground with naturally-fed thermal spas all of the city and nice hills for hiking and rock-watching just a short bus ride from the city center. I’m enjoying the challenges and excitement of living in a new country and being in a classroom with students from about 20 different countries. This summer I’m doing a field course in Greece and then hope to get an internship working on water somewhere in Europe. After that I’ll be off to Manchester or Lund, Sweden for one more semester of course work before I do my thesis. I can be reached at: .com. Drop me a line if you’re coming through Budapest.
Kristen (Ketelhut) Jones (AB ’03): I got married on August 5th 2008.
Daniel Krinsley (MS ’49): I met Richard Ray (MS ’43) at the US Geological Survey over 40 years ago, but we hadn’t seen each other for quite a while. We enjoyed a reunion lunch in November ’07, reminiscing about our careers and eventually our days at Brown. My adventures at Rhode Island Hall (’47-’49) while mapping the surficial deposits of the northern half of the Providence Quadrangle for my Master’s thesis were detailed in the ’93 alumni newsletter. Ray remembered the winter of ’42-’43, when he pursued evening studies huddled in his overcoat on the balcony of Rhode Island Hall. To conserve fuel during the war, heat was maintained only during the daytime hours. In the evening, when the radiator steam came up only once every hour or so, he would rush down to Professor Richard Goldthwait’s office just below the staircase to thaw out and warm up. He also remembered accompanying Professors Quinn and Goldthwait, in the dark evening, along with a photographer and reporter from the Providence Sunday Journal (July 19, 1942), to Copper Mine Hill in Cumberland, where they searched for the tungsten mineral, scheelite, using ultraviolet lamps. As reported in the Providence Journal, it was an evening more notable for the voracious mosquitoes than for any finding of tungsten minerals. These were the good old days?!
Kavita Krishna (AB ’02): Life has been pretty good for me here in New Mexico. I’m working for a watershed restoration group called the Rio Puerco Management Committee (after three years working for the fisheries and education programs on the Santa Fe National Forest). For two years, I coordinated a large EPA grant, under which the group did a variety of restoration projects related mostly to erosion control. Now I’m only coordinating the education and outreach for the group, which I enjoy more. Although I learned a lot about keeping things in order when I was both the project and outreach coordinator, I’m much happier focusing on the outreach/education. The best part about my current job is my once-a-week sessions with local fourth graders doing environmental education activities. I’ve realized through my work experience since college that I’ve most enjoyed the jobs that had a teaching component, and it has always been the education part (whether formal or informal) of those jobs that was most fulfilling. So... the big news is that I’ve decided to go back to school to get a teaching license and a masters in elementary education!
Will Howard (PhD ’92): I was recently on a review panel for the New Zealand component of a multi-nation Antarctic geological drilling project. Coincidentally it turned out to be an all-Brown Geology panel as the members of the panel were Nick McCave PhD ’67, Tom Crowley PhD ’76, and myself. The organizers of the review did not realize the common thread in the panel!
John Humphrey (PhD ’87): I have continued on as Department Head of Geology and Geological Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. The focus areas of the Department include petroleum geoscience, mineral deposits, hydrogeology, and geotechnical engineering. International field experiences in 2007 included trips to Normandy and South Africa and Namibia. Plans are in place for trips to Belize and Scotland for 2008. Anyone interested in the CSM graduate program should contact me atI live in Boulder and get to ski with Robin Webb (PhD ‘90).
Teddy Keizer (AB ’94): I have been working as the Statewide Organizer of Stand for Children. My main focus has been to set up chapters of volunteers to lobby school boards, city councils, and the State Legislature as a voice for children and schools. We used that base to promote candidates that support education. Successfully targeting and winning ten swing House seats, we were able to bring a majority of pro school Representatives to the State House for the first time in 16 years. What a difference that made for Oregon. We won 260 million dollars more for K-12 public schools, Head Start fully funded for the first time, statewide school nutrition standards, a first and second year teacher mentoring program, and much more. It has been a good year.
John Kwok (AB ’83): My year has been unusually busy and productive. I’ve been fortunate to have borrowed several lenses from Carl Zeiss to photograph Central Park, a Brooklyn street fair and the New York City Marathon within the past few months (I am hoping to share my work with Zeiss in exchange for photographic equipment.). Since June I have been busy combating creationists online at Amazon.com; I strongly encourage those of you who are Amazon.com customers to vote yea on my reviews of Behe’s “The Edge of Evolution” and Dembski and Wells’ “The Design of Life” (Dembski tried to have my review deleted permanently by Amazon.com, but he was forced to relent after I issued him an e-mail ultimatum to have it restored or else. This recent episode is the subject of some discussion over at Panda’s Thumb (; please look at the December 29, 2007 entry). Last, but not least, I have been working lately at a NYC college in data management. Eventually I also hope to finish a novel that I have been working on for years.
Rosalee Lamm (ScB ’02): After leaving Brown, I spent a year in my hometown of Olympia, WA; got my master’s from MIT in 2006, and am now living in the countryside of southern England, where my partner is learning to build viols and violins. Since leaving MIT and coming here, I’ve been playing a lot of music, learning new skills like sewing and welding, and bicycling around the Sussex Downs. I’m moving back to the US this summer and getting married this July.
Jacques Lord (ScB ’79): The California fires of October 22, 2007 took my house but not my home. We received a reverse 911 call at 4:50 AM and we packed the two cars with children, pets, photos, and papers (and some other keepsakes) and left at 6:00 AM. I saw our home four days later when people were allowed back in, and it was a pile of ash and debris six inches high with the odd appliance frame sticking out in familiar locations. Only the Weber cooker was still recognizable and standing next to what was once the garage door and potting shed. We were in a hotel -- living 5 people in two rooms – and relocated (for the 4th time) on December 1st to a home that we will rent ‘til we are rebuilt. I am doing the contracting myself and have already performed disposal of the debris and demolition of the lot, being careful to recycle what I can. Our architect is my brother Bennett, and I will act as superintendent to the general contractor. This house will be as LEED certified as we can afford to do. The interesting thing about the fire is this: I left my substantial rock collection behind and it burned. I thought I would find most of it unscathed; olivine bombs, massive quartz prisms, garnet schist, etc. In fact almost every specimen turned to sand or clay. The quartz, carbonates, feldspars, beryls, topaz, garnets and corundum crystals turned to friable sand or milky kaolinite-like clay. Only labradorite and tourmaline came through with original color and texture and surface appearance. I will never collect rocks again. We cannot possess them. They should stay in their native state and not my garage. My old collection returned to dust, and we will too, someday. I’ll make it a point to get out more often and see the rocks and minerals of this wonderful world in their homes, not mine. I am grateful to be alive and rebuilding.
Jian Lin (PhD ’89): I am Chair of the InterRidge Science Program and Steering Committee of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (www.interridge.org/IROffice). The InterRidge program coordinates and promotes inter-disciplinary and international cooperation in research of the deep-sea geological, hydrothermal, and biological processes at the globe mid-ocean ridge system. In 2007, I continued to collaborate with Ross Stein (ScB ’75) on earthquake research, including study of thrust earthquakes in Algeria, a northern African country. We also co-taught several training courses on Coulomb 3, which is a free and user-friendly tool designed to investigate Coulomb stress changes caused by earthquakes and diking events and is intended for publication-directed research and university teaching ( ). Photo: Team Coulomb (from left to right) Shinji Toda (Japan Geological Survey), myself, Ross Stein (’75, US Geological Survey), and Volkan Sevilgen (US Geological Survey).
Charles Magee (ScB ’96): In April 2007, our daughter Eleanor Jane Magee was born. In June 2007, I left academia to work as a project geologist for Uramet Minerals, a greenfields exploration startup. I now do uranium and base metals exploration in the southern Georgina Basin on a fly-in-fly-out basis from Canberra. Our field areas are 3-9 hours drive from Alice Springs, and the job is awesome.
Ursula Manners (ScB ’00): by way of Jan Tullis – I will defend my PhD (in geophysics at Scripps) this summer and will start a job teaching at the American International School of Bamako in Mali (West Africa) this August.
Jamie Martin-McNaughton (ScB ’03): I have been working in the Washington, DC area for the past two years at Potomac-Hudson Engineering, a small environmental consulting firm, which contracts with the federal government. We perform NEPA-mandated environmental analyses for the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense. I have worked on several Environmental Impact Statements that were recently released to the public, including the Yucca Mountain Geologic Repository-Rail Transportation Corridor, FutureGen, a power plant and sequestration project, and Mesaba, another integrated gasification and coal combustion power plant. I am enjoying my work, writing impact analyses for geology, aesthetics and cultural resources. I am also engaged to my boyfriend of 7 years, and may marry in Acadia National Park.
Rebecca Marvil (ScM ’84): I live in Houston with my husband, Brian Smyth, a gas exploration geologist. I’m still making documentaries and most recently worked on a series for the History Channel called “Tougher in Alaska;” I researched and produced the episode on earth science.
Laurie McDonough (ScM, ‘95): I am still teaching at Dean College and have developed new courses in Meteorology and The Nature of Evolution, in addition to my regular environmental science, ecology and biology classes. At Dean I am also involved in the Writing Across the Curriculum initiative, the “Green at Dean” sustainability task force, Curriculum committee and Retention work team. It is amazing how busy I can be at such a small school. Do you remember those two little kids I had while I was at Brown? Kevin got married on Nov. 1, 2007 on the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, AK. He and his wife Karlee are now care-taking a farm in Maine and have their own land on which they intend to build a home and farmstead. Danielle just completed her 4th year at Northeastern in the architecture program. She just completed her second co-op assignment in Seattle, WA, working on the plan for two “green” school buildings. Do you see any patterns developing here? At least I get to travel to interesting places to visit them. When not teaching or helping my kids I live with my two dogs, have a garden in the backyard, read many books and try to spend time on or next to the beach in the summer. I would be glad to hear from you! The best way to reach me is via e-mail at.
Sarah Milkovich (PhD ’05): Me and my husband Jason Sekanina at Karnak Temple, Egypt, September, 2007. And according to former advisor Jim Head: Sarah and her CalTech colleagues were filmed by CBS News while working on NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander and also playing at Carnegie Hall in May 2008. Check out the CBS news segment at
Gretchen Miller (AB ’05): by way of Jan Tullis – I will be working for Outward Bound in Maine this summer and then will enter the University of Vermont’s MEd program in the fall.
Edith Moreno (AB ’07): I’m currently a master’s student at The Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UCSB. It is a two year program that takes an interdisciplinary approach at environmental problem solving. There are various specializations to choose from and I’m focusing my efforts in water resources management. I’m kept pretty busy at the Bren school, but overall I am enjoying my experience here and it feels good to be back in beautiful California!
John Moyle (AB ’60): After retiring from secondary school teaching (Biology, Geology and Astronomy) in New York, my wife, Polly, and I moved to northeast Tennessee in 2003. Shortly after arriving here, I heard about the recently discovered Miocene fossil site in nearby Gray, Tennessee. Since then I have been working as a volunteer in the lab and as a tour leader in the museum, which is under the auspices of East Tennessee State University. This is a unique site with a surface exposure of approximately 5 acres and a depth of nearly 150 feet. So far, entire or partial skeletons have been recovered for over 40 tapirs, 5 rhinoceros, shovel-tusked elephant, camels, a probable new species of red panda, a new species of badger, giant sloth, alligator, peccary and saber-toothed cat. The sorting process also includes the bones of small mammals, fish, reptiles (including turtles), amphibians and plants. The structure is a sink-hole in a limestone stratum. The recently completed museum has excellent educational displays and interactive exhibits. The museum has received over 20,000 visitors in the first 2 months of operation. My Brown University education has served me well!
Dan Murray (PhD ’76): I began a three-year phased retirement cycle at URI, which consists of being off in the fall and on in the spring. Ann (who is on the Wheaton College faculty) is about to do the same, and we will both be completely retired in 2 years. Never- the-less, I seem to be just as busy, between getting back to actually looking at rocks and initiating new programs. In terms of the latter, I am blending a long-term interest in cognitive science with geology. Specifically I am interested in the interface between recent insights in our understanding of the neurological basis for visuospatial thinking and the ways in which geologic experts and students create maps, cross sections, etc. Much of these efforts are an outgrowth of recent and current NSF and FIPSE funding that supports work on geoscience education issues. This year I’ve presented on these issues at a workshop at NAGT, AGU and GSA meetings, and submitted them to the upcoming Cutting Edge workshop on “Teaching with New Geoscience Tools: Visualizations, Models, and Online Data.” On a more personal note, our daughter Jessica (a geophysicist at the USGS-Menlo Park) was married last summer, and a good time was had by all. At this point in my life, I welcome any marriages and births, as happy occasions that stand in counterpoint to the inevitable loss of parents and colleagues. I also, increasingly, look forward to Brown events such as the recent retirement celebrations (is that the right word?) of Paul, Mac, Terry, etc., and the AGU reception, as they provide opportunities to rekindle friendships that become increasingly important as one ages.
Jonathan Overpeck (PhD ’86): by way of Tom Webb – Last year’s newsletter showed a photo of and Robin Webb (PhD ’90) at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report Meeting in Paris. (The IPCC summary for Policy Makers was released on 2/2/07. Go to for details.) Since that time, the IPCC has been named a co-winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
Rowan Paul (AB ’00): Naomi Ture (’00) and I were married August 25, 2007 in a redwood forest in Aptos, CA. Josh Schwartz (AB ’03) was one of my best men. I am currently Chief Resident in Family Medicine at Stanford University/O’Connor Hospital, but matched at my top choice for a Sports Medicine Fellowship at University of Utah in Salt Lake City. I had a great time at the AGU in San Francisco. It was awesome to catch up with the geology world and old friends within it!
Betina Pavri (ScM ’92): Greetings, friends and colleagues from Brown! We are all doing well. Our son Jason is enjoying middle school and Randy is getting the Orbiting Carbon Observatory ready for launch ( ). My big news this year is that we successfully launched the Dawn spacecraft in September ( ). The photo (above left) was taken just as we had completed the final pre-launch inspection and cover removal for Dawn’s science instruments, two days before Dawn’s launch from Cape Canaveral AFS. The “nosecone” of the fairing covering the spacecraft is visible behind me. I have been working as the Science Instrument Payload Engineer on Dawn since early 2003, following the instruments through design, delivery, integration with the spacecraft, all sorts of post-integration tests, final inspections for launch, and then post-launch checkout. It has been a pleasure to work with Dawn’s science and engineering teams and we are all delighted that Dawn’s science instruments are working so well. Dawn will fly by Mars in 2009 on its way to the asteroid Vesta (in 2011) and dwarf planet Ceres (in 2015). .
Larry Peterson (PhD ‘84) and Janet (Moll) Peterson (ScM ‘81): We have just reached the 24 year milestone of living in Miami, having moved here shortly after Larry finished up at Brown. Larry assumed the position of Associate Dean of the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami this past March, having filled the position on an interim basis prior to that for about ten months. As Associate Dean he oversees the school’s graduate program of some 200 students plus an undergraduate marine science and meteorology program that enrolls nearly 300 majors. Larry continues his research and teaching in paleoceanography and runs a lab known locally as “Club Mud.” Janet is Senior Project Manager at REP Associates, Inc., a full-service environmental consulting company based here in South Florida. Son Corey is now a rising junior at the University of Central Florida and daughter Annie will be a high school junior this fall.
Jon Powell (ScM ’79): I’m still living outside Houston in Taylor Lake Village on an estuary off Galveston Bay. I haven’t done real geology in years, but stay happily busy as an independent advisor on environmental issues to global chemicals and energy industries. My practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance. My wife, Cindy Evans (PhD ‘83, Scripps Institute of Oceanography), works for NASA and is delighted to be back into science in the Space Station program science office after many years in Shuttle operations. My older son, Jacob, just graduated from high school (and, no, Brown was not even on his radar screen), and my younger son, Charlie, who just completed his sophomore year, has recently gotten into interscholastic debate in a very big way. (Advice: “Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be debaters…”) I’m in my third term as a councilman in the Village and get a kick out of getting mail addressed to “The Honorable…” When in the area (keeping in mind that Harris County Texas is 150% the size of Rhode Island) please come and visit. We’ll throw some gulf shrimp on the barbecue.
Jennifer Rilling (ScM ’04): My big news for 2007 is that I got engaged in May. John (my long-time beau) and I will be tying the knot in fall 2008. Apart from that, I am still working for the King County Department of Transportation, and I love being back home in Seattle!
Carlos E. Rincon (ScB ’05, ScM ’06): I am currently working for Environmental Resources Management (ERM), a leading global environmental consulting firm with my base office in Houston, TX. I form part of the contaminated site management group with a focus on the oil and gas industry. The work deals mostly within Texas, although half my time with the company has been spent in Barbados installing ground water monitoring wells.
Peter Rona (AB ’56): I continue as professor of marine geology and geophysics at Rutgers University. I am co-editing an AGU Geophysical Monograph on Diversity of Hydrothermal Systems on Slow-spreading Ocean Ridges. I am working with partners at the Applied Physics Lab/University of Washington on adapting our jointly developed sonar to monitor seafloor hydrothermal flow as part of the regional cabled observatory being developed on the Juan de Fuca Ridge. During this past summer I served as chief scientist on a cruise of the NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown exploring the head of Hudson Canyon as a dynamic interface between shelf and slope processes.
Nik Rouda (ScB ’96): I am measuring up geologically with Jennifer (Peterson) Rouda (ScB ’95) petrifying a bear – both pictures taken at the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences in Cambridge, England earlier this year.
Mary Seid (AB ’06): Hiking is fun. For some of us, it is a hobby. As a bedrock geologist for the Illinois Survey, it is part of my job. I already have one map out, and you may view it at . If you have questions about the map, please shoot me an e-mail at . Currently, we are mapping the Pere Marquette State Park area in western Illinois. I have been at the ISGS for over one year. In this time, I have hiked various parts of southern Illinois and have visited the Viper Mine (coal) and the Viburnum Trend in Missouri (lead mine). I hope this finds each of you happy and healthy.
Cleo Salisbury (ScB ’97): The past few months have been full of life changes. In the summer of 2007, I got married to Tony Lobay up in Tahoe. Our wedding was great, but the honeymoon in Hawaii got off to a bad start -- we managed to time it for a hurricane, an earthquake, and a massive lava delta collapse. Nonetheless, we did get to see a bit of red hot lava, had an awesome walk down the Thurston Lava Tube, and only sustained minor coral-induced flesh wounds from snorkeling. Just before Thanksgiving, I finished up my postdoc at the Scripps Research Institute (working with Prof. Benjamin Cravatt in the Dept. of Chemical Physiology) and moved back to the Bay Area for my new job as a research scientist in the Vaccines and Diagnostics Division of Novartis. Despite living on top of a fault, our new house isn’t very earthquake-safe, but we’d love to have guests anyway!
Connie Sancetta (ScM, ’73): Nothing geological to report, but it looks like I’ve developed a new career of “being an Italian-American.” In addition to translating materials in Italian donated to the Western Reserve Historical Society (including a very exciting collection of old letters which we hope to publish in some way), I am secretary for a newly-established club of people tracing their Italian genealogy, and press officer for the Italian-American Cultural Foundation, a group that tries to raise awareness of one’s Italian heritage, especially for children in Cleveland schools. I’m also in contact with several people in Italy, tracing the history of my grandmother’s family. Geology, genealogy -- not that different, either in spelling or in the research tools (pose hypothesis, collect data, revise hypothesis....)
Linnea Sanderson (AB ’06): I just finished my 2nd year of teaching, ready to head strong into year 3. I love teaching and living in New York. I started a high school boys baseball team at my school, and that’s going fantastic. This spring I mulched a dog park with my students and ran tests to see how water infiltrated it. The kids observed and made inferences about an outcrop in Central Park (photo, above) just 10 blocks from our school. It showed metamorphism, sedimentation, has great tilting and obvious igneous intrusions. What more could an Earth Science teacher as for?! I went out to see Brian Yellen (ScB ’06) for February break, and I went backpacking on a mountain bike in Arizona for April break.
Christina Schoen (ScB ’77): I haven’t been a practicing geologist since graduating from business school in 1985. Have loved my career in corporate banking and the variety of businesses and localities that I’ve been exposed to. Sometimes a science background comes in handy, too!
Christine Scott Thomson (AB ’93): I am teaching architecture in Milwaukee at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Kristen Soule (ScB ’99): I am still at Brown – a Systems Manager for Sociology now. Recently appointed to the President’s Staff Advisory Committee, and looking forward to a another productive year. In the evenings, I am an instructor for the Brown Tang Soo Do club - a very friendly martial arts group here on campus. Stop by and see us sometime on a Monday or Thursday evening at the PW (which they sometimes call “TF Green Hall” nowadays). I’m living in Providence, fixing up a little house. I’ve decided that power tools are just too much fun; especially when I learned how to use a jackhammer last winter. Warmest regards to all!
Mitch Stark (ScM ’82): “I shall return” to the Philippines this summer, having previously worked there 1995 - 98 for Unocal. Since 1999 I’ve spent nine great years with Calpine managing the Geysers geothermal resource. Now I have accepted a job with Chevron and will be immediately shipped off to Manila, where my boss will be none other than Jens Pederson (PhD ’80). The sleepy little geothermal industry, to which I’ve happily devoted my career, is suddenly booming worldwide, thanks to high energy prices, concerns about CO2 emissions, and demand for renewable energy. Other than work: both kids have been attending Stanford. My son graduated this June, and my daughter is a rising sophomore. I’m still windsurfing and playing music, but the overseas move will force me to quit the band ( ). Look for the reunion tour in 2012 or so!
Gordon Start (ScM ’82): I am still a Scoutmaster for Troop 1020, and continue my heavy involvement with Scouting (Boy and Girl Scouts). This year I returned to ExxonMobil Upsteam Research after a year-long project with the Africa Exploration Group. Our children, Nickolas (14) and Caitlin (11), are growing like weeds and are involved in just about everything we will let them work on.
Amanda Tyson Stahl (ScB ’97): I married Jonathan Stahl on September 30, 2007 in Stehekin, Washington. Beginning in April, we hiked 1,800 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mexican border through California, Oregon, and Washington. We planned our wedding from the trail and walked to it. Our website, , promotes the benefits of outdoor recreation for personal wellness, interpersonal relationships, and the relationship between people and nature. The trail journals from our PCT hike are posted on our blog, the “Virtual Campfire” (photos are posted too). We’ve been on an extended road trip across the USA as we seek new jobs and a place to settle down.
Debbie Thomas (ScB ’96): per Jan Tullis - I am an Assistant Professor of Oceanography at Texas A&M, and am a member of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership’s U.S. Science Support Program, which offers a Distinguished Lecturer Series to bring the exciting scientific results and discoveries of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program to students at the undergraduate and graduate levels and to the geosciences community in general.
Bob Thunell (ScB ’73): My son, Thomas (Brown Class of 2010) was a member of this year’s Ivy League champion soccer team.
Dina Venezky (PhD ’98): We spent Thanksgiving 2007 camping in the redwoods near some of San Mateo’s beautiful beaches in my continuing quest to help the kids increase their love of geology. Here’s a picture Stephen took of us at Pebble Beach. Benjamin just finished the school year at a Spanish immersion kindergarten and Nathaniel is in preschool at GeoKids (at the USGS). I still love my work at the survey and recently launched the new Volcano Hazards Program web site. Check it out at: .
Peter Wang (ScB ’83): In 2007 I transferred to another Schlumberger company, WesternGeco, and I am now involved in seismic depth imaging research and engineering. I am also trying to live as green a life as humanly possible, riding my bike wherever I can, which is a formidable challenge in Houston. I think we are now on the hydrocarbon plateau just before we slide down the other side of Hubbert’s Peak. Not very many people here want to believe that, however. .
Catherine Weitz (PhD ’98): This has been another exciting year for us. Rachel was born September 22, 2007 so she and her 2.5-year-old brother Patrick are keeping us busy, both day and night. John and I continue to be members of the science teams for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) and the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Both missions are sending back spectacular data from Mars which we are analyzing for our research. John is the Chair of his department at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, which means he’s also spending time doing management. I’m still working for the Planetary Science Institute and enjoy doing work out of my home office.
Brian West (ScB ’92): I changed my position at ExxonMobil earlier this year and am now Regional Studies Supervisor in the Exploration Company. There I manage two exploration projects in the North Atlantic/Arctic and SE Asia/Indochina. I am still based in Houston, but travel more than I would like given my growing family (a 4 year old son and 7 year old daughter). Interestingly, Mike Braun (ScB ’96) recently joined my group and now leads the basin modeling efforts in the regional team.
Devra Wexler (AB ’97): Completing my third year at the Smithsonian’s Traveling Exhibition Service, I have a portfolio of several shows. I’m very excited about the two exhibits I have opening in 2008 (one an art show out of NASA and the other photographs of the planets), and a third in 2009 (photographs of the Grand Canyon). And I have a number of exhibits still on the road. This picture is from the November 2007 opening of “Earth from Space” at the National Air and Space Museum. “Earth from Space” (educational website at ) recently won an award from the USGS, plus we’re hoping to extend the tour through 2012. (By the way if you are interested in finding out if one of our traveling exhibits might be coming to a city near you, visit . We also have a brand new blog!) On a personal note, my husband’s cancer returned the summer of 2007. He is trying an experimental drug and we are very optimistic. We have a lot of support and are getting by pretty well, all things considered. We’re still happy to welcome guests to our house right outside DC (e-mail: ), as long as you don’t mind our exuberant two-year-old puppy! A big hello to my professors and fellow ’97 grads.
Ed Williamson (AB ’58): I retired from the Federal Government 10 years ago and have since been dabbling in various ventures. The last, for which I was managing partner, was closed December 2007, and I now consider myself retired-retired starting in 2008. In 2005 my wife (Teresa) and I moved from Northern Virginia to Smith Mountain Lake, where we have a condominium, and a house in nearby Roanoke, Virginia. I intend to remain active in volunteer work and look forward to pursuing some long deferred interests and hobbies.
Winfield Wilson (AB ’04): I am living the dream in Southern California, and can be reached at.
Pam Wiseman (ScB, ’83): Hi to all! After 6.5 years as Vice President of Operations for an Electronics Manufacturer, I accepted an exciting new position with United Technologies Corporation that is surprisingly taking me full circle. My new position, Director of Raw Materials Procurement for the UTC Division: Pratt and Whitney, has many aspects related to geology! I am responsible for the supply chain and relationships related to the raw materials used in the manufacture of jet engines. These include elements and materials such as Nickel, Cobalt, Platinum, Titanium and Rhenium to name a few. Of course I am most familiar with those elements and alloys whose prices have just gone through the roof! I am involved with every step from the mills to the forgers to the recycling of finished product. I feel the need to pull out my old Mineralogy text books and consult with my former professors! I may even need to develop contacts at the USGS to understand trends and forecasts for the production and consumption of these key materials. My husband, dogs and cats and I are relocating from Monroe, NY to Cheshire, CT in the near future. We welcome visits from old friends. I can be contacted at.
Kelly Wrobel (PhD ’08): I completed my PhD this past August (with advisor Peter Schultz) after successfully defending my thesis on July 20th just two days (less than 48 hours) after having gall bladder surgery. I have since been working at ExxonMobil’s Research Company in Houston, TX, learning all about “Earth Geology” – as opposed to Planetary Geology (my thesis focused on modeling impact cratering processes on Mars). My husband, Luke, son, Zachary, and dog, Henry, are having a blast exploring the city and finding the ins and outs of Texas life. As part of my new assignment, I will be spending several weeks in the field this coming year learning all about the geology of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, etc. We are all very happy and loving the warm weather and southern life!
Michael Wysession (ScB ’84): I am on the faculty at Washington University, and had fun this fall creating a 48-lecture video course with The Teaching Company on “How the Earth Works.” Also, with graduate student Jesse Lawrence (now on the faculty at Stanford), we discovered a large region of very high seismic attenuation at the top of the lower mantle above Pacific-rim-subducted ocean lithosphere which could be the result of water that has been brought into the lower mantle.
Brian Yellen (ScB ’06): I am currently teaching physical science on the dry side of O’ahu. I love teaching science and I have taken up the Hawaiian pastimes of spear fishing and outrigger canoeing. Last summer, I worked in former Brown/Geo postdoc Julia Hammer’s rock squeezing lab as part of a program to keep science teachers in the lab and excited about research.
Aileen Yingst (PhD ’98): I’ve enjoyed serving as a Participating Scientist on the Mars Exploration Rover mission for the last two years. The mission experience has been intensely rewarding and a great lead-up to what will hopefully be an even longer and more profitable mission - the Mars Science Laboratory mission. I serve as a Co-Investigator for the MArs HandLens Imager on that mission, which is slated to launch in 2009. Much more importantly, Ross and I have worked hard to indoctrinate - er, instill in our children (Joshua, 5 and Rebecca, 3) a love of all things planetary, and I have proof of our success! Recently, Ross made a pastry that was new to our kids. Joshua asked if it would taste like a burger and Ross answered, “It tastes like the planet farthest from.” Joshua then asked, “It tastes like Pluto??” It makes a mom so proud!
Victor Zabielski (PhD ’01): Not much new down here. I got promoted to Associate Professor and am still lord of the domain over the geology department here at NVCC Alexandria (since I am the only full time geology faculty….big fish, small pond, you know). Teaching is going great. I am taking full advantage of my summers off and extending my travels into new realms. I spent a month in Bolivia and Peru last summer and will be heading to Newfoundland this summer with some friends, including Louise Prockter (PhD ’00). We are going to put Louise on a sea kayak and send her out in the bay to see if she can attract some whales. Looking forward to some changes in DC next year.
Julie M. Zaslow (ScB ’96): After graduating from Brown, I spent a year working for Thorne Lay at the Institute of Tectonics at UC Santa Cruz doing research on seismic discrimination of earthquakes versus underground nuclear tests. Although the work was interesting, I decided that the life of lab research wasn’t for me, and went on to work for the next four years at a fast-growing high tech company in Silicon Valley () as manager of worldwide web operations, where the excitement and pressure were high. After that, I co-founded a vineyard and winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains ( ) and did that for another four years. I have since gone back to school to follow my passion for health and nutrition, and am now starting up a private practice as a Nutrition Consultant in Mill Valley, California, across the Golden Gate from San Francisco. I live with my life partner Kenny and our two sweet kittens. I would love to hear from old friends from Brown. I can be reached at .
Doug Tolderlund, ‘69, of Old Lyme, CT passed away peacefully at his home on January 24th. In 1960, Doug graduated from Brown University with a bachelor of arts degree in geology and a commission in the U.S. Navy. He made three cruises on the USS Caliente (AO-53), an oiler, to the western Pacific and two cruises on the USS Tanner (AGS-15), an intelligence ship, to the Barents Sea above Norway. He went on to earn his doctorate in Oceanography from Columbia University having done a dissertation at Lamont Observatory. In 1969 he worked for Raytheon analyzing the impact of a nuclear power plant on the Hudson River. In 1970, he started his 29 year career at his “dream job” at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy as a civilian professor. While there, he became a full professor, was the head of the Science Department for eight years, and taught Marine Fisheries, Marine Geology, Marine Pollution, and Polar Oceanography. He enjoyed many adventures such as a trip across the NW Passage on the CG icebreaker Polar Sea and a trip on the icebreaker Polar Star to the South Pole where he landed on Shackelton Glacier and made a helo flight over the “Dry Valleys” of the Transantarctic Mountains. In August of 1999, he retired with professor emeritus status. Doug is survived by his wife, Sandy; his daughter, Rebecca Gronlund and her husband, Wayne; his son, Jason Tolderlund and his wife, Maura; and his three grandchildren Quentin Wysopal and Chloe and Connor Tolderlund. He is also survived by his sister, Lorna Moon and brother, Marshall Tolderlund.
Judith Quinn, ’54, of Amherst, MA passed away on February 22. Judith was the daughter of Professor Alonzo Quinn. She worked as a writer and editor in Boston, Chicago, Berkeley, and Palo Alto, Calif., retiring in 1993. She had a deep interest in the arts and politics, and was well-traveled. She is survived by her sister Carolyn Quinn Tew, ’52.
Honorary Degree for Geo Alumna:
Geophysicist Maria T. Zuber received an honorary Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) at Brown University’s 240th Commencement May 25, 2008. The text of her citation: “As the chair of MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, you have expanded our knowledge of the solar system and its evolution. Innovatively mapping the topography and gravity fields of the planets, you produced a topographical map of Mars more accurate than any available for other planets. We have accompanied you in “Spirit” as you led NASA’s remote investigations of the moon, Mars, and Mercury. For shaping the exploration of the universe and bringing the mysteries of the solar system down to Earth, we honor you as a Doctor of Science, honoris causa. Zuber Photo: John Abromowski
Peter Capobianco graduated with an AB in Geology-Biology. He was a founding member of the Brown University Bird Club. His interest in avian life led him to co-organize a Group Independent Study on Field Ornithology. He pursued these interests doing field research on Block Island the fall of 2007, and eventually plans to enter graduate school in the field of ornithology.
Sargon de Jesus graduated with an AB in Geology, and an AB in Comparative Literature (Literary Translation) with Honors, and continued at Brown in pursuit of a Fifth Year Master’s of Science degree in Geology working with Professor Mac Rutherford. See 2008 Fifth Year Master’s Degree Recipients for Sargon’s complete bio.
Joseph Donahue graduated with an AB in Geology. He was a 4-year member of the Brown Men’s Crew Team where he stroked the Varsity 8 for the past 3 years to great success. In the summer of 2006 he spent time in Singapore and Australia working for a groundwater management and remediation company. After Brown, Joe signed on as assistant coach for the men’s crew team at Brown, gaining some work experience before entering graduate school.
Elizabeth Echeverria graduated with an AB in Geology-Biology, and an AB in Visual Arts. During her time at Brown she worked in the Geology Department organizing our fossil collection and working as a laboratory assistant. Elizabeth also worked as a tutor and an English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching assistant. She spent one semester abroad in New Zealand and participated in an archeological excavation in Portugal the summer after her sophomore year. She was awarded an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Assistantship (UTRA) for the excavation in Portugal and is a two-time recipient of the American Geological Institute Minority Scholarship. Elizabeth is now working as a 4th grade support teacher in California.
Scott French graduated with an ScB in Geology-Physics/Mathematics. While at Brown, Scott served as an undergraduate TA for GEOL 1450 and as a TA for the summer field methods course at Albion College. Working with Professor Karen Fischer, he participated in original research investigating forearc seismicity in Nicaragua, leading to his honors thesis entitled “High-resolution relative earthquake relocation of the August 2005 seismic sequence: Implications for mechanism of deformation in the Nicaraguan forearc.” Scott presented a poster on his preliminary results at the 2006 AGU Fall Meeting. Outside of academics, he was a member of the Zeta Delta Xi coed fraternity. After graduation, Scott stayed at Brown as a Research Assistant working with Professors Marc Parmentier and Karen Fischer.
Ben Hudson graduated with an AB in Geology. He served as an undergraduate TA for GEOL 0240. He spent one semester studying Oceanography, Nautical Science, and Maritime Studies at the Sea Education Association, and sailing onboard the SSV Robert Seamans in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. During his summers Ben explored a variety of subjects from an internship in the U.S. Senate to an REU studying nitrogen cycling in the Alaskan Arctic. While at Brown Ben rowed for Brown Men’s Crew his freshman and sophomore years, was a member of the Brown Democrats, and worked with a professor in the Sociology Department and members of the Rhode Island General Assembly to pass legislation helping homeowners affected by environmental contamination. Ben is now working as an intern for the U.S. Department of Justice, in the Environment and Natural Resource Division.
Peter James graduated with an ScB in Geology-Physics/Mathematics and an AB in Physics. In the summer after his sophomore year, he worked with Professor Marc Parmentier as a computer laboratory assistant. Peter was awarded an UTRA research grant the following summer, and this work led into his senior thesis “Plate flexure and initiation of subduction” also under the guidance of Professor Parmentier. Like most Brown students, Peter was excessively active outside of class – he participated in the Reformed University Fellowship, intramural Ultimate Frisbee, and a volunteer tutoring program through his church. Peter started graduate studies at MIT the summer of 2007.
Jesse Kass graduated with an ScB in Geology with honors. He was an associate member of Brown’s Chapter of Sigma Xi and served as an undergraduate TA for Structural Geology (GEOL 1450). Jesse attended the Albion College field camp, in WY, MT, and SD, the summer between his junior and senior years. He worked with Professor Yan Liang to complete his senior thesis “Temperature gradients caused by grain size variations across a dunite-harzburgite contact from the Trinity Ophiolite.” Jesse is now working as an intern at the U.S. Geologic Survey in Menlo Park.
Stephanie LaRose graduated with Honors with an ScB in Geology-Biology. In the summer between her junior and senior years she worked with Professor Jeff Donnelly counting sediment charcoal in a project that eventually became her senior thesis “Macroscopic Charcoal as an Indicator of Fire at Rocky Pond, Massachusetts and its Relation to Climate.” During her time at Brown she worked on the “A Day on College Hill” committee, was a member of the Brown Environmental Action Network, was an Eco-Rep, and served as the secretary and webmaster for the Bird Club. She was elected associate member of Sigma Xi. Stephanie is working for Conrad Geoscience Corp., an environmental consulting firm in Poughkeepsie, NY.
Kane McGuire graduated with an AB in Geology. Kane worked for three years in Professor Yongsong Huang’s lab and participated on a research expedition to Greenland with Professor Haung (see cover story) his junior year. Kane completed his senior thesis “A 5000 year record of Holocene climate in west Greenland: Geochemical analysis of sediments from a closed basin, oligosaline lake.” During the spring semester of his sophomore year Kane attended the Cornell Field Program in Earth and Environmental Systems on the Big Island of Hawai’i. The last two years at Brown, Kane volunteered at City Farm, a small organic farm operated by the South Side Community Land trust. Kane is currently working for Bartletts Tree Company, and pursuing opportunities in music.
Cassidy McKee graduated with an ScB in Geology-Chemistry. She served as an undergraduate TA for GEOL 0230 in both spring 2006 and spring 2007 and she also was an undergrad TA for GEOL 0220 in fall 2007. During the summer between her junior and senior years, Cassidy attended a Business Program at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, and Hydrogeology field camp at the University of Minnesota. She completed a senior honors thesis with Professor Yongsong Huang, entitled “Structures and chirality of the aliphatic components in the insoluble organic matter of carbonaceous chondrites: A study of the Orgueil meteorite.” During her time at Brown she worked at WBRU in Promotions, Business, and News and was a cellist for the Brown University Orchestra and Chamber Music groups. In July 2007, Cassidy began a position as a Geologist at the Cheshire, CT office of Woodard & Curran.
Lindsay McKenna graduated with an ScB in Geological Sciences. She was elected an associate member of Sigma Xi, and served as an undergraduate TA for GEOL 0070 and GEOL 0160. During her junior year, Lindsay participated in the Sea Education Association (SEA) semester. The following summer, Lindsay was awarded a partial UTRA working with Professor Warren Prell on the flushing time of Narragansett Bay and also accepted an NSF REU internship at the University of California, Irvine. She presented her REU research on “Mass changes in Earth’s global water reservoirs from GRACE” at the fall 2006 AGU meeting. During her senior year, Lindsay worked with Professor Prell to complete her senior thesis “Coastal dynamics of Annawamscutt Beach.” During her time at Brown, Lindsay was a four year member of the Varsity Women’s Swim Team and was the recipient of the 2007 Martha Joukowsky Scholar Athlete Award. Lindsay is currently working with the environmental consulting firm, Malcolm Pirnie, in their Northern New Jersey office.
Edith Moreno graduated with an AB in Geological Sciences as well as an AB in Hispanic Literature and Culture. She was an active member of MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan) beginning her freshman year, and served as secretary her sophomore year. Edith also served as a ‘Conexiones’ mentor and provided guidance to incoming Latino freshmen. She was a member of the women’s rugby team for three and a half years. Edith served as an undergrad TA for GEOL 0050 as well as an undergrad Spanish tutor for 3 years. Edith’s interests in the Earth sciences landed her fully paid internships in Alaska, Tanzania, New Zealand, and Minneapolis. Those experiences reinforced her interests in maintaining and improving environmental quality; she is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Environmental Science and Management at the University of California’s Bren School in Santa Barbara, CA.
Scott Nelson graduated with an AB in Geology, and an AB in Classics. Scott attended field camp through Albion College the summer after his sophomore year. He spent the fall of his junior year studying abroad in Athens, Greece. During his time at Brown he volunteered on several political campaigns. Scott spent the summer after graduation in Alaska working for an exploration company looking for gold. He is completing an American University fellowship in Cairo, where he is working on sustainable development in the Egyptian desert.
Lillian Ostrach graduated with an ScB in Geology-Biology and continued at Brown in pursuit of a Fifth Year Master’s of Science degree in Geology working with Professor Jim Head. See 2008 Fifth Year Master’s Degree Recipients for Lillian’s complete bio.
Michelle Reicher graduated with an AB in Geology. She was a member of the Brown Entrepreneurship Program and served as a student mentor for teams participating in the business plan competition. Michelle competed on the women’s club tennis team and coached a middle school girls’ basketball team for Sophia Academy. Before transferring to Brown from Colgate University, Michelle backpacked Australia and New Zealand and then moved to Park City, Utah to teach skiing as a certified Professional Ski Instructor at Park City Mountain Resort. Michelle is now working in the corporate office of Steve and Barry’s University Sportswear in New York.
Cheryl Scott graduated with an AB in Geology. The summer between her junior and senior years, Cheryl was an intern in the meteorology department at NBC10 in Philadelphia, PA where she worked with leading meteorologists. During her time at Brown she was a key member of the Brown Track & Field team where she contributed in both sprints and jumps. She received All Ivy recognition her junior and senior years for both the 4x400 and 4x100 meter relay, which are both currently ranked second on Brown’s all time top ten record board. After graduation, Cheryl started graduate school to receive her Master’s degree in Meteorology.
Devina Swarup graduated with an ScB in Geology-Biology and continued at Brown in pursuit of a Fifth Year Master’s of Science degree in Geology working with Professor Jessica Whiteside. See 2008 Fifth Year Master’s Degree Recipients for Devina’s complete bio.
Carla Thacker graduated with an ScB in Geology and continued at Brown in pursuit of a Fifth Year Master’s of Science degree in Geology working with Professor Yan Liang. See 2008 Fifth Year Master’s Degree Recipients for Carla’s complete bio.
Arvid Tomayko-Peters graduated with an AB in Geology, and an AB with honors in Computer Music and Multimedia. Arvid attended the Idaho State University field camp in the Idaho Rockies in summer 2006. He participated in the last three undergraduate spring break field trips. In summer 2006 Arvid worked with geologist Alessandro Montanari at the Geological Observatory of Coldigioco in Italy to develop free end-user software for the creation of music from geologic data, which he continues to maintain and update. Arvid returned to work with “Sandro” on a book/CD project about making music from climate cycles preserved in pelagosite. Arvid’s undergraduate thesis project in the music department was an interactive sonic and visual installation entitled “Climate Controlled” in which visitors interact with sound generated from 5.2 million years of climate data from deep ocean sediment cores through the use of a large touch-sensitive timeline in a visually reactive space. Musically, Arvid performed extensively at Brown and built several unique digital musical instruments. He was a part of the Brown New Music group and played in the Brown Jazz Band, the Crossroads Ensemble, the Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble and the MEME improv ensemble. Arvid was a recipient of the 2007 Weston award for excellence in music. He is currently in Providence working for a recording firm, and eventually plans to attend graduate school in electronic/experimental music.
Scott Winton graduated with an AB in Geology-Biology. He was elected an associate member of Sigma Xi. Scott worked with Professor Tim Herbert on an UTRA the summer between his junior and senior years and completes his senior thesis “A record of sea surface temperatures and productivity at the Peru margin for the past 2,000 years.” During his time at Brown he founded the Brown Student Bird Club (“Brown Boobies”) and planned and participated in a Group Independent Study Project on Field Ornithology. Scott worked as a camp counselor in Vermont after graduating and has travelled in Scotland and Australia.
While at Brown, Nick Harmon explored the origin of two intraplate volcanic ridges in the South Central Pacific, finding evidence for complicated mantle flow with Professor Don Forsyth. For his dissertation, he collected data from these enigmatic ridges and the East Pacific Rise as a member of three research cruises in the Pacific Ocean. He also participated in a field school examining the structure of the oceanic crust in Cyprus. His thesis was titled “Investigating mantle dynamics beneath young Paciﬁc seaﬂoor: Results from the GLIMPSE Experiment.” Nick is currently a postdoc at the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.
Mike Nicholis began his research with a project investigating a young volcanic complex near Yucca Mt., Nevada. Working with Professor Mac Rutherford, Mike focused on understanding the driving mechanism behind explosive lunar volcanic eruptions. His thesis was titled“The nature and role of degassing of basaltic magmas: Terrestrial and lunar Applications.” Mike is currently employed by ExxonMobil (in Houston, TX), and working in the Development Company on a chain of isolated carbonate platforms in the North Caspian Sea.
Gerald (Wes) Patterson began research with Professor Jim Head on problems in the Galilean satellites Ganymede and Europa and continued his research on icy satellites throughout his time at Brown. His thesis was titled “An analysis of the mechanical behavior of tectonically active icy satellite lithospheres through geologic mapping, geomorphic analysis, and geophysical modeling.” After completing his PhD, Wes continued his work as a postdoc at the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland working with another former Brown graduate, Louise Prockter (PhD, ’00).
Noah Petro brought to Brown a passion for studying the Moon and for teaching. Noah worked on developing a model for estimating the provenance of materials at the Moon’s surface. Over the past few years he has been actively involved in supporting Professor Carlé Pieter’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument, set to launch fall 2008 on India’s first Lunar mission, Chandrayan-1. His thesis was titled “Provenance of lunar regolith components: Redistribution of material by craters from the heavy bombardment period through the Copernican Era.” Noah was awarded a NASA post-doctoral program fellowship and is now working at the Goddard Space Flight Center while continuing his support of Carlé’s instrument.
Kate Rychert’s research at Brown focused on seismically constraining the physical and chemical properties of Earth’s upper mantle, specifically investigating the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary beneath eastern North America, and the mantle wedge beneath Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Through the guidance of Professor Karen Fischer, Kate helped install both the GLIMPSE experiment in the South Pacific and the TUCAN seismic experiment in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Her thesis was titled “Seismic imaging of the physical and chemical properties of the mantle: The lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary beneath eastern North America and the mantle wedge beneath Costa Rica and Nicaragua.” She is currently a postdoc at the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.
David Abt’s research involves the observation and modeling of seismic anisotropy in the context of upper mantle flow, with a focus on the Central American subduction zone. He is working with Professor Karen Fischer.
Caitlin Chazen studies paleoclimate with the Earth Systems History group. She has been working to better understand the Peru-Chile upwelling system, ultimately focusing on high-resolution climate reconstructions of the Holocene, with special attention to El Niño Southern Oscillation variability. She is working with Professor Tim Herbert.
Peter Isaacson’s research focuses on understanding the character and distribution of different materials across the Moon. In one study he used compositional data to decipher the stratigraphy and origin of an unusual region next to one of the largest impact basins on the lunar nearside. He also completed a laboratory project with lunar samples designed to place limits on the amount of water retained by lunar soils. Peter is working with Professor Carlé Pieters.