Skip over navigation

Peter Schultz

Professor Emeritus:
Geological Sciences
Phone: +1 401 863 2417

Impact cratering is one of the few processes affecting all planetary bodies. Records can provide clues for contrasting geologic evolutions. The planetary record, lab experiments, field studies, and theoretical approaches allow exploring a process at scales we hope we never witness. My main research has been on the effect of impact angle on cratering and the role of the atmosphere in modifying the process. Different planetary environments, laboratory simulations, and theoretical models allow testing under extreme conditions and to extreme scales.


I received my Ph.D. in Astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin in 1972. After working as a research associate at the NASA Ames Research Center, and a Staff Scientist at The Lunar and Planetary Institute, I became an Associate Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at Brown University in 1984. I was promoted to full Professor in 1994. In addition to my research and teaching responsibilities at Brown, I have served as Director of the Lunar and Planetary Institute Planetary Image Facility, and am currently the Director for both the Northeast Planetary Data Center and the NASA/Rhode Island University Space Grant Consortium.


I am currently developing a new technology (Impact Flash) to determine surface compositions of planets and asteroids in conjunction with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I am also investigating the impact record in Argentina as a means to understand the chronostratigraphy of sedimentary sequences. My research on the effect of impact trajectory on crater structure has implications for the regional ecological stress created by terrestrial impacts. I am using the NASA Ames Vertical Gun Range to understand new scaling relations for different conditions of impact and energy partitioning. My laboratory recreations of hypervelocity impact and high strain-rate experiments will help assess the effects of atmosphere on emplacement of crater ejecta as a means to probe the Martian crust. Along those same lines, I am investigating the generation, dispersal, survival, and evidence for impact glass deposits on Mars and the processes affecting the synthesis and survival of organics during hypervelocity. I am Co-Investigator on the NASA Discovery Mission, Deep Impact, and much of my time is now spent on the analysis of data from that mission.


Some Recent Awards:
2008 Award of Excellence, Ten Best Oral Presentation Award, American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) National Meeting, San Antonio

2006 Distinguished Achievement Award, Carleton College

Asteroid 6952 named "PeteSchultz" (Announcement at 2005 Asteroids, Comets, and Meteorites Conference, Buzios, Brazil)

2004 Barringer Medal Award (for achievements in impact research)
Certificate of Special Recognition, 2000 (U.S. House of Representatives)

Certificate of Appreciation, 2000 (RI House of Representatives)


Science Coordinator for NASA-Ames Vertical Gun Range (national facility)

NASA Management Operations Working Group Member

Chair, Regional Planetary Image Facilities Director

Council Member, Regional Planetary Image Facility Site Review Committee

Director of the NASA Rhode Island Space Grant Consortium

Director of the Northeast Planetary Data Center


GEOL 0160: First Year Seminar: Chicken Little or Armageddon? Past and Future Cosmic Threats

GEOL 0810: Planetary Geology

GEOL 2880: Planetary Cratering

GEOL 2920: Astrobiology (co-taught w/Y. Huang)

Current PhD Students:
Jason Dahl
R. Terik Daly
Stephanie Quintana
Megan Syal

Former Graduate Students:
Jennifer Anderson, Ph.D. '04
Olivier Barnouin-Jha, Ph.D. '98
David Crawford, Ph.D. '92
Jason Dahl, Sc.M. '99
Clara Eberhard, Sc.M. '04
Carolyn Ernst, Ph.D. '08
John Grant, Ph.D. '90
Patricia Grizzaffi Rogers, Sc.M. '87
Charles Halfen, Sc.M. '91
Brendan Hermalyn, Ph.D. '11
Angela Stickle, Ph.D. '12
Seiji Sugita, Ph.D. '99
Bradley Thomson, Ph.D. '06
Carolyn van der Bogert, Ph.D. '04
Robert Wichman, Ph.D. '93
Kelly Wrobel, Ph.D. '08

Funded Research

Recent Funding:
NASA: Discovery Data Analysis Program


SANDIA/LIVERMORE: Sandia/Lawrence-Livermore National Labs

NASA: Planetary Impact Processes

NASA: Northeast Planetary Data Center

NASA: Rhode Island Space Grant Program

Web Links

Curriculum Vitae

Download Peter Schultz's Curriculum Vitae in PDF Format