E. Bruce Watson
Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
B.A., University of New Hampshire
Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, New York 12180-3590
OFFICE: 1C31 Science Center
PHONE: (518) 276 8838
I'm a faculty member in the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences (E&ES; ees2.geo.rpi.edu/index.html) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (www.rpi.edu). My area of expertise is geochemistry, and I specialize mainly but not exclusively in the deep Earth. In simple terms, I try to figure out what's going on inside our planet in regions inaccessible by drilling or other means of direct observation. I am interested primarily in the chemical composition and materials present in these regions and the ways in which these have changed over geologic time through volcanic activity and other processes. My research could be described as "materials science of the Earth", and it involves designing and executing laboratory experiments at the high temperatures and pressures appropriate to the Earth's deep crust and upper mantle (that is, to depths of about 150 kilometers). I study a variety of processes at these conditions, including flow of melts and fluids (H2O-CO2 mixtures), migration of atoms in crystals and melts, growth and dissolution rates of crystals, uptake of trace elements during crystal growth, localization of trace elements at grain boundaries, microstructural (i.e., geometric) aspects of partially molten rocks, and high-temperature behavior of rare-element minerals that concentrate radioactive elements, making them useful in studies of Earth history and evolution. I've recently made research forays into phenomena related to the study of climate change -- specifically, the fundamental aspects of climate proxies (that is, chemical signatures of past climatic conditions). My teaching activities include geochemistry, earth materials (mineralogy and petrology) and general science.
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