Mitsui Career Development Assistant Professor of Geology
areas of expertise: planetary formation and evolution, exoplanets, terrestrial magmatism and lithospheric dynamics
Lindy Elkins-Tanton is the Mitsui Career Development Assistant Professor of Geology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
At MIT, her group is working to understand the chemistry and physics of planetary accretion and solidification, with projects focusing on planetesimals, the Moon, Mercury, the Earth, “super Earth” exoplanets, and on processes such as degassing the earliest atmospheres on terrestrial planets. The group is also investigating the relationships between large volcanic provinces and global extinction events, focusing on the Siberian flood basalts.
Elkins-Tanton received her SB and SM from MIT in 1987, and then spent eight years working in business, including five years spent writing business plans for young high-tech ventures. She then returned to MIT for a PhD, followed by five years as a researcher at Brown University, and her appointment in 2007 to the MIT faculty.
Elkins-Tanton is a two-time National Academy of Sciences Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow and has been appointed to the National Academy of Sciences Decadal Survey Mars panel. In 2008, she was awarded a five-year National Science Foundation CAREER award, and in 2009 was named Outstanding MIT Faculty Undergraduate Research Mentor. She is preparing the second edition of her six-book series The Solar System, a reference for libraries. When not in the lab or in Siberia she is home in Southborough, Mass., with her mathematician husband, high-school senior son, and three border collies.
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