Distinguished Professor elected to National Academy of Sciences

May 08, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Susan L. Brantley, Distinguished Professor of Geosciences at Penn State and director of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences' Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI) has been elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences for her excellence in original scientific research. Membership in the NAS is one of the highest honors given to a scientist or engineer in the United States.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to furthering science and technology for the general welfare. Established in 1863, the National Academy of Sciences has served to "investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art" whenever called upon to do so by any department of the government. Brantley joins 83 others elected this year, making the total NAS membership 2,152.

Brantley's research focuses on the interaction of water and rocks. She investigates the chemical, biological and physical processes associated with the circulation of water in shallow geological settings incorporating field and laboratory work and modeling of observations. She is particularly interested in questions about the measurement and prediction of the rates of natural processes including chemical weathering both with and without microorganisms.

Currently her work looks at how microbes alter iron release and isotope fractionation in weathering of shales, granites and basalts and the coupling of weathering and erosion. Her work also includes investigations of the Luquillo Critical Zone Observatory and the Susquehanna Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory. The Critical Zone is the life-sustaining outermost surface of the planet, from the vegetation canopy to groundwater and everything in between.

Brantley joined Penn State in 1986 as an assistant professor of geosciences. She became associate professor in 1991 and professor in 1997. She was named Distinguished Professor in 2008. From 1998 to 2003 she was director of the Center for Environmental Chemistry and Geochemistry and from 1999 to 2003 director of the Biogeochemical Research Initiative for Education. In 2003 she became director of EESI and was director of of the Center for Environmental Kinetics Analysis from 2004 to 2011.

Brantley received a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1987 and a David and Lucile Packard Fellowship in 1988. In 2007 she became a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. In 2011 she received the Arthur L. Day Medal from the Geological Society of America and was elected a Fellow. In 2012 she became a Fellow of the Geochemical Society and European Association of Geochemistry and the International Association of GeoChemistry.

She received a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1980, a master's degree and doctoral degree in geological and geophysical sciences in 1983 and 1987, respectively, all from Princeton University. She is the author of more than 160 peer-reviewed papers.

  • Susan L. Brantley, Distinguished Professor of Geosciences at Penn State and director of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences' Earth and Environmental Systems Institute.

    IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated January 09, 2015