Smye named Slingerland Early Career Professor in Geosciences

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In recognition of his early career achievements in teaching, research and service, Andrew Smye, assistant professor of geosciences in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, has been named the Rudy L. Slingerland Early Career Professor of Geosciences.

The professorship was created through a gift from Roland P. and Debra C. Sauermann and named in honor of Rudy L. Slingerland, professor emeritus of geology in the Department of Geosciences.

“This is a tremendous honor for me,” said Smye. “I’m deeply grateful to the Sauermann family for their forethought and generosity in enabling such an opportunity. Having the college support my efforts to build a crustal petrology program at Penn State is extremely encouraging.”

Smye’s research blends field observations, laboratory measurements and theoretical calculations to investigate the processes that control the physical and chemical evolution of Earth’s crust and upper mantle. Specifically, his research focuses on the movement of mass and heat through the Earth’s crust in order to understand the interplay between tectonics and metamorphism.

“This endowed position will help support my group’s research into how the continental crust evolves during mountain building and rifting. The funds will help my group to undertake fieldwork in the European Alps, where the Earth’s best exposures of lower continental crust are found,” said Smye.

He is part of a team collaborating on the National Science Foundation-funded ExTerra Field Institute and Research Endeavor (E-FIRE) project that seeks to improve our understanding of how subduction operates. The $4.2 million initiative unites U.S. scientists and students with European colleagues also working on fossil subduction systems to conduct in-depth analyses of rocks from the Western Alps — a classic example of an ancient zone of subduction. Findings from the endeavor will provide new insight into our understanding of the processes governing crustal formation and destruction and help us better understand the Earth's evolution.

Smye joined Penn State’s Department of Geosciences in April 2016. Prior to joining Penn State he was a postdoctoral research associate at the National Environment Research Council’s (NERC) Isotope Geoscience Laboratories in the UK, a Jackson Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas, Austin, and a NERC Independent Research Fellow at the University of Oxford.

This spring, Smye was awarded the Geological Society of London’s 2017 President’s Award, also in recognition of his early career accomplishments.

Smye received his undergraduate degree in Earth sciences from Oxford in 2007 and his doctorate in metamorphic petrology, geochronology and structural geology from the University of Cambridge in 2012.

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Last Updated November 10, 2017