Meeting Information

Earths Unique Continents

December 16, 2015
American Center for Physics
College Park, MD

Dr. Roberta RudnickDate: Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Speaker: Dr. Roberta Rudnick , University of Maryland

Topic: Earth's Unique Continents

Time and Location: 1:00 PM, with Q&A to follow; in a 1st floor conference room at the American Center for Physics (, 1 Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD­­ off River Rd., between Kenilworth Ave. and Paint Branch Parkway.

Abstract: The Earth is the only planet in our solar system with continents. Continents provide the habitat in which our species evolved, as well as the sustenance we need to survive. Yet how continents form, as well as when they formed, is still a matter of debate. This lecture will review current thinking on what continents are made of, and how they may have formed and evolved through time.

Biography: Dr Roberta L. Rudnick is a Distinguished University Professor and Chair of the Department of Geology at the University of Maryland. Prior to joining the Maryland faculty in 2000 she spent six years as a professor at Harvard University, and several years as a research scientist at the Research School of Earth Sciences at the Australian National University, and the Max­Planck Institute fur Chemie in Mainz, West Germany, where she was an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow. Dr. Rudnick received her Ph.D. from the Australian National University in 1988.

Her research focuses on the origin and evolution of the continents, particularly the lower continental crust and the underlying mantle lithosphere. For the past 14 years she has investigated lithium isotope geochemistry as a means of tracing crustal recycling and diffusional processes within the Earth.

She has been a councilor for the Mineralogical Society of America, She has served on the board of directors of the Geochemical Society, served for ten years as an Editor in­ Chief of Chemical Geology and as the editor for the volume The Crust, in the Treatise on Geochemistry. She received the N.L. Bowen Award from the VGP section of the American Geophysical Union and the Dana Medal from the Mineralogical Society of America. She is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America, the Mineralogical Society of America, and has been a distinguished lecturer for the latter society. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and is a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.