My research involves unraveling the nature of matter on Earth. Atoms form all Earth materials, and through X-ray crystallography. I work to determine the arrangement of atoms in crystalline Earth materials called minerals.
I have determined and studied the atomic arrangements of numerous minerals on the Earth and even one lunar mineral (merrilite from the Apollo 14 mission). My research, which involves students in a large way, centers on the minerals apatite and tourmaline. Apatite is being investigated as a solid-state nuclear waste repository, providing a way to safely sequester radioactive waste. It also is the mineral that forms all the hard parts of the human body except small parts of the inner ear, and thus apatite studies have biological implications as well.
I am interested in studies on any mineral, and would be pleased to be consulted by any students with mineralogical questions.