Linda Elkins-Tanton to Direct Carnegie’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism

Washington, D.C. Mitsui Career Development Associate Professor of Geology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Linda Elkins-Tanton, will become the seventh director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM). She succeeds retiring Sean C. Solomon who has been at the helm since 1992. Elkins-Tanton will begin her directorship in September 2011.

Elkins-Tanton received her B.S., M.S., and Ph. D. from MIT in geology, geochemistry, and geophysics respectively. Between her masters and doctorate, she spent 10 years in the private sector working in finance and publishing. She also taught college mathematics. Currently she conducts research into the processes involved with planetary formation and early evolution, the formation of large volcanic provinces, and the interactions of rocky planets and their atmospheres.

“Lindy’s unique background is an excellent match for DTM,” remarked Carnegie president Richard A. Meserve. “Everyone who has met her is very impressed with her. She will be an exceptional leader.”

In addition to her position at MIT, Elkins-Tanton is the associate editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, serves as secretary of the Planetary Division of the American Geophysical Union, and was a panel member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Decadal Survey for Planetary Science, 2009-2010. She has also been involved in spacecraft missions, including the SAGE Venus lander and the International Lunar Network. Among her awards she has received the Lowell Thomas Award from the Explorers Club (2010), the Outstanding MIT Faculty Undergrad Research Mentor Award (2008-2009), and the National Science Foundation CAREER award (2008).

Carnegie trustee and leader of the search committee, geophysicist Mary Lou Zoback said, “We were extremely fortunate to have had an outstanding pool of candidates for the position. But members of the committee and the department staff all agreed that the focus and breadth of Lindy’s research, as well as her leadership, diverse experience, and enthusiasm made her the perfect fit.”

Image courtesy MIT Website