Sam Bowring is the Robert R. Schrock Professor of Geology in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Bowring uses high-precision U-Pb geochronology to reconstruct the history of the Earth in deep time, from the formation of the planet’s earliest crust to the time scales of major biotic radiation and extinction events. He is known particularly for pushing the limits of geochronologic techniques to the highest analytical precision and accuracy ever achieved and for his exceptional talent as a field geologist. He is also highly regarded for his work on the origin and evolution of continental crust and the calibration of the geologic time scale. Bowring was born and grew up in Durham, New Hampshire. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Geology in 1976, from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology with an M.S. in 1980 and from University of Kansas with a Ph.D. in Geology in 1985. He was an Assistant Professor at Washington University from 1984 to 1990. In 1991 he took up a faculty position at MIT.
Sam Bowring is a geologist interested in using U-Pb geochronology to constrain the rates of geologic processes and to calibrate the timing of significant events in the geologic record. His unwavering pursuit of the highest possible capabilities in U-Pb geochronology has allowed him to investigate the explosion of multi-cellular life in the Early Cambrian – the single most important evolutionary event in Earth history – and to examine the mechanisms of the most significant catastrophic events in the history of life: the end-Permian and the end-Cretaceous mass extinctions. His relentless efforts as a field geologist in the Northwest Territories of Canada led to an understanding of the processes involved in the early growth of continental crust recorded in the 4 billion-year-old Acasta gneisses. Bowring’s interests also extend to environmental applications of tracer isotopes using the isotopic composition of Pb, Sr, and U in natural waters to examine the fate and transport of contaminants.
Walter H. Bucher Medal (AGU) (2016) | American Geophysical UnionFellow, National Academy of Sciences (2015)) | Fellow, The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, (2013) | Fellow, Geochemical Society (2011) | Norman L. Bowen Award (AGU) (2010) | Research Associate, Denver Museum of Nature & Science (2008-Present) | Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (2008) | Robert R. Shrock Professor in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (2007-2017) | Everett Moore Baker Memorial Award (2007-Present) | The MacVicar Award (2006-Present) | The Breene M. Kerr Professorship of Earth and Planetary Sciences (2002-2007) | Honorary Visiting Professor at St. Andrews University, Scotland (2000-Present) | Fellow, Geological Society of America (1999) | Louis Murray Fellow (University of Cape Town) (1998) | Erasmus Haworth Graduate Honors in Geology (1983) | McCollum, Burton Scholarship in Geology (1982) | Dean A. McGee Scholarship in Geology (1981)