Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability
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Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences and, by courtesy, of Earth System Science
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsPaleontology/Geobiology; Fossil record of plant physiology and development; Evolution of terrestrial ecosystems including fungi, animals, and environmental feedbacks with the biota
Dorrell William Kirby Professor of Geology in the School of Earth Sciences, Emeritus
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsSurface and interface geochemistry; environmental fate of heavy metals; nanotechnology, applications of synchrotron radiation in geochemistry and mineralogy
Affiliate, Basin & Petroleum System Modeling Group
BioAlan Burnham has a BS from Iowa State University Chemistry and PhD from the University of Illinois in Physical Chemistry. He worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for 31 years on oil shale retorting, petroleum geochemistry, laser fusion material science, and energetic materials. He was CTO for American Shale Oil for 7 years prior to becoming an Consulting/Adjunct Professor at Stanford. During this time he was also an independent consultant on various energy projects. He is currently an affiliate in the Basin and Petroleum Systems Modeling (BPSM) Group and a consultant for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Phys Sci Res Assoc, Earth & Planetary Sciences
BioI manage the Stanford Mineral and Microchemical Analysis Facility. My primary responsibilities include developing and testing procedures for measuring major and trace element concentrations in a variety of solid materials, working with Stanford researchers (and external users) to design experiments and collect, interpret, and publish data, and overseeing the long-term development and trajectory of the Mineral and Microchemical Analysis Facility both within the Stanford School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences and in the greater Stanford community.
Adjunct Lecturer, Earth & Planetary Sciences
BioI completed my Ph.D. with Dr. Stephan Graham in Geological & Environmental Sciences in 2020. While at Stanford, I worked with the U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory, the New Zealand Institute for Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS Science), Precourt Institute for Energy, and the SETI Institute and NASA Astrobiology Institute. I spent time in internships with a Fortune 500 E&P company, a California-based E&P firm, and Stanford Graduate School of Business. My research interests span the impact of climate change on ocean and sedimentary systems, organic and inorganic geochemistry, methane hydrates, and terrestrial analogues for the conditions found on Mars. My research has been published in Science Advances, Geophysical Research Letters, Energy & Fuels, International Journal of Earth Sciences, and Energies, and has been featured by ABC, CNN, MSN, Daily Mail, Yahoo, Popular Science, Live Science, New Scientist, Space, Universe Today, Austria Presse Agentur, Europa Press, Prensa Latina, Navbharat Times, India.com, MarthaStewart.com, and over 100 others. I've written for The Professional Geologist and UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, and have been invited to speak for TEDx, Vail Global Energy Forum, U.S. Department of State, Cleantech Open at PG&E Energy Center, University of Houston (HOGS), AGU, GSA, LPSC, Sigma Xi, and others. I volunteer my time as board member to the Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society and to the Society for Space Education, Research, and Development (a STEM NGO in India), and as Associate Editor to the American Institute of Professional Geologists.
Outside of research, I work to disrupt the stigma surrounding mental illness through The Manic Monologues, a play I co-created that showcases diverse true stories of mental health and illness. The play premiered at Stanford in May 2019 to standing ovations each night before being performed live to sold-out audiences in Des Moines, Iowa in Nov. 2019 and in Los Angeles (UCLA) in Feb. 2020. The play has been adapted for the virtual realm both as a film developed with a 50-hospital healthcare system (and screened for California Hospital Association, Stanford Medicine, AdventHealth, NAMI SF, and others) and as virtual productions and performances by McCarter Theatre Center (in partnership with Princeton University, The 24 Hour Plays, One Mind, and others), Prince George's Community College in Maryland, Virtual Theater Lab in Arizona, and others. The Manic Monologues was selected as an official Nominee for the 2021 Drama League Awards (the oldest theatrical honors in America), won the 2020 Cloris Awards, and has been featured by The Washington Post, NPR, NY1, The New York Times, Fast Company, Broadway World, Playbill, Psychology Today, Modern Healthcare, Stanford News, and many more. My writing related to mental health has been published by Devex, International Bipolar Foundation, and United for Global Mental Health, and I've been invited to speak for TEDx, California Hospital Association, Stanford School of Medicine, McCarter Theatre/Princeton University, CIIS, UCLA, UCSF, SFSU, ZSFG, and many others. Additionally, I spend time as board member to the Coalition for Action for Preventive Mental Health in Kenya, Columbia-WHO Center for Global Mental Health, batyr, The Adversity 2 Advocacy Alliance, and Generation Mental Health , and in the past served on the advisory council of actress Glenn Close’s mental health nonprofit Bring Change to Mind.
I also founded and led the Stanford Earth Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series, founded Stanford's Energy Policy Community, and founded Vines & Strata (the Stanford wine and geology society), hosting over 35 events for 1000+ members of the community. In the past, I taught for USDOD in Germany, worked on an organic goat cheese farm in Chile, and dabbled in "science poetry" featured in The Wall Street Journal.
Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences and, by courtesy, of Geophysics
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy research focuses on assuring 100% renewable energy through development of geothermal energy and critical mineral supply, developing approaches from data acquisition to decision making under uncertainty and risk assessment.
Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences and of Earth System Science
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsResearch
I use stable and radiogenic isotopes to understand Earth system history. These studies examine the link between climate, tectonics, biological, and surface processes. Projects include: 1) examining the terrestrial climate history of the Earth focusing on periods of time in the past that had CO 2-levels similar to the present and to future projections; and 2) addressing how the chemical weathering of the Earth's crust affects both the long- and short-term carbon cycle. Field areas for these studies are in the Cascades, Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada, the European Alps, Tibet and the Himalaya and the Southern Alps of New Zealand.
Much of the research that I do has an international component. Specifically, I have collaborations with: 1) the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Center in Frankfurt Germany as a Humboldt Fellow and 2) the Chinese University of Geosciences in Bejiing China where I collaborate with Professor Yuan Gao.
I teach courses at the undergraduate and graduate level in isotope biogeochemistry, Earth system history, and the relationship between climate, surface processes and tectonics.
Editor American Journal of Science; Co-Director Stanford Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry Laboratory (present);Chair, Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences (2004-07); Co-Director Stanford/USGS SHRIMP Ion microprobe facility (2001-04)