My current research focuses on the minerals of boron and beryllium and the role of these two elements in the changes rocks undergo at high temperatures and pressures in the earth’s crust, especially in the granulite facies. Due the abundance of phosphate minerals associated with borosilicate minerals in my field area, I studied these as well and discovered three new species in the Larsemann Hills, Prydz Bay , Antarctica (Figure 1). One of these, chopinite, I later discovered in a meteorite. Following the tradition of the late Charles Guidotti, formerly a professor in our department, I describe my research as “petrologic mineralogy” because I study minerals in their petrologic context. Work with light elements requires special techniques so an integral component of my research is analysis for Li, Be and B in minerals with the ion microprobe (secondary ion mass spectrometry). I do these analyses in collaboration with Charles Shearer at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. In August, 2009 I was awarded a research grant from the National Science Foundation to analyze borosilicate minerals for boron isotopes, and for this ion microprobe work I have collaborated with Simon Harley at the University of Edinburgh, UK.
My professional activities in the mineralogical community have included my service as Associate Editor of Canadian Mineralogist (2003-2005), American Mineralogist (2005-2010) and Mineralogical Magazine (2006-present). In 2011 I became chair of the subcommittee to review the nomenclature for the group of garnet minerals. This subcommittee was established by the Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification of the International Mineralogical Association. I previously chaired a similar subcommittee for the nomenclature of the sapphirine group. In 2012 I am one of the candidates running for the office of Treasurer of the Mineralogical Society of America. My activities also include public outreach events such as “Sunday with a Scientist: Rocks and Minerals” at the University of Nebraska State Museum in December 2011. See my Research Activities page for more details on recent and current projects.