Inside EAPS Fall 2017

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Volume 4, Issue 3 | Fall 2017

INSIDE EAPS Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at Purdue University

FROM THE HEAD Greetings. This year the EAPS department turned 50. I enjoyed welcoming many of our alumni back to the department and celebrating the Black and Golden Jubilee with them, our faculty, staff, and students. The Jubilee celebration was a culmination of 2 years of planning by the EAPS Alumni Advisory Board and hard work of many of our faculty and staff. To those of you who made it to the campus to celebrate 50 years of EAPS impact – a big thank you. As many of you know, I step down as the Head of EAPS on December 31 to start my new position as the Associate Dean and Director of International Programs in Agriculture at Purdue. As I reflect on my past 4.5 years as the department head, I would like to thank our alumni for their tremendous support to our department. I have enjoyed meeting with our alumni and listening to their success stories and the role EAPS and Purdue played in their professional success. It has given me a greater appreciation of the rich history of the department and the impacts our faculty and students have made in their fields of science. I will always cherish the friendship and support I have received. I hope that you will continue to provide your support as we embark upon writing the next 50 years of EAPS impact. Hail Purdue,

Indrajeet Chaubey Indrajeet Chaubey Professor and Head

SUBMITTING MATERIALS EAPS is pleased to announce Dr. Darryl Granger has accepted the position of Interim Head, effective Jan. 1, 2017.

CONTRIBUTORS Logan Judy, Communications Specialist Misc. Photos Provided By Dr. Ernie Agee, Dr. Dan Chavas, Dr. Andy Freed, Dr. William Hinze, Dr. Greg Michalski, Dr. Ken Ridgway, Dr. Phillip Smith, Steven Smith, and Myra Tschiegg.

Photo provided by Dr. William Hinze

To submit materials for Inside EAPS, send them via email to Logan Judy, EAPS Communications Specialist, at


Photo provided by Myra Tschiegg


The department turned 50 this year. Read about the celebration and all the department has accomplished in the past half-century.


EVERY ISSUE Alumnus Highlight: J. Mark Lester

The Great American Eclipse


See photos from the on-campus eclipse viewing that thousands attended.


Investigating Irma


EAPS researchers are studying the impact of Irma, and some were present when the storm made landfall.

Grad Student Profiles


In Memoriam: Dr. Dayton Vincent


A founding faculty member of EAPS, Dr. Vincent’s legacy will be remembered by many.

Alumni Updates


Professor Shieh Retires


After a 45-year career, Professor Shieh is retiring. Read about his impact on the department.



NEWS BRIEFS PURDUE FORMS STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP WITH PERUVIAN UNIVERSITY Purdue University and the Purdue Research Foundation signed a strategic research and commercialization alliance with the Universidad Nacional de San Agustin (UNSA) in Peru. Dr. Indrajeet Chaubey and Dr. Tim Filley will both be involved in the coordination of this strategic alliance. Photo courtesy of Paola Torreblanca-Fischer

DR. HUBER’S RESEARCH DETECTS A SOURCE OF URBAN COOLING EFFECT As Earth’s climate continues to warm, the urban heat island effect raises concerns that city-dwellers will suffer more heat stress than their rural counterparts. However, new research by Dr. Matt Huber suggests that some cities actually experience a cooling effect.

EAPS-LED STUDY INVESTIGATES THE MOON’S INTERIOR Scientists have long assumed that all the planets in our solar system look the same beneath the surface, but a study led by Dr. Jay Melosh published in Geology on Oct. 4 tells a different story. Photo by NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center

RESEARCH BY DR. NIYOGI HELPS PREDICT HEAVY RAINS IN MONSOON REGIONS As heavy flooding events, including those in Houston, Texas, and Mumbai, India, continue, research teams from Purdue University and India have been working on improving the models that can help predict heavy rainfall from weather events.

ANTARCTICA STUDY BY DR. SHEPSON SHOWS IMPACT OF IODINE IN AIR POLLUTION New measurements of molecular iodine in the Arctic show that even a tiny amount of the element can deplete ozone in the lower atmosphere. Photo by Kerri Pratt / University of Michigan




After graduating high school, EAPS alumnus J. Mark Lester was not sure what he wanted to do. However, after selecting Geology as his major on a whim, he embarked upon a long and successful career in the oil and gas industry.

Photo provided by J. Mark Lester

“When I entered Purdue in 1971, you had to declare a major from the start,” Lester said. “I selected Geology because it sounded cool, and I really wasn’t sure at the time what I wanted to be when I grew up. Once I took a couple of geology courses, I was hooked.”

Lester went on to acquire both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Earth Science at Purdue, collecting a wealth of knowledge and experience along the way. Among his best memories at Purdue is that of a geology field camp in the North Park Basin of Colorado. “Our home base was a tent city in a KOA campground,” Lester said. “Professor Roy cooked up rattlesnake and rabbit that rock hammeryielding geologists had slayed, and Professor Shieh jumped about five feet high when he almost stepped on a rattlesnake.” After graduating from Purdue, Lester worked for more than 35 years in the gas and oil industry, starting as a geophysicist. Later, he acquired a position at Chesapeake Energy, where he ultimately retired as Executive Vice President of Exploration. A great part of this success, he said, is a Purdue EAPS education. “I can assure you that throughout the country a Purdue education is highly thought of and can open many doors,” he said. After retiring in 2010, Lester spent five years as an energy industry consultant before retiring fully to dedicate more time to philanthropic endeavors, which include serving as a board member of the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics Foundation, Oklahoma Geological Foundation, Oklahoma Arts Institute Foundation, and deadCenter Film Festival. He is also a recipient of the College of Science’s Distinguished Science Alumni Award, the EAPS Outstanding Alumni Award, and currently serves as a member of the EAPS Alumni Advisory Board.



Many high school students enter college without laboratory experience in environmental science. EAPS Outreach has a new program that aims to change that. Taught in conjunction with Chemistry Outreach, “AP Fridays at Purdue” is an ongoing series of events providing advance placement (AP) high school students with the opportunity to do experiments in Purdue laboratories. The series rotates chemistry and environmental science topics, with the latter including chemical weathering, micrometeorology, and water quality, among others. “I had thought of the idea a couple of years ago but did not have a reliable space to host the event at that time,” said EAPS K-12 Outreach Coordinator Steven Smith. “With EAPS creating an active learning classroom for education and outreach, we now have an ideal place for the event. When the College of Science hired Sarah Nern for the new Chemistry K-12 Outreach Coordinator, I knew we could team up to make this event great. She was an AP Chemistry teacher before coming to Purdue, and her collaboration has made the events achievable.” Only in its first semester, the program is already a big hit with high schools across Indiana. Two schools participate in each session, with sessions capped at 40 students. In some cases, the outreach coordinators have had to turn schools away due to sessions reaching full capacity. “The teachers have been very excited and appreciative of the event,” Smith said. “We have had schools drive from as far as three hours away to come participate.” Being able to give this instruction to students fills an important need in the state. In order to receive an academic honors diploma in the state of Indiana, students have to take two Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Bill Bayley, Director of K-12 Outreach for the College of Science, said this program is fulfilling an important need for these students. “The amount of work that has to go into an AP course is pretty large, and these teachers are getting the opportunity to have one of the labs at Purdue, and taught by two fabulous outreach coordinators,” Bayley said. “This is a huge help for these schools, and gives high-level students a chance to get to Purdue and experience college a little bit.”


In addition to the work that setting up an AP course requires, teachers in Indiana often do not have the appropriate lab equipment needed to teach these courses well.


“Teachers have told us that they would not be able to perform these labs in their schools, due to lack of equipment and expertise,” Smith said. “They have been very impressed that faculty have taken the time to help teach their high school students.” Once they are involved in the program, students frequently become engrossed in the activities, asking probing questions. Bayley said he has observed this firsthand in the sessions that he has helped instruct. “They’re asking questions and wanting to more than just, ‘How do I answer this question to put it on a piece of paper?’ They were truly thoughtful questions by the kids, and having Sarah and Steve there, me there, or other faculty there to answer those questions, I think is just invaluable.” Due to the continued availability of space within the department, as well as interest from teachers and students, the program will continue for the foreseeable future. “As excited as teachers are about the program, they would be very upset if we did not continue to offer it,” Smith said. “I expect we will have a waiting list next year for many of our AP Friday events, and I am hoping to eventually expand our offerings to include more content areas.”

Misc. photos above were provided by Dr. Andy Freed and Allison LaFleur.



For many of us, the decision of what we want to do with our lives can be a long process. This was not the case for EAPS graduate student Youmi Oh. Since she was 11 years old, she said, she knew exactly what she wanted to do. “I wanted to work at NASA because I thought a meteor would come to the Earth and we would all die,” she said. “My dream was to save the Earth.” That mission led Oh to pursue a science education with intensity and vigor. In her home country of South Korea, she attended a specialized science school. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Engineering from the EWHA Women’s University in Seoul, she went to Princeton University for her master’s degree, with a focus on the Arctic methane budget. As she explains, this research has important implications for predicting climate change. “Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas behind carbon dioxide,” she said. “In the Arctic, the soil has been frozen for a long time. Because the temperature increases from climate change, the frozen soil has started to defrost, and a lot of people expect that a lot of methane will be emitted from the Arctic soil, which will produce an enhanced warming effect.” According to this model, as more methane is emitted from the soil, the temperature will rise further, creating a positive feedback loop. In her research at Princeton, however, Oh and her advisor focused on something modelers were not accounting for – bacteria. “We found an interesting bacterium that absorbs a lot of the methane,” she said. “As the temperature increases, they absorb more methane.” Once Oh’s advisor at Princeton discovered the bacterium, Oh adapted the model. This ultimately fit well with the work of Dr. Qianlai Zhuang, Oh’s co-advisor in EAPS. “The model I worked on at Princeton is a very simple model,” she said. “Dr. Zhuang’s terrestrial ecosystem model is a very large model, so I want to implement my small model into his model and see how the whole Arctic responds to this temperature increase, and how this bacterium responds to the temperature increase.” This was the topic of a publication in Geophysical Research Letters, titled, “A scalable model for methane


consumption in Arctic mineral soils,” of which Oh was the lead author. The article concluded that, “Because high-affinity methanotrophs may respond more strongly to temperature and less strongly to soil moisture than low-affinity methanotrophs, this feedback loop may be partially suppressed.”

Photo provided by Youmi Oh


Now a PhD student in EAPS, Oh continues to explore creative approaches to modeling. This has led to her receiving multiple accolades, including the NASA Earth Space and Science Fellowship, the Purdue Climate Change Research Center Graduate Student Initiative Award, and the Ross Fellowship in Natural Sciences and Engineering. This has not come from her work in the Arctic alone. She also works with Dr. Lisa Welp, her other coadvisor, studying connections between tree rings and climate change that she says many climate modelers have not taken into account.

“Basically, what Dr. Welp and I are studying is what climate change signals are recorded tree rings and what are not,” she said. “Climate change can change the isotope composition in the leaf and trees respond to drought and warmer temperatures, but there are a lot of complicated processes between the leaf and the tree ring. That’s important, because a lot of model validation just looks at the tree ring, and makes conclusions about climate change from that, and they may not be accurate.” This research has large implications, but includes a local element. Oh goes to Monroe Morgan State Forest – roughly a two-hour drive from Purdue’s West Lafayette campus – every 10-14 days to collect leaf samples from the trees there to study in the Purdue Stable Isotope laboratory. Oh anticipates graduating with her PhD in 2020, at which point she intends to bring her creative approach to research to a government laboratory. In the meantime, she continues to be involved in the department, participating in outreach events and continuing her research. It is a place, she says, that feels like home. “Advisors here care, and take care of their students like family.”

Photos provided by Dr. Greg Michalski.



To some students, the idea of being a scientist can seem a bit nebulous. For EAPS graduate student Alexandra Meyer, it was the active involvement in science, not just classroom study, that gave her a passion for it. “I always knew I wanted to be a scientist, but I didn’t really understand what that meant until I got to college, because that’s when I really started doing research,” she said. During her undergraduate studies at the University of Saint Francis, Meyer did a wide variety of research that included mussel physiology, nuclear chemistry, and biofuels. Due in part to the influence of one of her professors, she became interested in biogeochemistry, drawn to the opportunity to do field work. “I was interested in biofuels, but I didn’t like being stuck in the lab all day, and that’s what it was going to be if I went into biochemistry,” she said. “So one of my professors said, ‘Why don’t you look into biogeochemistry? It’s everything you want to do.’ So that’s why I started looking into it, and then I found Dr. Welp.” Dr. Lisa Welp, Meyer’s current advisor, uses stable isotopes to study the exchange of both water and carbon between the land surface and the atmosphere. When Meyer became interested in working with her, she took a novel approach to student recruitment – they went on a cruise for science. “Before I technically was enrolled, I went on a research cruise with Dr. Welp in Lake Superior, so I got to dive in headfirst into the instrumentation, and what I was actually going to be doing once I got here,” she said. “I liked to tell my friends ‘Guys, I’m going on a cruise . . . to measure evaporation!’” Now a PhD student at Purdue, Meyer studies water exchange between the surface and the atmosphere, and how it plays a role in the regional humidity. This research has given her the opportunity to apply her research to bodies of water in person, including Lake Superior .


“Understanding the controls on surface evaporation and plant transpiration is important for predicting surface water availability and atmospheric humidity. We use surface water for many purposes necessary to life, and humidity is a strong driver of severe storms,” she said.


Although Meyer has only been a graduate student at EAPS for one academic year, her research is already gaining ground. She is the recipient of a Purdue Doctoral Fellowship, and has been awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. This has stemmed not only from her research in the lab, but outreach efforts as well. Meyer is the outreach co-chair of the EAPS Graduate Student Association, and participated in Passport Day, an event executed in tandem with the local science center Imagination Station to do science outreach to young children. This ties into what Meyer says her “secret to success” is as a scientist – finding ways to make science relevant and helpful for the public, something she expounded on when she received the NSF Fellowship. “I wanted to make sure I could explain my proposal and why it’s important to a general audience,” she said. “I always try to explain my ideas to my younger brother and sister.” Meyer anticipates graduating with her PhD in 2021. In looking to the future, she hopes to use her graduate studies, as well as her experience as an undergraduate, to give her future students what she has received in her educational career – a high-quality education that encourages students to get involved in research. “I want to be a professor at an undergraduate institution, where the focus is more on teaching, but you also get to do research with the students and get them involved,” she said.

Photos provided by Dr. Ken Ridgway.




Photo provided by Dr. William Hinze


stablished in 1967 as the Department of Geosciences, the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences has enjoyed fifty years of excellence across its wide range of disciplines. This fall, it welcomed alumni to campus to celebrate its successes, and to reflect on their time at Purdue.


A HISTORY One of the alumni who returned to campus is Bill Reid (M.S. ’72 Economic Geology), who has fond memories of his time as a student. “A career discovering ore deposits, building mines, providing employment and careers for many people, and

improving the standard of living where we could, are the result of two dynamic professors, Bill Pullen and Don Levandowski,” Reid said. “That and what is now the EAPS Department at Purdue helped a college student decide on a career that has been very rewarding.” Many EAPS alumni went on to have fulfilling and lucrative careers in the

including Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Statistics, Agronomy, and Agricultural and Biological Engineering. One of the jewels of EAPS research is the Purdue Rare Isotope Measurement Lab (PRIME Lab). It is jointly managed by EAPS, Physics, and Chemistry, and has been named a national facility by the National Science Foundation.

energy industry, some founding their own successful companies. Several atmospheric science alumni moved into broadcast meteorology roles, as well as research with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Dr. Philip Smith, faculty emeritus in atmospheric science, thinks fondly on the years he watched program grow. “I spent 42 wonderful years working with wonderful students

and colleagues,” Dr. Smith said. “Just seeing how this program has grown over the years makes me the proudest.” In 1985, the department was renamed from the Department of Geosciences to the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS). With this change came a new era in the department, embracing interdisciplinary research. Currently, there are joint faculty appointments with several other departments,

“During my time at Purdue, PRIME Lab has grown from a fledgling accelerator mass spectrometry facility to one of the best AMS labs in the world,” said Dr. Darryl Granger, EAPS professor and associate head, who co-manages the lab. “I’ve had amazing opportunities to work on interesting research problems across the globe. I’ve studied caves on five continents and dated early human evolution in South Africa, China, and Europe.”

Just seeing how this program has grown over the years makes me the proudest - Dr. Philip Smith, Professor Emeritus 11

Even before the addition of the planetary science program, EAPS made its mark supporting NASA’s mission of discovery. In 2009, EAPS alumnus Dr. Andrew Feustel (B.S. ’89, Solid Earth Sciences; MS. ’91, Geophysics) served on the final mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope, and on the space shuttle Endeavour’s final flight in 2011. He is currently training for International Space Station Expeditions 55 and 56, which launch in March 2018. “My time at Purdue helped me prepare for my career, and I owe a debt of gratitude to the people who believed in and supported me,” Dr. Feustel said. “I hope my work reflects positively on the school and further reinforces what a great learning institution it is.” In 2012, the Department changed its name once again to the Department of Earth,

Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, to reflect its expansion to research in planetary formation, geology, and impact cratering. Since its inception, the undergraduate planetary science degree has attracted more than 40 students in just four years.

A CELEBRATION More than 200 alumni returned to campus during Homecoming Weekend to celebrate the success of the past 50 years. After a series of events that included a department open house, geocache hunt, and golf outing, EAPS alumni and friends gathered for an Anniversary Gala Dinner. The Department recognized other important milestones throughout the evening, including the announcement of the

Department’s second endowed professorship, and numerous gifts from EAPS alumni and friends. Two prestigious EAPS alumni, Jim Hurrell and J. Mark Lester, gave keynote speeches, emphasizing the role that EAPS still has to play in the future, both in climate change, and in energy production and innovation.

A FUTURE The Department looks forward to the next fifty years, with new initiatives, engaging its students in cutting-edge research, and the continued success of its alumni. As author Arthur C. Clarke once remarked, “The one fact about the future of which we can be certain is that it will be utterly fantastic.”

Photo provided by Dr. Ken Ridgway




Photo Credit: NOAA

In terms of maximum sustained winds, Hurricane Irma was the strongest storm observed in the Atlantic since Wilma in 2005, coming in a tumultuous season of storms across the United States that also included tropical storms Harvey and Maria. Two EAPS faculty – Dr. Dan Dawson and Dr. Dan Chavas – traveled to Florida to study the storms. Graduate student Jie Chen was present on both trips, including the storm’s landfall. “We couldn’t get out of the car because the wind was too strong,” she said. “The precipitation isn’t like rain – it just comes at you.”

In addition to the dangers from the storm itself, traveling to the storm presented logistical challenges. Power outages, shifting weather patterns, and finding a place to stay were all significant obstacles. So why go through all of this trouble? According to Dr. Dawson, taking measurements during these storms can give us valuable instruction for the future. “Understanding how the rain drops are distributed in size in these storms is very important,” he said. “Rain drop sizes have an important impact on the overall cooling in the downdrafts of

convective storms, including those in the outer rainbands of hurricanes. Smaller drops will lead to more cooling than larger drops, leading in turn to stronger downdrafts and possibly stronger surface winds.” This research is being conducted in conjunction with partners at the University of Oklahoma and the National Severe Storms Laboratory, using probes dubbed Portable Integrated Precipitation Stations, or PIPS. These allow researchers to take measurements in a variety of weather conditions, including inclement weather during hurricane landfall.


some of the heaviest damage from Irma. Between Chen, Dr. Chavas, and the other researchers involved with the project, thousands of photos were taken of the damage. Chen said that the amount of damage the Keys received, in comparison with the areas they saw, was remarkable.

Photos provided by Dr. Dan Chavas

Despite the advantages that these probes provide, however, deploying them can be challenging. Chen and Dr. Dawson had to change locations multiple times due to changing weather conditions. Even after taking the measurements, the challenges of the trip continued to mount, even as opportunities for collaboration increased. “The policemen found our mobile radar, so they stopped and asked us what we were doing, and then realized we were ‘real scientists,’” Chen said. “They invited all of us to the newly established emergency center to meet the director, chair, and local meteorologist. They were working on the evacuation, protection, and related work. It’s a lucky thing, because after we launched the balloon and went back to the hotel, the whole city


was out of power, gas, and fresh water, so we couldn’t stay at the hotel. The emergency center gave us a place to stay.” Despite the challenges of the first trip, Chen returned just a couple of weeks later, coming with Dr. Dan Chavas to evaluate the storm damage as part of research being conducted in cooperation with Princeton University to help evaluate storm predictions. “We’re trying to understand the extent of the damage, where it occured, and the type of damage that occurred,” Dr. Chavas said. “We want to compare that with the information we have about wind heights, rain speeds, and the relationship between storm damage and danger to health.” The Florida Keys, the location of the second journey, received

“The situation gets better when you reach Georgia, but Florida is kind of a mess,” she said. “When we entered Florida, I still thought it might not be too severe, because Naples, Miami, and Tampa were not bad. But then we drove to Key West and the lower Keys, and it’s really terrible there.” Using the data from the damage survey, researchers will develop a model to reproduce the observed wind and surge damage. That will help researchers better understand how the conditions in a hurricane lead to the kind and severity of the damage that Chen and Dr. Chavas observed. As researchers continue to gather information about the storm and its impact, Hurricane Irma remains a grim reminder of the importance that atmospheric science research plays in the safety of coastal areas.

IN MEMORIAM: DAYTON VINCENT, 1936-2017 In addition to his concern for his students and his love for sports, Dr. Vincent was known for his daily walks on campus, and his love for travel, which once resulted in more of an adventure than he had planned.

Dr. Dayton G. Vincent, meteorologist, educator, and research scientist, passed away in Lafayette, I, on September 20, 2017. He was 81 years old.

a consummate scientist, and a fatherly mentor. His embrace of students into the fold of his personal life made Purdue feel like home.”

Dr. Vincent was well known for his study of tropical circulation systems on the United States mainland. He also flew hurricane reconnaissance with the United States Air Force, authored or coauthored more than 50 referred journal articles, and served the American Meterological Society on numerous committees and boards for more than 10 years.

In Dr. Vincent’s personal approach to mentoring his students, he frequently invited them in to other parts of his life. He loved sports, including bowling, golf, baseball, and basketball. His students, who called him “Pops,” were frequently invited to share in his love of sports, as well as other aspects of his private life.

A founding member of the EAPS atmospheric science program, Dr. Vincent made a great impact on colleagues and students alike. Students consistently described Dr. Vincent as an involved and personal mentor. EAPS alumnus Herbert Borenstein (M.S. ‘79, Atmospheric Science) said, “Dayton was a kind man,

“We will always remember him for being a friend, being like a second father, and for his wisdom when it came to work-life balance,” said EAPS alumnus Dr. James Hurrell (PhD ‘90, Atmospheric Science, M.S. ‘86, Atmospheric Science) and his wife Cathy Hurrell (B.S. ’86, M.S. ’88). “Whenever we would talk on the phone, Dayton and Lola would always end the call by saying, ‘I love you.’ Where else do you get that?”

Dr. Ernest Agee, a co-founder of the atmospheric science department along with Dr. Vincent and Dr. Phillip Smith, recalled one journey he took to give an invited talk at the University of Wisconsin. During that drive, he saw every kind of weather from sunny to thunderstorms to tornadoes and finally, snow. He did make it to the talk, but not before sliding into a ditch. “Upon Dayton’s return to campus,” Dr. Agee said, “he said that we should be doing field work like our geology faculty colleagues, and that he had a wonderful suggestion for a field experience for our students.” Drs. Agee and Smith continued to be close friends to Dr. Vincent, even after his retirement in 2001. It was a friendship that Dr. Smith says he will always cherish. “Dayton was an outstanding teacher and scientist who was instrumental in helping atmospheric science get started and fourish at Purdue,” Dr. Smith said. “But most of all Dayton was a great friend to our students, his colleagues, and especially to me. I will miss him very much.”



The Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences has had a long and varied history over the past 50 years. One of the constants in that history, Dr. Yuch-Ning Shieh, has retired. Dr. Shieh was one of the earliest faculty members to join the department, coming in 1972, just a few years after the founding of the Department of Geosciences in 1967. Dr. Gunnar Kellerud, the first department head, recruited Dr. Shieh in an effort to establish a successful geochemistry program. “Dr. Kellerud was himself a geochemist, and he recruited besides me three other faculty in mineralogy, petrology, emphasizing the high-temperature geochemistry,” he said. “At one time, in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, the geochemistry program was ranked 8th in the nation.” Dr. Shieh’s impact reached more than just geochemistry


majors. He became a staple of the department, teaching several undergraduate geology courses, and gaining a reputation as an engaging instructor who cared about his students. His longevity caused some students at the Black & Golden Jubilee, when hearing of his retirement, to say in jest, “Doctor Shieh isn’t allowed to retire!” His commitment to teaching is a source of pride for Dr. Shieh. During his more than 45 years with the department, he has only missed one lecture – and that was only because of a major medical procedure. “They found a problem with my pancreas that is not detected unless you have a full exam. I had to go into the hospital for eight days and had to be on sick leave for a month. That’s the only time I ever missed my lecture.” His dedication has brought great returns. Many alumni have fond

memories of taking classes from Dr. Shieh, as well as doing research with him. Dr. Teresa Bowers (B.S. ’77), said her experience working with Dr. Shieh was part of the reason she pursued a career in the geosciences. “I was fortunate that Dr. Shieh asked me to participate as an undergraduate in his research program, and that he had the bravery to turn me loose on his isotope lines,” Dr. Bowers said. “That was my introduction to actual scientific research, and furthered my desire to pursue a career in this area.” Although Dr. Shieh has retired, he continues to maintain a presence in the department, attending seminars and interacting with colleagues, students, and staff. Even in retirement, passion continues to be a defining feature of Dr. Shieh, and the Department has greatly benefited from his work over the years.


Photo provided by Myra Tschiegg

1970 – 1979

2010 – 2017

David Leary (B.S., ‘78) received the EAPS Outstanding Alumni award for his achievements and contributions in the field of geoscience.

W. Logan Downing (B.S., ‘17) is working at Creek Run Environmental Engineering as a Field Scientist. He is primarily responsible for groundwater sampling and creating groundwater flow and contaminant plume maps.

Do you have an update you’d like for us to share with other alumni? Email Logan Judy, EAPS Communications Specialist, at ljudy@purdue. edu.

EVENTS AGU 2017 Alumni Reception Thursday, December 14, 2017 The District Restaurant 711 Tchoupitoulas Street New Orleans, LA

AMS 2018

January 7-11, 2018 Austin, TX

LPSC 2018

March 19-23, 2018 The Woodlands, TX EAPS will hold a reception at some of these meetings. The time and location is TBD. Please check for updates at


EAPS - Purdue University 550 Purdue Mall Drive West Lafayette, IN 47907

Come visit us! The Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences occupies the second, third and fourth floors of the Hampton Hall of Civil Engineering. You can visit the main office in Room 2169.