Meet Ethan Baxter
By Liz Delaney ‘00
Ethan Baxter joined the Boston College community in July, 2015.
Q: Tell us briefly about your academic background and research interests. What do you study and why?
A: Since the age of five, I have known that I wanted to be a geologist. During my time as an undergraduate at Yale, a PhD student at UC Berkeley, and a professor at Boston University, I explored many aspects of geology and geochemistry. My interest in unraveling the history of the Earth, as well as predicting certain aspects of its future, is at the heart of much of the research being undertaken in my group.
Earth processes can be most fully understood when research is grounded in a breadth of possible scales and methods of observation and analysis. My research brings together approaches including isotope geochemistry, geochronology, field studies, petrology & mineralogy, thermodynamics, experimental geochemistry, and numerical & theoretical modeling.
Q: What brought you to Boston College?
A: In addition to BC’s strong academic reputation and the lab that I have been able to establish here, I was attracted by the opportunity to build something new. This is a time of opportunity for the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. We are currently conducting a search for a new faculty member, and plan to do another search in the future. We are also excited about contributing to the proposed Institute for Science and Society. We have a great department and are actively investing in young faculty, and I’m excited to see where we can take it.
Q: Tell us about your vision for the Department. What are you hoping to build?
A. We have a lot of strengths here, and I am hoping to build upon those strengths. I believe one of the best ways to educate our students is by giving them an appreciation of all of earth’s systems – the physical, chemical and biological – and how they relate to one another. University programs that focus deeply on one specific area often lose the broader significance of the work that each system does. We honor the linkages between all parts of these systems and strive to build an appreciation for their interconnectivity. We are also hoping to add a doctoral program to our department, and do public outreach to the community around us to excite them about the work we are doing.
Q: Is there anything else that you would like to share about your experience here at BC thus far?
Since I have joined Boston College, my experience here has been overwhelmingly positive. I have found administrators and other departments to be open, friendly and very receptive. BC has a great energy and spirit, and I love its philosophy of interdisciplinary investigation. In addition, the lab where I work (alongside Dr. Corinne Wong) has been great. BC’s investment in state of the art equipment and facilities has been incredibly beneficial for the research we are doing.