Prof. Dr. William McDONOUGH

Prof. Dr. William McDONOUGH

Prof. Dr. William McDONOUGH

University of Maryland | USA

Understanding the composition, structure and evolution of the Earth and the other terrestrial planets are dominant themes of my research. The differentiation of the Earth has created 3 separate and distinct reservoirs (i.e., the core, the mantle-crust system, and the atmosphere-hydrosphere system). These reservoirs are in turn themselves internally differentiated and powered in part by radioactively produced energy. Chemical and isotopic studies of terrestrial and meteoritic samples provide insights into the timing and details of the various differentiation processes occurring in these planetary domains.

My expertise is in analytical instrumentation and neutrino geoscience.  Using laser ablation systems and plasma mass spectrometers for the chemical and isotopic analyses of samples I work with geologists, biologist, chemists, physicists and members of the US intelligence community.  I am developing and improving upon methods of modeling and detecting the Earth’s geoneutrino (electron antineutrino) flux and anti-neutrino detection for nuclear monitoring. With my students we provide chemical and isotopic data that constrain geological processes and data for biology, medicine, forensics, nuclear chemistry and archaeology.

I received my BA in Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts in 1979, my MS in Geochemistry from Sul Ross State University in 1983 and my Ph.D. in Geochemistry from Australian National University in 1988. From 1987 to 1989 I was an Alexander von Humboldt fellow at the Max Planck Institute für Chemie in Mainz, Germany. I returned to the Research School of Earth Sciences at the Australian National University in 1989 as a Research Fellow and left in 1994 for Harvard University, where I was a Research Associate in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. In 2000 I arrived at the University of Maryland as an Associate Professor became a Geology Professor in 2005 and in 2010 I became an Affiliate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. In 2017 I became a Professor at Tohoku University in the International Joint Graduate Programs in Earth and Environmental Sciences and Physics of the Origin and Formation of the Universe. At present I share a half time faculty position at the University of Maryland and Tohoku University.


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