Earth Institute Announces 2009-2010 Marie Tharp Fellows


The Earth Institute at Columbia University is pleased to announce the 2009-2010 Marie Tharp Fellows — two women who are making noteworthy contributions to the fields of geochemistry and paleoceanography.

The 2009-2010 Marie Tharp Fellows are: Kathy Licht, Associate Professor of Earth Sciences, Indiana University, and Laura Robinson, Assistant Scientist in Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Each of the Marie Tharp Fellows will spend three months working at Columbia University. The Fellowship is named after Marie Tharp, a former Columbia scientist who left an indelible mark on the study of oceanography by being the first to map the ocean floor on a global scale. Tharp, who joined the University in 1948, published the pivotal interpretations of mid-ocean ridges that led to the eventual acceptance of the theories of plate tectonics and continental drift.

The Marie Tharp Fellowship is sponsored by the Earth Institute ADVANCE Program, a National Science Foundation program that aims to increase the recruitment, retention and advancement of women scientists and engineers at Columbia University. The fellowship is open to women scientists whose research covers one or more of the core scientific fields in the Earth Institute, including the Earth sciences and engineering.

More about the 2009-2010 Marie Tharp Fellows:

Kathy Licht

Kathy Licht

Kathy Licht, Associate Professor of Earth Sciences, Indiana University

Dr. Licht’s research efforts have focused on generating physical constraints on the past configuration of the Antarctic ice sheet in order to better understand what controls its advance and retreat in  the face of major climate change. During her fellowship, Dr. Licht will collaborate with Sidney Hemming to characterize the distribution of 40Ar/39Ar ages in mineral grains eroded from beneath the large Antarctic ice sheets to gain insights into the subglacial geology and to constrain ice sheet flow models. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder.


Laura Robinson

Laura Robinson

Laura Robinson, Assistant Scientist in Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Dr. Robinson uses geochemical techniques to study processes occurring in the ocean, land and cryosphere both today and in the past. Her research interests include determination of rates of erosion, changes in ocean circulation over millennia and the timing of major climate events in the past. During her fellowship she will collaborate with Prof. Bärbel Hönisch, at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory to reconstruct the recent climate history of the West Antarctic Peninsula by using chemical signatures extracted from coral skeletons. She received her Ph.D. in Earth Sciences from the University of Oxford, UK.