Linda T. Elkins-Tanton

Arizona State University
Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Earth Sciences

Elkins-Tanton is PI of the NASA Psyche Discovery Mission to visit a metal asteroid, launching in 2022. She has held numerous leadership positions, including Managing Director of the Interplanetary Initiative at ASU, Director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at ASU, Director of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at Carnegie, and President of the Planetary Division of the AGU. Her research established that (1) the structure, composition, and evolution of planetesimals include partially-differentiated and other complex compositional structures; (2) the Siberian flood basalts erupted most of their volume before the extinction occurred; the magmatism released carbon, sulfur, and halocarbons sufficient to drive catastrophic global climate change; (3) magma ocean stages of terrestrial planet formation retained sufficient water to create habitable planets without additional water delivery; silicate differentiation produced by magma ocean solidification makes successful predictions about Moon, Earth, Mercury, and Mars; and, (4) the role of drip magmatism. Further research concerns the role of asking questions in critical thinking, and the effectiveness of educational methodologies for teaching critical thinking and problem solving.

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