Michael R. Rampino
Professor of Biology
Ph.D. 1978 (geological sciences), Columbia; B.A. 1968 (geology), Hunter College.
|New York University|
|Department of Biology|
|1009 Silver Center|
|100 Washington Square East|
|New York, NY 10003-6688|
My research spans many areas of the earth sciences, especially the inter-relationships between the Earth's changing environments and the evolution of life. A major long-term project involves the causes of mass extinctions, including the end-Cretaceous extinction 65 million years ago when the dinosaurs and many other forms of life died out. The evidence for a large asteroid or comet impact at that time led to work on a general theory of large-body impacts and mass extinctions, research into impact cratering and its environmental effects and into the possible astronomical causes for periodic comet showers in Earth's history. This work has taken me to impact craters and geologic boundaries on six continents. Recently, I have been focusing on the causes of the Permian/Triassic mass extinction (250 million years ago) - the most severe mass extinction of life - with field studies in Europe, Japan and South Africa.
Another line of ongoing research has been an investigation of the role of volcanic eruptions in climatic change. This has involved study of volcanoes in Indonesia, and elsewhere around the globe. Of special interest are the largest explosive events that can produce severe 'volcanic winter' episodes of cooling. These eruptions may have caused near-extinction in human evolutionary history and their reoccurrence can threaten civilization.
Recent projects include computer modeling of biogeochemical cycles (carried out with Ken Caldeira at Lawrence - Livermore National Laboratory), and studies of global climate on time scales from decades (global warming) to hundreds of million of years (Snowball Earth) carried out with colleagues at NASA, Goddard Institute for Space Studies in NYC. I am also involved with observational studies of asteroids in collaboration with astronomers at Mt. Wilson Observatory in California.
Dr. Rampino is currently Associate Professor of Biology with the Earth and Environmental Science Program at New York University. He received his Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from Columbia University in New York City in 1978. He has been with NYU since 1985 and is also a Research Consultant at NASA, Goddard Institute for Space Studies. From 1980 to 1985 he was an Associate Research Scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University based at the Goddard Institute, and from 1978 to 1980 he held a post-doctoral research position at Goddard under Dr. Robert Jastrow.
Consultant, NASA, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York; Editorial Board, Journal of Coastal Research; Chair (1989-1990) of the Geological Sciences Section at the New York Academy of Sciences; representative of the International Climate Commission, International Geosphere-Biosphere Project, and NOAA, Joint US-USSR Working 8 on the Environment; member of American Geophysical Union, AAAS, Geological Society of America, New York Academy of Sciences, National Association of Geology Teachers, International Association of Volcanology, Society for Sedimentary Geology, International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life
American Philosophical Society Research Award, 1988; listed in American Men and Women of Science, Who's Who in Science and Technology, and Who's Who in the World