Rice’s Cin-Ty Lee wins Guggenheim Fellowship

David Ruth

Jade Boyd

Rice’s Cin-Ty Lee wins Guggenheim Fellowship

Earth scientist will study how and when continents emerged from oceans

HOUSTON — (April 7, 2017) — Rice University Earth scientist Cin-Ty Lee has won a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship to investigate how and when continents emerged from the oceans and the effect of their emergence on the evolution of whole-Earth cycling of life-giving nutrients.

Lee is one of 173 scholars, artists and scientists — and the only Earth scientist — chosen as 2017 Guggenheim Fellows. The fellows represent 49 disciplines and 64 academic institutions and were chosen from nearly 3,000 applicants. Funded by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the fellowships are awarded on the basis of achievements and exceptional promise to allow scholars to pursue their work with creative freedom.

Cin-Ty Lee

Cin-Ty Lee

Lee joined Rice in 2002 and is a professor and chair of the Department of Earth Science. He studies the compositions of rocks to reconstruct how Earth’s interior, surface, atmosphere and life have evolved over time. Specifically, his interests lie in understanding how mountains and continents form, how Earth’s deep interior has differentiated and how deep-Earth processes modulate long-term climate and Earth’s habitability.

In addition to researching the emergence and impact of continents, Lee will use the Guggenheim funding to explore crystal growth and kinetics in magmatic and hydrothermal conditions.

Lee has a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He has published more than 100 papers on a wide range of topics, including whole-Earth carbon cycling, the rise of atmospheric oxygen, the formation of ore deposits, coupling between magmatism and erosion, the temperature of Earth’s mantle and the origin of granites. He is a fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America and the Geological Society of America and has been awarded the Kuno Medal from the American Geophysical Union, the Clarke Medal from the Geochemical Society, the Donath Medal from the Geological Society of America and a Packard Fellowship.

Lee is also a world-renowned field ornithologist who spends much of his spare time painting birds and traveling the world in search of birds. He has published numerous articles on field identification of such difficult complexes as Arctic and Pacific loons, female orioles, American and Siberian pipits and dowitchers. He is currently working on a new guide to the identification of Empidonax flycatchers. He donates his paintings, teaches courses and leads field trips to benefit conservation-oriented nonprofit organizations and local schools.

Guggenheim Fellowships have been awarded annually since 1925. Each fellow is awarded a grant to help provide them with blocks of time in which they can work with as much creative freedom as possible. Grants have no special conditions attached and fellows may spend their grant funds in any manner they deem necessary to do their work.


A high-resolution IMAGE is available for download at:

CAPTION: Cin-Ty Lee (Photo by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)

This release can be found online at news.rice.edu.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews

Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,879 undergraduates and 2,861 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for happiest students and for lots of race/class interaction by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/RiceUniversityoverview.

About Jade Boyd

Jade Boyd is science editor and associate director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.