Cin-Ty Lee elected fellow of the American Geophysical Union

Cin-Ty Lee, professor and chair of Rice University’s Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences, has been elected a fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

Lee is among 62 new 2018 AGU fellows named today. AGU, a nonprofit professional and scientific society, selects fellows to honor members who have made exceptional contributions and gained prominence in their respective fields of Earth and space sciences. The society’s bylaws allow no more than 0.01 percent of its 62,000 members to be named fellows in a given year.

Cin-Ty Lee

Cin-Ty Lee

Investing in faculty to achieve preeminence elevating research achievement and recognition are goals of Rice’s Vision for the Second Century, Second Decade (V2C2).

Lee, who joined Rice in 2002, is a petrologist who uses the compositions of rocks to reconstruct how Earth’s interior, surface, atmosphere and life have evolved through time. He’s especially interested in understanding how mountains and continents form, how Earth’s deep interior has differentiated and how deep-Earth processes modulate long-term climate and habitability.

Lee’s research has shown how: the rise of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere was an inevitable consequence of the formation of continents in the presence of life and plate tectonics; a subtle chemical signature in rocks worldwide can explain continental iron depletion; ash from dinosaur-era volcanoes helped create the shale oil and gas deposits driving today’s energy boom; and the episodic flare-up of volcanoes over the past 500 million years could have driven Earth’s repeated flip-flopping between greenhouse and icehouse states. His most recent interests are in understanding the origin of strategic natural resources, such as lithium, rare earth elements and cobalt.

Lee’s prior honors include selection as a 2017 Guggenheim fellow, the AGU’s Kuno Medal, the Clarke Medal from the Geochemical Society, the Donath Medal from the Geological Society of America and a Packard Fellowship. He also is a fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America and the Geological Society of America.

AGU, which has members in 137 countries, is dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity through scholarly publications, conferences and outreach programs.

About Jade Boyd

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