Jim in the PyreneesI am a research associate and lab manager at the University of Colorado – Boulder specializing in thermochronology and tectonics and in charge of managing the day-to-day operations of the CU TRaIL (Thermochronology Research and Instrumentation Laboratory), under the direction of Professor Becky Flowers. My research uses (U-Th)/He, fission-track, and 40Ar/39Ar thermochronology to understand the thermal evolution of the lithosphere and decipher long-term patterns of exhumation, deformation, and erosion. My current research projects include ongoing work in the Basin-and-Range Province, the Pyrenees, the Colorado Rockies, and the moon. I am also involved with noble gas laboratory development and automation, (U-Th)/He technique development, and inter-laboratory calibration efforts. As an instructor I have taught a wide range of earth science classes including introductory geology, structural geology, geologic hazards, climate change, and field geology.

I am originally from the political, cultural, and intellectual capital of California (Sacramento), where my interest in science and nature was sparked and encouraged by my parents and many superb public school teachers. I earned my B.Sc. in Geology from Beloit College in 1998, my Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2006, and was was a post-doc at Syracuse University from 2006-2010. Before moving to Colorado in 2012 I was also an adjunct lecturer at Anywherethatwouldhireme College(s). In 2008 I struck out nine batters in slow-pitch IM softball, and have been part of IM championship floor hockey and soccer teams. The Cubs won the World Series in 2016. That isn’t part of my bio, I just like to make sure everyone remembers it.


“Rocks are records of events that took place at the time they formed. They are books. They have a different vocabulary, a different alphabet, but you learn how to read them.”

John McPhee