Lindy Elkins-Tanton

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Lindy Elkins-Tanton
Lindy Elkins-Tanton (NHQ201812310038).jpg
Alma materMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Known forDirector, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) of the Carnegie Institution for Science; Director, School of Earth and Space Science, Arizona State University
Scientific career
FieldsPlanetary Science
InstitutionsSchool of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University; Carnegie Institution for Science; Brown University; St. Mary's College of Maryland
Doctoral advisorsTimothy L. Grove, Bradford H. Hager

Lindy Elkins-Tanton is a planetary scientist and professor[1] with expertise in planet formation and evolution. She is the Director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe, Arizona, and the Principal Investigator of NASA's Psyche mission to explore the metallic asteroid 16 Psyche.


Dr. Elkins-Tanton earned her B.S. in geology, M.S. in geochemistry, and Ph.D. in geology, all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She was a professor at MIT, a research scientist at Brown University, and a lecturer at St. Mary's College of Maryland, and worked in the business world for a number of years. Within 10 years of completing her Ph.D. and serving as an associate professor in geology at MIT, she was recruited to the directorship position at Carnegie's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism. She became the Director of Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Science on July 1, 2014.[2]

Elkins-Tanton is the Principal Investigator of NASA's Psyche mission to explore the metallic asteroid 16 Psyche. On January 4, 2017, NASA announced the mission had been selected to proceed to mission formulation. The mission will launch in the summer of 2022 and arrive at the asteroid in 2026 with a Mars gravity assist in 2023.[3][4] Elkins-Tanton is the second woman to lead a NASA mission to a major solar system body.[5]

Elkins-Tanton is also a Founder of and the Higher Education Lead for Beagle Learning, which provides software tools and coaching that make exploration-based learning techniques accessible.[6]

Awards and honors[edit]

Elkins-Tanton was twice named a National Academy of Sciences Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow. She was awarded a five-year National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2008 and was named Outstanding MIT Faculty Undergraduate Research Mentor in 2009.[7] In 2010, she was awarded the Explorers Club Lowell Thomas prize for Exploring Extinction.[8] In 2013, she was named an Astor Fellow at the University of Oxford hosted by Tamsin Mather. In 2016 she was named a fellow of the American Geophysical Union. In 2020 she was awarded the Arthur L. Day Prize and Lectureship. [9] In addition to these prestigious honors, Asteroid 8252 Elkins-Tanton was named after her.[10]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Elkins-Tanton, Linda (2010). The Solar System Six-Volume Set. Facts on File. ISBN 978-0-8160-8347-3.
  • Elkins-Tanton, Linda; Schmidt, Anja; Fristad, Kirsten (2015). Volcanism and Global Environmental Change. Cambridge University Press. p. 310. ISBN 978-1107058378.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]