Professor Jim Head is the Louis and Elizabeth Scherck Distinguished Professor of Geological Sciences. He came to Brown University in 1973, following his work with the NASA Apollo program, in which he analyzed potential landing sites, studied returned lunar samples and data, and provided training for the Apollo astronauts. His current research centers on the study of the processes that form and modify the surfaces, crusts and lithospheres of planets, how these processes vary with time, and how such processes interact to produce the historical record preserved on the planets. Comparative planetology, the themes of planetary evolution, and application of these to the study of early Earth history are also of interest. He has followed up his research on volcanism, tectonism and glaciation with field studies on active volcanoes in Hawaii and at Mount St. Helens, on volcanic deposits on the seafloor with three deep sea submersible dives, and during five field seasons in the Antarctic Dry Valleys.
Since 1984, Dr. Head convenes the Vernadsky Institute/Brown University microsymposia, held twice yearly in Moscow and Houston. He has served as an investigator with NASA and Russian Space Missions, such as the Soviet Venera 15/16 and Phobos missions, and the US Magellan (Venus), Galileo (Jupiter), Mars Surveyor, Russian Mars 1996, and Space Shuttle missions.
Dr. Head is presently a co-investigator for the NASA MESSENGER mission to Mercury and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, as well as the European Space Agency’s Mars Express Mission.