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Blair Schoene - About Me


October 2018: Our new paper, published in Geochemical Perspective Letters, demonstrates a new, less sobujective, method of calculating volcanic eruption ages from high-precision U-Pb zircon geochronologic data. Brenhin Keller has made the software, written in both julia and C, freely available. He also includes on his site, as part of Chron.jl, software for carrying out Bayesian modeling useful for generating age models in stratigraphic sections given geochronologic data and uncertainties. This model is similar to previous approaches for age modeling, but here can be run in tandem with the zircon age distribution modeling highlighted in the paper.

September 2018: Grad student Jenn Kasbohm just published her work dating the Columbia River Basalts in Science Advances. Here's a link to the Princeton Press Release, which was also picked up by various news sites, such as Science Daily and

February 2018: Check out the new textbook, to which I contributed a chapter on U-Th-Pb geochronology, entitled Geochronology and Thermochronology, by Peter Reiners et al., published by AGU and Wiley. On Amazon here.

November 2017:  Postdoc Ayla Pamukçu has sadly left us to another postdoc at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, following a couple months in the field in Antarctica and New Zealand.  We all benefited from Ayla's skills, knowledge, and ethusiasm.  All the best on your next adventure!

August 2017:  Former postdoc Mélanie Barboni has been a) awarded the Paul Niggli Medal (Switzerland), b) featured in a number of articles and short films about her hummingbird obsession, and c) given a faculty position at ASU. Congrats on all!

January 2017: Congrats to Dr. Kyle Samperton for a successful thesis defense!  He's off to Lawrence Livermore National Lab as a research scientist in the isotope group.  

January 2017:  Former postdoc Mélanie Barboni dated a bunch of zircons from Apollo missions to the moon in the Princeton lab.  First paper just published in Science Advances. Check it out HERE.

It's getting some press too:

New York Post

ABC online

November 2016: Welcome (back) new postdoc Mike Eddy to the Princeton lab.  Mike was Schoene's first advisee as an undergraduate ('11), just finished his PhD at MIT, and is coming back to do a postdoc

September 2016:  Congratulations to Dr. Brenhin Keller for finishing his PhD! He's off to UC Berkeley to start a postdoc.

January 14 2016:  Schoene is promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure!

Fall 2016: Welcome Ayla Pamukcu, the department's new Hess Postdoctoral Fellow, to the radiogenic isotope lab!

December 28 2015: Bring in the new year with our EOS piece that summarizes the findings of an NSF sponsored inquiry into the state of geochronology in the US, published in full last February (see news below).  

July 2015: Tired of that old Taxi Driver poster on your wall left over from your freshman dorm room?  Why not upgrade to this poster, which outlines the traceability of U-Pb geochronology to SI units.  It is related to our recent papers published in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta (Condon et al., and McLean et al., found on publication page)

July 2015: I've recently joined the editorial staff at Science Advances, a new journal put out by AAAS, the publishers of Science.  Submit your best work here!

February 25 2015: I've been part of an NSF funded team charged with the task of putting together a report characterizing the status of geochronology in the US with a vision to the future.  It's done, and you can download it here

December 11 2014: Check out the news stories related to our new paper on geochronology of the Deccan traps and the relationship to the dino-die-off:

Radio interviews on Canadian Broadcasting's Quirks&Quarks and on WHYY Philadelphia (NPR).

Princeton press release

Write up in Science

Opinion piece in the New York Times

News story in the Washington Post

Another story in Science News

Article in Live Science coverage

MIT news office press release

Wall Street Journal: India

NFL News!!

summary in Decoded Science

And many many more (with variable degrees of accuracy):  [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] 

November 2014: Check out the youtube channel featuring all the keynote talks for the recent Pardee symposium at GSA in Vancouver in October, featuring a talk by yours truly on the geochronology of mass extinction events.  Click here

September 2014: Congrats to group member Jon Husson for defending his PhD!!

January 2014: Read the news blurb on our recent trip to the Deccan traps in India.

March 2013:  Schoene announced winner of the F.W. Clarke award by the Geochemical society!

May 24th 2012:  See the press associated with the recent paper by Brenhin Keller and myself released today in Nature: 

Princeton University press release: click here

Nature News and Views by Bill White:  click here

National Geographic: click here  click here

ScienceDaily: click here

Futurity: click here

And many more!

April 2012See article in Geosciences news about the completion of the radiogenic isotopes lab!  After a long haul, the lab is now running smoothly and we're measuring U-Pb zircon analyses with sub-picogram blanks.  Stay tuned for a full length article in the next addition of the Geosciences newsletter, The Smilodon.

Short bio for Blair Schoene

I started as assistant professor in Geosciences at Princeton in the fall of 2009. This was following a 3-year post-doc in Geneva, Switzerland, where I was working in Urs Schaltegger's istope geochemistry lab, studying the rates and causes of the end-Triassic mass extinction event. This involved U-Pb zircon geochronology, which I also applied to understanding magmatic processes in the Eocene Adamello batholith, in northern Italy. I defended my Ph.D in the department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT in 2006, where I worked with Sam Bowring on applying structural geology, geochemistry, numerical modeling and geo- and thermochronology towards understanding Mesoarchean craton construction and stabilization. I got a B.A. in geology from the Colorado College in 1999, where I also spent some time teaching in 1999-2000 and 2006.

My interest in the Earth Sciences began as a love for the outdoors, usually manifested as some form of extreme or not-so-extreme sport. Later I learned to make observations from the microscopic to global scale to learn about the past and current evolution of our planet. Radiogenic isotope geology is crucial in calibrating the absolute rates of these processes and to seamlessly piece together the sequence of Earth history. I run a radiogenic isotope geology lab on the second floor of Guyot Hall, which hosts world-class mineral characterization and clean room facilities and a IsotopX PhoeniX62 Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometer. We focus on high-precision U-Pb geo- and thermochronology, Sm-Nd and Rb-Sr isotope tracing, and may eventually dive into U-series tracing and dating. We apply these techniques to high-precision geochronology of magmatic systems with the goal of understanding how continental crust is made, to dating ash beds for the purposes of understanding the interaction between the solid earth, the ocean-atmosphere system, and the evolution of life, and for using radiogenic isotopes as tracers for carbonates and silicate phases.