American Rock Salt Lecture Examines a Crucial Force of Nature

Bruce W. Fouke scuba diving

Bruce W. Fouke (Photo submitted)

Geology and microbiology professor Bruce W. Fouke will deliver the 19th annual American Rock Salt Lecture in Geology on Thursday, March 23 at 7:30 p.m. at SUNY Geneseo in Newton Hall, room 202. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Fouke is the director of the Illinois Roy J. Carver Biotechnology Center and serves as the Ralph E. Grim Professor of the Department of Earth Sciences and Environmental Change at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Fouke’s lecture explores "3.8 Billion Years of Biomineralization." In order to survive, all life forms on Earth throughout geological time must respond to, and eventually control, mineral growth within the environment. This process is biomineralization, and has been an essential, unavoidable, and ubiquitous force of nature, which provides benefits (such as dinosaur teeth) as well as problems and impediments (such as kidney stones). Fouke will explore the scientific renaissance being driven by convergence of the geological, biological, and medical sciences that reframes the basic approach to tackling the grand challenges that face society regarding environmental change, energy sustainability, human health  and space exploration. 

In addition to his role as a professor and director, Fouke conducts research on geobiological studies of life-mineral-water biomineralization interactions in coral reefs (Curaçao, Australian, Vietnam), hot springs (Yellowstone), Earth’s deep subsurface (Illinois, Alaska, Scotland), Roman aqueducts (Roma Vecchia), and the human body (Mayo Clinic, ULCA Health, Northwestern Medicine).

Fouke earned his bachelor’s of science degree at Bradley University and master’s degrees at the University of Iowa and the University of Chicago. He received his PhD from Stony Brook University and completed postdoctoral appointments at the Free University Amsterdam, the University of California Berkeley, and Exobiology at NASA Ames Research Center. He was recently chosen as the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG). 

Fouke has lectured and taught in several countries. He was chosen as the Huffington Distinguished Lecturer for the Asia-Pacific Region and has also held professorships at Lund University, Sweden, and the Illinois Center for Advanced Studies and has active adjunct faculty appointments at the Thermal Biology Institute at Montana State University and the Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity Laboratory on Curaçao.

SUNY Geneseo’s Department of Geological Sciences and the American Rock Salt Company LLC has partnered on the American Rock Salt Lecture on Geology since 2004.

The lecture will also be available via Microsoft teams.  


Kris Dreessen
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