William D Carlson

William D Carlson
Professor Emeritus, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Email: wcarlson@jsg.utexas.edu
CV (pdf)

Prof. Carlson is a metamorphic petrologist and geochemist whose research focus is on the rates and mechanisms of geochemical processes in the deep crust. He joined the faculty of the UT Department of Geological Sciences in 1980, with a B.S. degree from Stanford and a Ph.D. degree from UCLA.

His early studies of mineralogical phase equilibria led into investigations of the kinetics of metamorphic reactions, in order to understand rates of equilibration and scales of disequilibrium in deep-crustal geochemical systems. Central to the success of those efforts was his development of geological applications of high-resolution X-ray computed tomography -- the equivalent of CAT-scanning of rocks, fossils, and meteorites. Along with Profs. Tim Rowe and John Kappelman, he established UTCT, the nation's first X-ray CT facility dedicated to and optimized for scanning of geological specimens; this has grown into a national shared multi-user facility that has been supported since 1999 by the National Science Foundation. For these efforts and for other achievements in mineralogical research, he was awarded the Dana Medal of the Mineralogical Society of America in 2005.

Recent highlights of research done in Carlson's group include elucidation of the atomic-scale mechanisms of porphyroblast nucleation and growth; quantification of the kinetics of metamorphic crystallization and of the departures from chemical equilibrium that accompany it; and acquisition, evaluation, and synthesis of data on mechanisms and rates of intracrystalline diffusion in aluminosilicate garnet.

Carlson's dedication to teaching of undergraduate and graduate students has produced numerous departmental teaching awards, induction into the University's Academy of Distinguished Teachers, and selection for the Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award from the University of Texas System. He was the founder of the Department's Undergraduate Honors Research Program.

He served as Chair of the Department of Geological Sciences, and as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Natural Sciences, before leading the team that created the organizational charter establishing the Jackson School of Geosciences as an autonomous college-level component of the University.

Carlson is now Professor Emeritus in Geological Sciences, having retired from his faculty position in 2014.