Charles W. Burnham, Ph.D.

Professional Title: Professor of Mineralogy, Emeritus, Harvard UniversityCharles W. Burnham

S.B. Business and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1954
Ph.D. Geology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1961
A.M. Honorary, Harvard University, 1966

Email: Email Charles

Career Profile: Charlie joined the Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution of Washington following graduate school as a post-doctoral fellow (1961-63) and staff scientist (1963-66). In 1966 he joined the Department of Geological Sciences at Harvard University as Professor of Mineralogy. During his 30 years at Harvard he taught courses in mineralogy, crystallography, environmental geology, and field geology; and led first-year seminars on glaciers and ice ages. His research focused primarily on structural mineralogy. He and his students described several new minerals, including one from the moon; pioneered crystal structure studies at high temperatures and pressures; and developed computer modeling techniques that have provided insights into the energetics of a variety of complex silicate minerals. He was departmental adviser to under­graduate concentrators in geological sciences for 20 years, advised a number of undergraduate honors theses, and was a principal adviser to some 25 graduate students, many of whom now hold significant positions in major American universities. He has published numerous papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals. He is a member of AAAS, and the American Geophysical Union. He is a Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America and has served on its board of directors (1981-84), and as its president (1989).

In 1996 Charlie retired from Harvard, and moved from New England to Durango. Since then he and his wife have traveled extensively, lecturing to Harvard alumni and Museum of Natural History groups on plate tectonics, glaciers and ice ages, volcanology, paleoclimate and global warming. These travels have taken them to Alaska, Arctic Canada, Greenland, Svalbard, Patagonia, Antarctica, Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk, Kamchatka, and New Zealand.

Volunteer Affiliations and Interests: Since 1953 Charlie has been a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club, the oldest Charlie skiingmountaineering and environmental organization in the United States, now with over 75,000 members. He has served on its board of directors, and as its president (1979-80). In the 1980’s he represented AMC’s interests with the US Forest Service, and worked with other stakeholders to pass a wilderness bill for lands in the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. He is a life trustee of the Mount Washington Observatory, a meteorological observatory and research station atop New England's highest mountain peak.

An avid skier, Charlie has been an alpine ski racing official since the early 1980’s. He served as a timing official at the FIS World Championships at Vail/Beaver Creek in 1999, as a gate judge at the Calgary Olympic Winter Games in 1988, and as head gate judge at the Snowbasin venue during the Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games in 2002. He has served in several leadership positions with Rocky Mountain Ski Race Officials, Inc., and the United States Ski and Snowboard Association.