I am interested in understanding the evolutionary, tectonic, geodynamic, and geophysical processes of planetary bodies. My work includes analyses of altimetry, gravity, geomorphology, and tectonics to determine the structure, surface, and atmospheric and internal evolution of these bodies.
I earned my B.S.E. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2006 and subsequently a M.S. in Geobiology and PhD in Planetary Geophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2013. In addition to his research, I have a strong commitment to public service and legislative advocacy, as illustrated through my previously held leadership roles in student government and nonprofit organizations, including as the President and CEO of the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS). Through these roles, I have gained significant experience in non-profit management as well as legislative policy and advocacy at the state and federal levels.
|Evans, A. J. "The GRAIL Mission." Encyclopedia of Lunar Science, edited by Brian Cudnik, Springer International Publishing, 2021.|
|Evans, Alexander J., Andrews-Hanna, Jeffrey C., Head, James W., Soderblom, Jason M., Solomon, Sean C., Zuber, Maria T. "Reexamination of Early Lunar Chronology With GRAIL Data: Terranes, Basins, and Impact Fluxes." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, vol. 123, no. 7, 2018, pp. 1596-1617.|
|Evans, Alexander J., Tikoo, Sonia M., Andrews-Hanna, Jeffrey C. "The Case Against an Early Lunar Dynamo Powered by Core Convection." Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 45, no. 1, 2018, pp. 98-107.|
|Evans, Alexander J., Soderblom, Jason M., Andrews-Hanna, Jeffrey C., Solomon, Sean C., Zuber, Maria T. "Identification of buried lunar impact craters from GRAIL data and implications for the nearside maria." Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 43, no. 6, 2016, pp. 2445-2455.|
|Byrne, Paul K., Ostrach, Lillian R., Fassett, Caleb I., Chapman, Clark R., Denevi, Brett W., Evans, Alexander J., Klimczak, Christian, Banks, Maria E., Head, James W., Solomon, Sean C. "Widespread effusive volcanism on Mercury likely ended by about 3.5 Ga." Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 43, no. 14, 2016, pp. 7408-7416.|
|Soderblom, Jason M., Evans, Alexander J., Johnson, Brandon C., Melosh, H. Jay, Miljković, Katarina, Phillips, Roger J., Andrews-Hanna, Jeffrey C., Bierson, Carver J., Head, James W., Milbury, Colleen, Neumann, Gregory A., Nimmo, Francis, Smith, David E., Solomon, Sean C., Sori, Michael M., Wieczorek, Mark A., Zuber, Maria T. "The fractured Moon: Production and saturation of porosity in the lunar highlands from impact cratering." Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 42, no. 17, 2015, pp. 6939-6944.|
|Evans, A. J., Zuber, M. T., Weiss, B. P., Tikoo, S. M. "A wet, heterogeneous lunar interior: Lower mantle and core dynamo evolution." Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, vol. 119, no. 5, 2014, pp. 1061-1077.|
|Bosak, T., Liang, B., Wu, T.-D., Templer, S. P., Evans, A., Vali, H., Guerquin-Kern, J.-L., Klepac-Ceraj, V., Sim, M. S., Mui, J. "Cyanobacterial diversity and activity in modern conical microbialites." Geobiology, vol. 10, no. 5, 2012, pp. 384-401.|
|Sim, Min Sub, Liang, Biqing, Petroff, Alexander P., Evans, Alexander, Klepac-Ceraj, Vanja, Flannery, David T., Walter, Malcolm R., Bosak, Tanja. "Oxygen-Dependent Morphogenesis of Modern Clumped Photosynthetic Mats and Implications for the Archean Stromatolite Record." Geosciences, vol. 2, no. 4, 2012, pp. 235-259.|
|Evans, A. J., Andrews-Hanna, J. C., Zuber, M. T. "Geophysical limitations on the erosion history within Arabia Terra." Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 115, no. E5, 2010.|
|Sturm II, E. J., M. Deutsch, C. Harmon, R. Nakagawat, R. Kinsey, N. Lopez, P. Kurdle, and A. J. Evans. "Mission Options Scoping Tool for Mars Orbiters: Mass-Cost Calculator." National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2007, pp. 14.|
I am interested in understanding the evolutionary, tectonic, geodynamic, and geophysical processes of planetary bodies. My work includes analyses of altimetry, gravity, geomorphology, and tectonics to determine the structure, surface, and atmospheric and internal evolution of these bodies. Thus far, my research has focused on the investigation of the Earth, Moon, Mercury and Mars. Additionally, I have also been involved in the design, development, and implementation of planetary exploration missions.
Examples of Alex’s research can be found here. >>
In my research, I seek to couple computational modeling and observational data to elucidate the complex histories of planetary interiors and surfaces. To that end, my research is concentrated in three distinct, yet interrelated focus areas, as described below.
First, with the exception of Earth, the absence of reliable seismic data poses a challenge in determining the internal structure and composition of solid planetary bodies. Nevertheless, gravity data can be used to provide insight into their internal mass distributions and physical states. In concert with observational datasets, I am interested in understanding the internal dynamics of planetary bodies to deduce the mantle and core evolutionary, compositional, and thermal histories. Observational data paired with modeling can provide unparalleled insight into the development of planetary bodies and can be reconciled with known processes (e.g., cooling, crustal formation, magma ocean formation).
Second, in the absence of continual and prevalent modification, the surfaces of the solid planetary bodies can chronicle the influential mechanisms and processes responsible for their present physiographic and internal states. In using planetary mission data, I am working to decipher such mechanisms and processes in order to illuminate the geodynamic, compositional, thermal, and chronological evolution of planetary bodies.
Third, to address one of the major mysteries of planetary science – the possible existence of extraterrestrial life – I aim to characterize the environments and conditions on planetary bodies that are or may have been conducive to the evolution of life. The first aspect of this focus area emphasizes the potential mechanisms and processes responsible for water loss and refines estimates of initial and present-day water inventories for the inner planets. The significance of water is three-fold: (1) water (hydrogen) enrichment in planetary mantles, even in small concentrations, can considerably influence melting, convection, and secular cooling; (2) surface water can have an enduring effect on planetary geomorphology; and, as it pertains to life, (3) water is a necessary ingredient for known life and its origin and availability in the early Solar System place an important constraint on environments capable of sustaining life. For the second aspect of this focus area, I plan to use my background in geobiology to characterize the available metabolic pathways that would be available on planetary bodies, especially the icy bodies of the outer Solar System.
In each of the aforementioned research areas, I couple the planetary mission data with modeling to enhance understanding of planetary evolution. My work capitalizes on planetary mission data to provide greater insight into the evolution of planetary interiors, the mechanisms and processes operating on planetary surfaces, and the planetary environments capable of sustaining life.
|2013||MS||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|2013||PhD||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|2006||BS||University of Michigan Ann Arbor|
|Postdoctoral Research Associate||University of Arizona, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL)||2017-2018||Tucson, Arizona, United States|
|Postdoctoral Researcher||Southwest Research Institute (SWRI), Planetary Science Directorate||2016-2017||Boulder, Colorado, United States|
|Postdoctoral Research Associate||Colorado School of Mines, Department of Geophysics||2015-2016||Golden, Colorado, United States|
|Postdoctoral Research Scientist/Provost Research Fellow||Columbia University, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory||2013-2015||Palisades, New York, USA|
Columbia University, Provost’s Postdoctoral Research Scholar, 2013
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Presidential Fellow Award, 2007
|Ibarra, Daniel||Assistant Professor of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences and Environment and Society|
|Johnson, Alexandria||Assistant Professor of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences (Research)|
|Johnson, Brandon||Assistant Professor of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences|
Alex is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Brown University. Prior to joining Brown, Alex worked as a postdoctoral research associate with Professor Jeffrey C. Andrews-Hanna at the University of Arizona – Lunar & Planetary Laboratory (LPL) (transferred from Southwest Research Institute and Colorado School of Mines) investigating the surface and interior of planetary bodies using data from planetary missions, such as GRAIL and LRO. He also held a Postdoctoral Research Scientist position at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO), a research unit of Columbia University, where he worked with Director Sean Solomon on investigating interiors and surfaces of Mercury and the Moon on the MESSENGER, GRAIL, and LRO missions. Prior to joining LDEO, Alex was a postdoctoral research associate and graduate student in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) working with Professor Maria T. Zuber on the GRAIL & LRO missions. In 2013, he completed his Ph.D. in Planetary Geophysics and Geodynamics at MIT under the direction of Professor Maria T. Zuber. Alex’s thesis research covered investigations of Martian crustal evolution, lava-flooded craters on the Moon, and the influence of water in the early thermal history of the Moon using data from past and current NASA missions.
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
International Music by Women Festival
My pedagogical philosophy is grounded in my student experience and previous roles as a teaching assistant, lecturer, mentor, and advisor. My philosophy is founded on the ideal that a comprehensive teaching approach should address a diversity of learning styles, intellectually challenge students, and promote intellectual curiosity. From teaching general science to advanced microbiology and geophysics in one-on-one, laboratory, classroom, and in-the-field settings, I believe it is not only the goal of a teacher to instruct on core content, but more: (1) to enable students to apply concepts within and beyond the scope presented via instruction; (2) to empower students to be intellectually rigorous, especially with regard to underlying assumptions and limitations; and, (3) to promote learning by providing a forum for students to synthesize the relevant concepts.
|EEPS 1810 - Physics of Planetary Evolution|
|GEOL 1950H - Gravitational Fields and Data Analyses|
|GEOL 2400 - Life Beyond Earth|
|GEOL 2910H - Geophysics of the Inner Solar System|