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William F. McDonough


Ph.D. Australian National University, 1988


Phone: (301) 405-5350 (CHEM 0225)

mcdonoug [at] umd [dot] edu



Research Interests

Understanding the composition, structure and evolution of the Earth and the other terrestrial planets are dominant themes of my research. The differentiation of the Earth has created 3 separate and distinct reservoirs (i.e., the core, the mantle-crust system, and the atmosphere-hydrosphere system). These reservoirs are in turn themselves internally differentiated and powered in part by radioactively produced energy. Chemical and isotopic studies of terrestrial and meteoritic samples provide insights into the timing and details of the various differentiation processes occurring in these planetary domains.

My expertise is in analytical instrumentation and neutrino geoscience. Using laser ablation systems and plasma mass spectrometers for the chemical and isotopic analyses of samples I work with geologists, biologist, chemists, physicists and members of the US intelligence community. I am developing and improving upon methods of modeling and detecting the Earth’s geoneutrino (electron antineutrino) flux and anti-neutrino detection for nuclear monitoring. With my students we provide chemical and isotopic data that constrain geological processes and data for forensics, nuclear chemistry and archaeology.

Additional Information