Industry-Rice Earth Science Symposia


A reliable and sustainable supply of natural resources, from hydrocarbons to the mineral resources needed to support alternative energies, is critical for sustaining a prosperous and peaceful future of the 7 billion people on our planet. While our needs for natural resources grow, we must also be responsible stewards of our environment, from our backyards to the scale of our planet. The purpose of this symposium is to break down the barriers between scientists, policy makers, industry leaders and business entrepreneurs to collectively generate a deeper understanding of our planet’s natural resources and how we can keep our planet habitable.

Dinner Keynote (Baker Institute of Public Policy)

Understanding Earth through the exploration of other planets: Mars 2020 and Rice’s planetary future

Over the past couple decades, an influx of spacecraft missions to Mars and other planetary bodies have dramatically increased our understanding of geology in extraterrestrial environments. The new findings from other worlds push us to re-evaluate our understanding of our home planet and create a paradigm where Earth is one of many examples of geologic processes. Kirsten will discuss recent findings from Mars and how they have influenced thinking on Earth, how upcoming missions like the Mars 2020 Rover will further expand our perspective, and Rice’s aspirations in planetary exploration.    

Dr. Kirsten Siebach (Rice University)

March 21, 6-8 pm

Kirsten Siebach is an Assistant Professor in the Rice University Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences. Her work focuses on understanding the history of water interacting with sediments on Mars and early Earth through analysis of sedimentary rock textures and chemistry. She is currently a member of the Science and Operations Teams for the Mars Exploration Rovers and the Mars Science Laboratory. She completed her PhD in Geology at Caltech and then did postdoctoral research in geochemistry at Stony Brook University. Prior to Caltech, she attended Washington University in St. Louis, where she graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Earth & Planetary Science and Chemistry.  She is also actively engaged in promoting education and outreach related to Earth and Planetary science and regularly presents at schools and outreach events.

Click here to purchase dinner tickets.


Day 1:  Thursday, March 21, 2019

8:00                             Registration and Coffee

8:30                              Opening Remarks

8:40                              Ken Medlock and Michelle Foss (Baker Institute’s Center for Energy Studies)

                                      Geopolitics and economics of strategic mineral resources

9:10                              Dirk Smit (VP Research Strategy, Shell Global Solutions)

                                      Opportunities for Earth Sciences and Technology in the Energy Transition

9:40                              Discussion

9:50                              Break

10:05                            Graham Lederer (United States Geological Survey)

                                      Strategic minerals

10:35                            Shandell Szabo (VP Exploration, Anadarko)

                                     Augmented Intelligence

11:05                            Cindy Yeilding (Senior VP, BP America)

                                     The energy outlook and making the energy transition

11:35                            Panel Discussion

11:50                            Lunch at Baker Institute

1:20                              Jason Czapla (Principle Engineer, Controlled Thermal Resources)

                                      Lithium extraction from Salton Sea Brines

1:50                              Sibani Lisa Biswal (Rice University, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering)

                                      Advances in Lithium-ion batteries: planning for the next generation of energy storage

2:20                            Break

2:30                            Cin-Ty Lee and Kevin Biddle (Rice University)

                                      Geology of Lithium resources

2:55                            Francis Albarede (École Normale Supérieure, Lyon, France)

                                      Ancient trade routes through the geochemical forensics of coins

3:25                            Robert Hazen (Carnegie Institution of Washington, DC)

                                     Evolution of minerals throughout Earth history

3:55                            Panel Discussion

4:10                            Poster sessions – Grand Hall, RMC

6:00                            Dinner Keynote at the Baker Institute:

                                      Kirsten Siebach (Rice University)

                                       Understanding Earth through the exploration of other planets: Mars 2020 and Rice’s planetary future

Day 2: Friday, March 22, 2019

8:00                  Coffee and Registration

8:30                  Opening Remarks

8:40                  Richard Herrington (Natural History Museum, London)

                          Geology of cobalt ores and their extraction

9:10                  Simone Runyon (U Wyoming)

                          Hydrothermal type ore deposits: a review

9:40                  A.E. (Willy) Williams-Jones (McGill University)

                          The nature and origin of rare earth element deposits, a tale of magmas and fluids

10:10                Break

10:25                Shaunna Morrison (Carnegie Institution of Washington, DC)

                          Data science in mineral exploration

10:55                Pilar Lecumberri-Sanchez (U Alberta)

                          Hydrocarbon transport of rare earth elements and other metals

11:25                Matthew Steele-MacInnes (U Alberta)

                         Ore-forming fluids

11:55                Joshua West (University of Southern California)

                          Metal cycling in the surface environment

12:25                Lunch at Baker Institute