UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. — Susan L. Brantley, distinguished professor of geosciences and director of the Earth Environmental Systems Institute at Penn State, has been elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The 2021 class of members contains 252 new members who join the more than 13,500 members who have been elected since the Academy was founded in 1780 by the country's founders.
One of the nation's most prestigious honorary societies, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is a leading center for independent and interdisciplinary policy research. Members contribute to Academy publications and studies of science and technology policy; global security and international affairs; social policy and American institutions; and the humanities, arts and education.
Brantley's work focuses on natural and human-induced reaction among water, rock, gas, soil, and plants and animals. She studies the interaction of water and rocks both in the field and in the laboratory, including how to measure these interactions, reproduce and model them. She is a leader in critical zone science, the study of the chemical and geological processes that shape and transform the thin layer from the deepest groundwater to the tallest vegetation and the study of water-quality issues related to shale gas development in Pennsylvania.
She received a bachelor of arts in chemistry in 1980, a master of arts in geological and geophysical sciences in 1983, and a doctorate in geological and geophysical sciences in 1987, all from Princeton University. In 2006, she was elected a fellow of the American Geophysical Union. In 2012 she was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences and also in 2012 she became a fellow of the Geological Society of America, the Geochemical Society and European Association of Geochemistry, the European Association of Geochemistry, and the International Association of GeoChemistry. In 2016, she received the Wollaston Medal, one of the oldest awards in the geological sciences, given by the Geological Society of London annually since 1831.