Charles H Langmuir, Ph.D.

Charles H Langmuir, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator
Higgins Professor of Geochemistry
Director of Mineralogical and Geological Museum at Harvard University
Charles H Langmuir, Ph.D.

Charles Langmuiris a solid Earth geochemist who carries out research on diverse aspects of the plate tectonic geochemical cycle, including ocean ridges, convergent margins and intraplate volcanism. He has led or participated in 20 cruises to ocean ridges, including the first investigation of the Arctic Ocean ridge system. With Peter Huybers he has proposed close linkages between volcanism and glacial cycles both on land and undersea which has led to widespread interest and controversy ( Charlie was the principal investigator for PetDB, the pioneering geochemical data base ( He was one of the founders of the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems ("G-Cubed" ) a leading journal of the American Geophysical Union.

With Wally Broecker Charlie published How to Build a Habitable Planet (www.habitableplanet.orgwhich conveys the history of Earth from the Big Bang to humankind in a form that can be used as a textbook and also is accessible to the interested public.  The book receiced Honorable Mention for the Prose Award as one of the best Earth science books published in 2012 from the American Publishers Association.

For his scientific contributions Charlie has received the Bowen Award from the American Geophysical Union, the Arthur Holmes Medal from the European Union of Geosciences for outstanding international contributions to solid Earth science, and the Urey Medal from the European Union of Geochemistry for outstanding contributions to geochemistry over a career. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and 1998, and the National Academy of Sciences in 2006.  He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Geochemical Society.

Charlie received his B.A. from Harvard University in 1973, and Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1980. He has been at Harvard since 2002, after 20 years at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.



1973: B.A. with honors - Harvard University - History of Science and Geology
1977: M.S. - SUNY, Stony Brook, New York
1980: Ph.D. - SUNY, Stony Brook - Thesis Title: A major and trace element approach to basalts  
Thesis Advisor: G. N. Hanson


1973 - 1974: Henry Russell Shaw traveling fellowship from Harvard University
1980 - 1981: Post-doctoral fellowship from Lamont-Doherty
1983 - 1985: Alfred Sloan Research Fellow
1993: Fellow, American Geophysical Union
1996: N. L. Bowen Award, American Geophysical Union
1997: Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
1998: Daly Lecturer, American Geophysical Union
1998: Fellow, Geochemical Society and European Geochem. Soc.
2003: Arthur Holmes Medal, European Union of Geosciences
2006: Member, National Academy of Sciences


1998 - 2000 Co-founder, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
2000 - 2002 AGU Nominations Committee
2000 - 2006; Ridge 2000 Steering Committee


1981 - 1986           Assistant Professor, Lamont-Doherty Earth Obs., of Columbia University, Palisades, New York
1986 - 1988 Associate Professor, Lamont-Doherty Earth Obs.
1988 - 2002 Professor, Lamont-Doherty Geol. Obs.
1989 - 2002 Arthur D. Storke Memorial Professor, Lamont-Doherty
1989 - 1990 Visiting Scientist, Institut de Physique du Globe, Paris
2002 - 2003 Visiting Scientist, Institut de Physique du Globe, Paris
2002 - Professor of Geochemistry, Harvard University


1984      R/V Kana Keoki         Izu volcanic arc and back-arc rifts (Petrologist)
1985      R/V New Horizon       East Pacific Rise : 6°-13° N (Co-Chief Scientist - CHEPR)
1985      R/V Knorr                  Mid-Atlantic Ridge : Kane Fracture Zone (Chief for petrology program)
1987      R/V Oceanus             Mid-Atlantic Ridge : 26°-32°N (Chief for petrology program)
1987      R/V Atlantis II/Alvin    Bonin back-arc rifts (Petrologist)
1989      R/V T. Washington      E.Pacific Rise (Co-Chief Scientist - VENTURE)
1991      R/V Atalante              Mid-Atlantic Ridge (Petrologist - Project SIGMA)
1992      R/V Atlantis II            Mid-Atlantic Ridge, 32°41°N (Chief Scientist - FAZAR)
1993      R/V Atlantis II/Alvin    Lucky Strike Hydrothermal Site (Chief Scientist)
1993      R/V Hakuko-Maru       Indian Ocean Triple Junction (Petrologist)
1997      R/V Melville               East Pacific Rise (Chief Scientist - OROZCO)
2001      USCGC Healy            Gakkel Ridge, Arctic Ocean, Principal Investigator
2004      R/V Kilo Moana          Lau Basin, South Pacific, Principal Investigator
2012      R/V Knorr                  Mid-Atlantic Ridge : Kane Fracture Zone (Chief Scientist)