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Jim Zimbelman

Jim Zimbelman

James R. Zimbelman is Senior Geologist Emeritus, Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Jim has published more than 125 peer-reviewed manuscripts, geologic maps, and book chapters. He is the lead author of The Volcanoes of Mars (Elsevier, 2021) and he co-authored Dune Worlds: How windblown sand shapes planetary surfaces (Springer, 2014). He self-published a free pdf book with stories from his career which you can click here to download. He is the 2020 G. K. Gilbert Award winner from the Geological Society of America, the 2013 Ronald Greeley Distinguished Service Award winner from the Planetary Geology Division of GSA, and the 1995 Professional Achievement Award winner from Northwest Nazarene University. His research interests include analysis of high-resolution imaging data of Mars, studies of long lava flows on planetary surfaces, and planetary sand transport processes. From 2016 to 2020, he was Lead Curator for the new “Exploring the Planets” gallery at NASM (opened in 2022). He retired in 2020.

Jim holds a B.A. in Physics and Mathematics (1976) from Northwest Nazarene University, an M.S. in Geophysics and Space Physics (1978) from the University of California at Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in Geology (1984) from Arizona State University.

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