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Elizabeth Niespolo, Assistant Professor of Geosciences

Research Summary:  Niespolo combines field work with applications in isotope geochemistry to anchor climatic, fossil, and archaeological records to precise timescales and in relation to environmental changes. The “tool kit” of her group emphasizes radioisotopic dating with additional activities in light stable isotope geochemistry, petrology, field geology, and archaeological excavation. A major focus of her research addresses outstanding questions on the timing and tempo of human evolution, including the development of modern human behaviors and the timing of global-scale human colonization. Other research foci include using petrology and isotopes to understand paleoenvironments, crustal processes, development of new isotopic applications, and in situ measurements to investigate geochemical heterogeneity in natural materials. Niespolo is setting up a laser ablation ICP-MS and U-series geochronology laboratory at Princeton.

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Elizabeth Niespolo
Assistant Professor
of Geosciences

Biography:  Elizabeth Niespolo is an Assistant Professor in Geosciences. She is also Associated Faculty of the High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI), a member of the Executive Committee for the Certificate in Archaeology program (Art & Archaeology), and is a Research Associate with the Human Evolution Research Institute (HERI) based at the University of Cape Town (South Africa). Elizabeth completed her undergraduate study (2009) at the University of California Berkeley with a double major in Astrophysics and Classics. After traveling for field work, and teaching, she returned to school to complete a M.S. (2014) in Geology at California State University Long Beach and a Ph.D. (2019) in Earth & Planetary Science at Berkeley. She is from Oakland, California

Related News: 

What Dinosaur eggshells can teach us about forgotten ecosystems Princeton Research (2022)

Discarded ostrich shells provide timeline for our early African ancestorsThe Leakey Foundation (2021)

How a geochronologist learns to “read rocks,” The Human Evolution Research Institute (HERI) at the University of Cape Town (UCT) (2020)

In The News

What can brittle stars tell us about the response of marine species to climate warming?
March 3, 2023
Author
Written by Tom Garlinghouse, for High Meadows Environmental Institute

A recent study conducted on coral reefs along the coast of Panama is helping to shed light on how marine species are impacted by an increasingly warming planet. The results of this study have implications for the diverse marine animals that live in coral reefs and may help scientists better understand the complex dynamic between climate change and ecosystems. (Deutsch mention)

Makoto Suwa *07 has been selected as an astronaut by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
March 1, 2023
Author
Written by The Department of Geosciences

Geosciences Ph.D. graduate, Makoto Suwa *07, has been selected as an astronaut by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Princeton on ice: Documenting climate change at the ends of the Earth
Feb. 28, 2023
Author
Written by Liz Fuller-Wright and Denise Valenti, Office of Communications

“Three and a half million years ago, Earth’s climate was warmer than today’s by about 2 degrees — just what we’re worried about in the next half century,” said climate scientist John Higgins, an associate professor of geosciences at Princeton. 

Ching-Yao Lai, and others, awarded NSF-NERC grant to pursue research on melting ice sheets in Greenland
Feb. 27, 2023
Author
Written by The Department of Geosciences

In February 2023, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.K. Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) awarded Ching-Yao Lai, Assistant Professor of Geosciences and Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Prof. Leigh Stearns (KU), Prof. Laura Stevens (OXFORD) and Prof. Ian Hewitt (OXFORD) a collaborative grant to pursue research in surface-to-bed meltwater pathways across the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Jie Deng, and others, selected for inclusion in the APS "Physical Review B" Editor’s Suggestion and Outreach-to-the-Press
Feb. 23, 2023
Author
Written by The Department of Geosciences

On January 20, 2023, American Physical Society (APS) notified Assistant Professor of Geosciences, Jie Deng, that his journal article “Melting of MgSiO3 determined by machine-learned potentials" has been selected for the Physical Review B (PRB) Editors’ Suggestion, as well as their Outreach-to-the-Press program.

Viral Tweet Misrepresents NOAA Report on Rising Global Temperature
Jan. 27, 2023
Author
Written by Saranac Hale Spencer, FactCheck.org

The warming trend in global temperature continued in 2022, which was the sixth-warmest year on record, according to a recent report from the NOAA. But a viral tweet — using just a small segment of a NOAA graph — wrongly claimed the agency had announced a “global cooling” trend. Professor of geosciences Gabriel Vecchi explains…

Congratulations to Dr. John Geary Murphy for successfully defending his Ph.D. thesis
Jan. 24, 2023
Author
Written by The Department of Geosciences

Congratulations to Dr. John Geary Murphy on successfully defending her Ph.D. thesis! The title of his thesis was "Carbonate Archives of Seawater Lithium: Element and Isotope Ratios, Diagenesis, and the History of Seawater Chemistry."

Congratulations to Dr. Xuyuan Ellen Ai for successfully defending her Ph.D. Thesis
Jan. 24, 2023
Author
Written by The Department of Geosciences

Congratulations to Dr. Ellen Ai on successfully defending her Ph.D. thesis! The title of her thesis was "On the Role of the Southern Ocean in the Glacial-Interglacial Cycles of the Past 460,000 Years: Changes in Wind-Driven Upwelling and Ocean Front Position Revealed by Reconstructed Surface Ocean Nutrient Conditions and Temperatures."

Bering Land Bridge formed surprisingly late during last ice age
Dec. 27, 2022
Author
Written by Alaina O'Regan, Office of the Dean for Research

Princeton scientists found that the Bering Land Bridge, the strip of land that once connected Asia to Alaska, emerged far later during the last ice age than previously thought. (Sigman, Farmer, Pico ’14 mention)


 

More recent articles

What can brittle stars tell us about the response of marine species to climate warming?
March 3, 2023
Author
Written by Tom Garlinghouse, for High Meadows Environmental Institute

A recent study conducted on coral reefs along the coast of Panama is helping to shed light on how marine species are impacted by an increasingly warming planet. The results of this study have implications for the diverse marine animals that live in coral reefs and may help scientists better understand the complex dynamic between climate change and ecosystems. (Deutsch mention)

Makoto Suwa *07 has been selected as an astronaut by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
March 1, 2023
Author
Written by The Department of Geosciences

Geosciences Ph.D. graduate, Makoto Suwa *07, has been selected as an astronaut by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Princeton on ice: Documenting climate change at the ends of the Earth
Feb. 28, 2023
Author
Written by Liz Fuller-Wright and Denise Valenti, Office of Communications

“Three and a half million years ago, Earth’s climate was warmer than today’s by about 2 degrees — just what we’re worried about in the next half century,” said climate scientist John Higgins, an associate professor of geosciences at Princeton. 

Ching-Yao Lai, and others, awarded NSF-NERC grant to pursue research on melting ice sheets in Greenland
Feb. 27, 2023
Author
Written by The Department of Geosciences

In February 2023, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.K. Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) awarded Ching-Yao Lai, Assistant Professor of Geosciences and Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Prof. Leigh Stearns (KU), Prof. Laura Stevens (OXFORD) and Prof. Ian Hewitt (OXFORD) a collaborative grant to pursue research in surface-to-bed meltwater pathways across the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Jie Deng, and others, selected for inclusion in the APS "Physical Review B" Editor’s Suggestion and Outreach-to-the-Press
Feb. 23, 2023
Author
Written by The Department of Geosciences

On January 20, 2023, American Physical Society (APS) notified Assistant Professor of Geosciences, Jie Deng, that his journal article “Melting of MgSiO3 determined by machine-learned potentials" has been selected for the Physical Review B (PRB) Editors’ Suggestion, as well as their Outreach-to-the-Press program.