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Faculty Spotlight

Professor John A. Higgins

Title: Associate Professor of Geosciences

Research Areas:

Professor John Higgins' primary research interest is the evolution of the carbon cycle and the global climate system over Earth history.  One focus has been on processes that control the chemical composition of seawater, and how those processes have changed on geologic timescales.  Another is how on the chemistry of carbonate sediments is affected by processes that occur post-deposition.  These include early diagenetic recrystallization, dolomitization and hydrothermal alteration.  The tools Prof. Higgins has employed to study these include numerical models of chemical and isotopic biogeochemical cycles, as well as analysis of traditional stable isotopes of oxygen and carbon, and new isotope systems such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium.

Higgins Research Laboratory

John A. Higgns, Associate Professor of Geosciences


Upcoming Semester - SPRING 2021

GEO 360 / ENV 356 - Geochemistry of the Human Environment
Humans have profoundly altered the chemistry of Earth's air, water, and soil. This course explores these changes with an emphasis on the analytical techniques used to measure the human impact. Topics include the accumulation of greenhouse gases (CO2 and CH4) in Earth's atmosphere and the contamination of drinking water at the tap and in the ground. Students will get hands on training in mass spectrometry and spectroscopy to determine the chemical composition of air, water, and soil and will participate in an outreach project aimed at providing chemical analyses of urban tap waters to residents of Trenton, NJ.

Past Semesters

GEO 203 - Fundamentals of the solid Earth
GEO 360 / ENV 356 Geochemistry of the Human Environment Class
GEO 362 / ENV 362  Earth History
GEO 534 - Geological Constraints on the Global Carbon Cycle



In The News



More recent articles

Wednesday, Aug 19, 2020
by The Office of Communication

In collaboration with researchers at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, the University of Buffalo, MIT and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Center for Matter at Atomic Pressures (CMAP), with total funding of $12.96 million over five years spread over the participating institutions, will use high-...

Wednesday, Jul 29, 2020

Princeton’s vital research across the spectrum of environmental issues is today and will continue to be pivotal to solving some of humanity’s toughest problems. Our impact is built on a long, deep, broad legacy of personal commitment, intellectual leadership, perseverance and innovation.

Monday, Jul 20, 2020
On March 31, 2020, the National Science Foundation (NSF) contacted graduate student Devan Nisson to convey that she is a recipient of a 2020 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. This program recognizes and supports graduate students who are pursuing full-time research-based doctoral degrees in science, technology,...
Friday, Jul 10, 2020

The Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) has selected GEO graduate student Zachary Garvin to be one of the four recipients to receive a 2020 Walbridge Fund Graduate Award for Environmental Research.

Tuesday, Jul 7, 2020

Most people only hear about seismometers in the context of big earthquakes or volcanoes, but the sensitive instruments detect much gentler movements as well.