Michael L. Bender

Professor of Geosciences, Emeritus
Department of Geosciences, Emeritus
Geochemistry
Phone: 
609-258-2936
Email Address: 
bender@Princeton.EDU
Assistant: 
Office Location: 
M49 Guyot Hall

Title: Professor of Geosciences, Emeritus

Position: Department of Geosciences, Emeritus

Area(s): Earth History and Geochemistry

Research Summary:   Michael Bender received a B. S. in Chemistry from Carnegie-Mellon University, where he was introduced to geochemistry by Truman Kohman. He did his Ph. D. in Geology at Columbia University with Wallace Broecker. After a brief postdoc, he moved to the Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, where he taught for 25 years. In 1997, he moved to Princeton.

Bender's research has centered on two themes. One is glacial-interglacial climate change, and the other is the global carbon cycle. Since 1984, Bender's paleoclimate research has involved measuring gas properties in ice cores to date critical climate changes of the ice ages, and to advance our understanding of changes in the biosphere on glacial-interglacial timescales. The carbon cycle research involves studies characterizing the fertility of ecosystems at the global scale, at the scale of ocean basins, and at regional to local scales within the oceans.

Much current work in Bender's lab involves making highly precise measurements of the concentration and isotopic composition of O2 in air, in seawater, and in ice core trapped gases as a means of studying both the geochronology of climate change and the carbon cycle at a range of scales. Bender's past work has also included studies of trace element assimilation by carbonate tests, seawater trace metal geochemistry, hydrothermal processes on the flanks of mid-ocean ridges, diagenesis of organic matter in deep sea sediment pore waters, and the history of the seawater Sr isotope composition.

Visit our RESEARCH LABORATORY AND PUBLICATIONS
TEACHING

GEO 102A (without lab) & GEO 102B (with lab) -
CLIMATE: PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE 

An introduction to the processes and conditions that control Earth’s climate; an overview of past climate evolution on various time scales, from the full sweep of Earth time to the period of human history; and an investigation of ongoing and predicted future climate changes, including the potential for human activities to alter climate and the impacts of climate change on environment and society. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory.  Intended for students not concentrating in science or engineering. [Bender, Sigman]

GEO 362 - EARTH’S CLIMATE HISTORY

The nature and causes of major events in Earth’s 4 billion year climate history.  The course integrates topics in stable isotope geochemistry that are fundamental to understanding surface processes, past and present.

GEO 364 - EARTH CHEMISTRY: THE
MAJOR REALMS OF THE PLANET (CHM)

History and dynamics of the core, mantle, crust, ocean and atmosphere as reflected in their geochemical properties. [Bender, Sigman]

GEO 505 - FUNDMENTALS OF THE GEOSCIENCES I

Topics include the origin and interior of the Earth, plate tectonics, geodynamics, the history of life on Earth, the composition of the Earth, its oceans and atmospheres, past climate. [See all faculty]

GEO 538 - PALEOCLIMATOLOGY

A discussion of major climatic events in Earth history and their causes. Topics include Snowball Earth, Paleozoic glaciations, warm Cretaceous climates, major climate events of the Cenozoic, and Pleistocene ice ages. We will analyze these climate events in the context of Earth's radiative balance, greenhouse warming, interactions between the atmosphere and biosphere, and modeling studies of oceans, atmosphere, and paleoclimate.

GEO 567 - GEOCHEMISTRY

A review of the chemical composition of Earth's major realms, the governing processes, & their temporal evolution. This course examines the origin & chemistry of the solar system; chemistry of the core, mantle, and oceanic crust, and continental crust; the origin and evolution of the oceans and atmosphere, the modern cycles of nutrients, carbon, and O2; and weathering. These topics review through the prisms of the theory of the origin of the solar system, geodynamics, biogeochemistry, stable isotope geochemistry, and radiogenic isotope geochemistry.

FORMER GROUP MEMBERS

Laboratory

  • Robert Mika
  • Bruce Barnett
  • Bror Jonsson
  • John Higgins
  • Kuan Huang
  • Audrey Yau

Bender's graduate mentor

  • Wallace Broecker, Columbia University

Past M.S. students

  • Francis Goloway
  • David Graham

Past Princeton Ph.D. students

  • Anne M. Gothmann *15
  • Audrey M. Yau *14
  • Kuan Huang *13
  • Gabrielle Dreyfus *08
  • Makoto Suwa *07

Past Ph.D. students

  • Robert Lorens
  • Gary Klinkhammer
  • Phillip Froelich
  • Cindy Maris
  • Jennifer Hess
  • Karen Grande
  • John Kiddon
  • Todd Sowers

Past postdoctoral research associates

  • Nicholas Cassar
  • Richard McCaffrey
  • William Martin
  • David Heggie
  • Todd Sowers
  • Edward Brook
  • Mark Battle
  • David Ho
  • Danny Sigman
  • Rachel Stanley
  • Melissa Hendricks
  • Matthew Reuer
  • Galen McKinley
  • Jan Kaiser