Dr. Matthew M. Wielicki in the Jack Hills, Western Australia at the location where the Hadean zircons have been discovered.

Higher education

Doctor of Philosophy in Geochemistry: 2014

University of California, Los Angeles

Masters of Science in Geochemistry: 2012

University of California, Los Angeles

Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry and Cellular Biology: 2001

University of California, San Diego

PhD Details

Title: "Developing zircon as a probe of planetary impact history"

Advisors: Mark Harrison, Kevin McKeegan, Axel Schmitt, Brad Hansen, and David Kring

Enrolled August 2008; Defended July 2014; Awarded September 2014

Research & Teaching Appointments

University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa, AL

Assistant Professor (8/2016 – Present)

Teach courses in geology including (Dynamic Earth, Isotope Geochemistry, Thermochronology, Early Earth, and others), while mentoring students and maintaining an externaly funded research group specializing in conditions of early Earth during the initiation of life; constraining the amount of continental lithosphere through time; understanding the flux and timing of asteroids impacting the Earth-Moon system and the association with major extinction events;  and the evolution of the Himalaya and the Tibetan Plateau.  

UCLA - Los Angeles, CA

Postdoctoral Fellow (10/2014 – 7/2016)

 Research for NSF Continental Dynamics grant ‘Lhasa Block top to bottom – Lithospheric evolution of Asia’s leading edge.’ including two field seasons in Tibet and isotopic research (U-Pb, REE, δ18O, εHf) on zircons from granitoids collected.  Provide technical support and guidance for visitors on the CAMECA IMS1270 ion microprobe.

GameDesk Inc. - Los Angeles, CA

Geoscience consultant (2012-2016)

Provide STEM education consultation for the development of GeoMoto, a K-12 science education game platform supported by the NSF.

UCLA - Los Angeles, CA

Graduate Teaching Assistant (8/2008 – 9/2014)

Develop and manage lab activities with lecture instructors for undergraduate courses offered within the EPSS department. Teaching assistant for: EPSS 3 (Astrobiology), EPSS 8 (Earthquakes), EPSS 116 (Paleontology), EPSS 16 (Major Events in the History of Life), EPSS 101 (Earth’s Energy and Environment), EPSS 15 (Oceanography).


Adjunct Professor of Geology (8/2006 – 6/2008)

Instructor of ‘Intro to Physical Geology’, ‘Intro to Earth Science’. ‘Intro to Oceanography’, and ‘Intro to Physical Geography’ courses.  Provide lecture information and lab activities to meet CA state requirements for geology and geography at the community college level.   Create a fun and challenging learning environment for students through demanding, but engaging, exercises and individual attention and support.  Developed new online course format for Geology 9 ‘Intro to Earth Science’.

Current Science Collaborators

Bruce Fouke - Director, Roy J. Carver Biotechnology Center; Professor, Department of Geology; Professor, Department of Microbiology & Sivaguru Mayandi - Assistant Director of Core Facilities, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of illinois

Don J. DePaolo - Professor and Isotopic Geochemist, University of California, Berkeley; Associate Laboratory Director for Energy Sciences, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

Daniel F. Stockli - Professor, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas, Austin

Axel K. Schmitt - Professor, Department of Biology and Environmental Science, University Heidelberg

Dustin Trail - Assistant Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Rochester

David A. Kring - Senior Staff Scientist, USRA Lunar and Planetary Institute

Invited Presentations

March 2018. Zircon (U-Th)/He dating of terrestrial impact structures: Correlations to global climate change and mass extinction events, University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS

September 2017. Zircon (U-Th)/He dating of terrestrial impact structures: Correlations to global climate change and mass extinction events, DGS Seminar Series, Tuscaloosa, AL

March 2016. A tale of two Earths, University of Alabama - Dept. of Geological Sciences Seminar Series.

February 2014. Dating impact events with zircon. 2nd International Symposium, Earth and Life Science Institute, Tokyo, Japan.

July 2013. Impacts and Life: New Methods for Identifying Ancient Terrestrial Cratering Events. GSC-GSA First Joint Meeting. Chengdu, China.

Professional Affiliations

American Geophysical Union member (2008-present) 

Meteoritical Society member (2010-present)

Geochemical Society member (2010-present)

Honors and Awards

The Nininger Meteorite Award Honorable Mention - ASU and Center for Meteoritic Studies (2011)

TA Award (2010, 2011, 2012) – UC, Los Angeles

Eugene M. Shoemaker Impact Cratering Award (2009) – Geological Society of America

Instrumental Experience

Scanning electron microscope (SEM) – Tescan Vega-3 & LEO 1430

Electron microprobe (EMP) – JEOL 8600

Secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) – CAMECA ims1270

Laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS) – NEPTUNE

X-ray fluorescence (XRF) - PANalytical Axios & PANalytical MagiX Pro

X-ray diffraction (XRD) – PANalytical X’Pert Pro

PTX lab experience – piston-cylinder presses, cold-seal hydrothermal bombs, etc.