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Penelope J. Boston
Professor of Cave and Karst Science

Associate Chair of Earth & Environmental Science
Director, Cave and Karst Studies
Dept of Earth & Environmental Science
New Mexico Tech, Socorro, NM 87801

Office: MSEC 336
Phone: (575) 835-5657
Fax: (575) 835-6436
Email: pboston at

BA, MS, PhD University of Colorado, Boulder (1985)

Why I became a scientist -- PBS video

My areas of research include cave geomicrobiology, microbial life in highly mineralized environments, unique or characteristic biominerals and biosignature detection. Additionally, I am involved in astrobiology and the search for life beyond Earth. Cave formation mechanisms on other planetary bodies is a topic of particular interest to me. My background includes geology, microbiology, atmospheric chemistry, global biogeochemical cycling, and climate/life interactions.

I head the Cave and Karst Studies Program, in conjunction with the National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI), of which I am the Associate Director (Academics). NMT is the major academic partner with this national institute.

I am passionate about and extensively involved in educational outreach about caves and karst issues, space exploration, and general science for school kids, older students, elder groups, and the general public.



Spaceship Earth Living and Learning Community (LLC) Debuts Fall 2012

Are you an incoming freshman at NMT? Joining a Living and Learning Community can provide you with enormous benefits both educational, social, and professional. Modern science and engineering is a collaborative enterprise that typically involves groups of individuals working together to solve a common problem or design a device, system, or software. Learning to work in highly creative groups is a valuable skill that cannot be learned too early in one's career. The LLC also provides a social setting that encourages students to excel and to make connections with other students in a very easy and natural way.

Research on real scientific questions at the Freshman level is a central and critical concept of the LLC. Students will be engaging in research projects involving lab work, field work, modeling, and other research activities immediately. The Spaceship Earth research component takes both semesters of the Freshman academic year.

Fall: ERTH 130 (Spaceship Earth), ERTH 130L (Spaceship Earth Research Lab); Chem 121 (Gen Chem I)

Spring: XXX (TBD) (English), Chem 122 (Gen Chem II)


Environmental Science, Earth Science, Biology, Physics, Math and Chemistry majors are encouraged to apply. For more information on LLC at NMT, check out this link.


Created: ( Wednesday, 27 April 2011 09:23 )
Last Updated: ( Wednesday, 25 June 2014 09:36 )
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