Faculty Profile

Benjamin Edwards

Professor of Earth Sciences (2002)

Contact Information


Kaufman Building Room 142


His research foci are glaciovolcanism (interactions between volcanoes and ice, including the formation of pillow lava and cooling joints), petrological imaging of lithospheric stratigraphy (using xenoliths from Neogene to Recent volcanoes in the North American Cordillera), and applications of theoretical models for understanding the transport and crystallization of silicate melts. His other interests include mineralogy, environmental hazards, the history of science, and the influence of plate tectonics on almost everything. His current research involves taking students to places like Monterrat (West Indies) to study xenoliths and volcanic stratigraphy, Iceland to study volcano-ice interactions, and northern British Columbia to map and collect samples of volcanic deposits, especially from volcanoes that erupted beneath or against ice.


  • B.A., Carleton College, 1989
  • M.S., University of Wyoming, 1993
  • Ph.D., University of British Columbia, 1997

2016-2017 Academic Year

Fall 2016

FYSM 100 First-Year Seminar
The First-Year Seminar (FYS) introduces students to Dickinson as a "community of inquiry" by developing habits of mind essential to liberal learning. Through the study of a compelling issue or broad topic chosen by their faculty member, students will: - Critically analyze information and ideas - Examine issues from multiple perspectives - Discuss, debate and defend ideas, including one's own views, with clarity and reason - Develop discernment, facility and ethical responsibility in using information, and - Create clear academic writing The small group seminar format of this course promotes discussion and interaction among students and their professor. In addition, the professor serves as students' initial academic advisor. This course does not duplicate in content any other course in the curriculum and may not be used to fulfill any other graduation requirement.

ERSC 205 Introduction to Soil Science
This course focuses on giving students a basic understanding of soil formation processes and field/laboratory characterization of soils. Emphasis in the first part of the course will be on soil formation processes, while the second part of the course will focus on students conducting experiments relevant to soil formation. Weather permitting most labs will have an out-of-doors component. This course is an elective for the Earth Sciences major, and will be useful to students interested in the food studies certificate program, agricultural science, archeology, environmental science, forensic science, planetary science, and solid state chemistry and physics.Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. Prerequisie: one introductory lab science or permission of instructor.