About James Farquhar

James Farquhar, University of Maryland,
2014 Samuel Epstein Science Innovation Award medallist

James Farquhar is a Professor in ESSIC and the Department of Geology at the University of Maryland. After receiving a M.Sc. from the University of Chicago (1990) and a Ph.D. from the University of Alberta (1995), he was a Carnegie Postdoctoral Fellow at the Geophysical Laboratory (1995-1997) and an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at UCSD (1997-1999). In 2000 he was awarded the F. W. Clark Medal for work on oxygen and sulfur isotope anomalies in martian meteorites. In that year, he also published a paper (with Huiming Bao and Mark Thiemens) that described anomalous (mass-independent) fractionation of sulfur isotope in Earth’s early geological record, and joined the faculty of the University of Maryland in 2000. Since arriving at Maryland, Farquhar has held visiting positions/fellowships at the Biological Institute of the University of Southern Denmark, the MPI for Marine Microbiology, the Hanse Wissenschaftskolleg, the IPG of Paris, and the IAS at the University of Western Australia.

Since 2000, Farquhar and his collaborators have extended research on the geologic record of sulfur isotopes, detailing the intricate fabric of minor isotope signatures that provide evidence for changes in atmospheric chemistry, the role of biology, and the larger coupling in the sulfur cycle between the atmospheric, oceanic, crustal, and even mantle reservoirs throughout much of Earth’s history. Together with Boswell Wing, David Johnston, and Don Canfield, Farquhar’s work took a second direction that revealed how smaller magnitude isotope signatures preserved by the minor sulfur isotopes could be used to place constraints on the transformations and flow of sulfur through metabolic and biogeochemical networks where mass-dependent reactions dominate. Current work by Farquhar and his collaborators is focusing on understanding the relationship between minor sulfur isotope signatures and chemical transformations with the aim of further refining connections between observed isotopic signals in organic and inorganic sulfur compounds and the chemical and physical processes that generate them, with a specific interest in further developing the 36S system.

Farquhar received an NSF CAREER Award in 2004 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008.

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