Bradley L. Jolliff

Bradley L. Jolliff

Professor of Earth and Planetary Science​s
Director of the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences
Scott Rudolph Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences
PhD, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
research interests:
  • Planetary Sciences

contact info:

mailing address:

  • Washington University
    CB 1169
    One Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

Professor Jolliff's teaching and research focus is on the Moon and Mars, the materials that make up their surfaces and interiors, and what they tell about the planet's history.

Dr. Jolliff’s research focus includes the petrologic and geochemical study of element distribution in rocks and minerals as recorders of igneous processes and petrogenetic history, with particular emphasis on lunar samples, martian materials, and terrestrial analogs. Jolliff uses the crystal chemistry and trace-element geochemistry of silicate and accessory minerals in igneous systems to understand their petrogenesis, including igneous, metamorphic, and impact processes on terrestrial planets and their evolution through time. He is also involved in remote sensing and automated in-situ determination of surface mineralogy of the Moon, Mars, and other bodies.

Jolliff is a member of the Mars Exploration Rovers operations team and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera science team. He was the principal investigator of the "MoonRise" New Frontiers mission proposal, which competed though a Phase A concept study as one of three finalists for NASA's medium-class planetary exploration mission program.

Through involvement with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera team, he investigates the surface of the Moon, relating what can be seen from orbit to what is known about the Moon through the study of Apollo and lunar meteorite samples. Through his involvement with the Mars Exploration Rovers, he investigates the mineralogy and composition of the martian surface, and alteration processes and geologic history of Mars. These investigations include a component of laboratory study to understand the compositional and phase relationships, and formation conditions among planetary materials.

Jolliff served as a member of the Inner Planets Panel, National Academy of  sciences Decadal Survey for Solar System Exploration, 2001-2002, on the Lunar & Planetary Institute Science Council for USRA, 2003 to 2005, on the Science Committee of the NASA Advisory Council from 2006 to 2009, and during various times, on the Curation and Analysis Planning Team for Extraterrestrial Materials (CAPTEM), including leading the initiative "New Views of the Moon." Jolliff received a Bachelor of Science degree from Furman University in 1977 and a Ph. D. in Geology from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technologyin 1987 after serving on active duty in the US Army from 1977 to 1982.

Recent Courses

Minerals and Rocks in the Environment (ESPc

This is a combined rock and mineral course with focus on environmental issues and applications. We will introduce and discuss mineralogic and petrologic concepts relevant to environmental geoscience topics. The course will provide fundamentals of mineralogy and crystallography, key mineral groups, and foundations of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rock systems. We will address the mineralogy of environmental systems such as soils, marine environments, mines, and radioactive wastes. The course will also provide an overview and lab demo of analysis methods used for environmental geoscience applications. We will plan a full-day field trip for one day in early April, schedules permitting.

    Scientific Exploration of the Moon (EPSc 568)

    History of scientific exploration of the Moon, focusing on science experiments and results: (1) photogeology, (2) mineralogy and lithology of Apollo samples, (3) surface and orbital geophysics, (4) petrology and origin of basalts and crustal rock suites, (5) impact craters and basins, and (6) scientific results from recent lunar missions. Synthesis of results, geologic history of the Moon, volatiles and other potential resources, and implications for planetary and Solar System history.

      First-Year Seminar "Exploring Planets: Current Missions"

      Presentation & discussion of currently active space exploration missions investigating planets in our Solar System and beyond. Each week, a different mission (or two) will be discussed, including science context and objectives, and new discoveries. We will discuss as a class why and how we explore other planets and Solar System objects. Each student will be responsible for collecting background information and leading discussion for one (or two) mission(s). Several class periods will include presentations by EPSc faculty or researchers who are active participants in a planetary mission (for example, MER, MSL, MRO, LRO, New Horizons).