Bradley L. Jolliff

Bradley L. Jolliff

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

contact info:

mailing address:

  • MSC 1169-204-110
    Washington University in St. Louis
    1 Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

Professor Jolliff's teaching and research activities focus on the study of minerals and rocks of the Earth, Moon, Mars, and meteorites, and what they reveal about conditions of formation and planetary processes over the past 4.5 billion years.

Professor Jolliff’s research interests include the investigation of planetary materials, conditions of mineral and rock formation, and how these materials change over time in response to planetary-scale processes such as volcanism, impacts, and space weathering. His research includes sample analysis, surface science, and remote sensing, as well as laboratory studies. As a member of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera science 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 lunar meteorites and Apollo samples. Investigations relating to Mars include study of the geologic materials analyzed with rovers, martian meteorites, and terrestrial analogs. These studies seek to understand the mineralogic, petrologic, and geochemical relationships, and formation conditions of planetary materials.  

Jolliff is the PI of the Electron Microprobe Laboratory at Washington University. Electron Probe Microanalysis (EPMA) is the principal method used to analyze the chemical composition of minerals and rocks at the micron scale. Jolliff leads the Planetary Materials Research Group; he works with Professor Alian Wang on experimental studies and spectroscopy of planetary surface materials, with Professor Randy Korotev and Paul Carpenter on the study of lunar meteorites, with Professor Kun Wang on the geochemistry of planetary materials and meteorites, and with Professor Gillis-Davis (in physics) on space weathering of planetary surface materials as part of the ICE Five-O SSERVI node. Jolliff leads the Washington University team that is part of NASA’s Apollo Next Generation Sample Analysis (ANGSA) program.  Jolliff also serves as the Director of the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences.

Recent Courses

Planetary Materials (EPSc 567)

In-depth look at suites of materials from the Moon, Mars, Vesta, and selected other achondrite meteorite groups. Mineralogy, geochemistry, petrography, and petrology of samples and their geologic settings. Relationships between samples and orbital mineralogical and geochemical data. Comparative planetology and origins. Prerequisites: EPSc 352 and EPSc 437; or permission of instructor.

    Minerals and Rocks in the Environment (ESPc 336)

    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).