A Conversation With Geoscientist James Carter
Retired Prof Shares Enthusiasm for University's First 40 Years and Future
Aug. 5, 2010
We sat down for a conversation with Geosciences Professor Emeritus James Carter. Dr. Carter earned his bachelor's degree in mining and geological engineering from Texas Western University, now The University of Texas at El Paso, and his PhD in geochemistry from Rice University.
He came to the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest in 1964 to conduct postdoctoral research and was here when the organization became the Southwest Center for Advanced Studies in 1967. He was still here in 1969 when the organization joined the UT System to become UT Dallas, and after 43 years of geosciences teaching and research at UT Dallas Dr. Carter retired in 2008. In honor of his quality and length of service, the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics created the James L. Carter Scholarship Fund.
Though retired now from teaching and research, Dr. Carter hasn’t given up his other job. He is a world-renowned expert in “simulated lunar regolith,” or fake moon dirt. He has developed a process to simulate moon dirt, which he routinely supplies to NASA.
During our visit, Dr. Carter shared his thoughts on:
- The thrill of discovering an Alamosaurus dinosaur in Big Bend National Park.
- Becoming the world’s lone supplier of simulated “Maria” moon dirt.
- The excitement of coming to UT Dallas in the 1960s.
- The enthusiasm he feels about the new energy surrounding UT Dallas.
- The importance of mentoring students.
“It was an extremely exciting place to be. There was no project too large or too small that people wouldn’t tackle, no matter how difficult it was. It was a can do attitude. It was amazing. It was the 60s, and we were going to the moon.”
— Dr. James Carter
on President John F. Kennedy’s impact
on America’s passion for science
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