Rod Ewing is the Edward H. Kraus Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Michigan and a former visiting professor at CISAC. He has faculty appointments in the Departments of Nuclear Engineering & Radiological Sciences and Materials Science & Engineering and is an Emeritus Regents' Professor at the University of New Mexico where he was a member of the faculty from 1974 to 1997. Ewing received a B.S. degree in geology from Texas Christian University (1968, summa cum laude) and M.S. (1972) and Ph.D. (1974, with distinction) degrees from Stanford University where he held an NSF Fellowship. His graduate studies focused on an esoteric group of minerals, metamict Nb-Ta-Ti oxides, which are unusual because they have become amorphous due to radiation damage caused by the presence of radioactive elements. This radiation-induced phase transformation from a crystalline to amorphous state can have significant effects on the properties of materials, such as the decreased durability of radioactive waste forms. Over the past thirty years, the early study of these unusual minerals has blossomed into a broadly based research program on radiation effects in complex ceramic materials. This has led to the development of techniques to predict the long-term behavior of materials, such as those used in radioactive waste disposal. He is the author or co-author of over 600 research publications and the editor or co-editor of 14 monographs, proceedings volumes or special issues of journals. He has been granted a patent for the development of a highly durable material for the immobilization of excess weapons plutonium. He is a founding Editor of the magazine, Elements.
Ewing has received the Hawley Medal of the Mineralogical Association of Canada in 1997 and 2002, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002, the Dana Medal of the Mineralogical Society of America in 2006 and the Lomonosov Gold Medal of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2006, a Honorary Doctorate from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in 2007 and is a foreign Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He is also a fellow of the Geological Society of America, Mineralogical Society of America, American Geophysical Union, Geochemical Society, American Ceramic Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Materials Research Society. He has served the Materials Research Society as a Councilor (1983-1985; 1987-1989) and Secretary (l985-l986). He has been president of the Mineralogical Society of America (2002), International Union of Materials Research Societies (1997-1998) and the New Mexico Geological Society (1981). He has been a guest scientist at Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratories, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Hahn-Meitner-Institut in Berlin, the Department of Nuclear Engineering in the Technion University at Haifa, the Centre D'Etudes Nucléaires de Fontenay-Aux-Roses of the Commissariat A L'Énergie Atomique in France, Charles University in Prague, the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, the Institut für Nukleare Entsorgungstechnik of the Kernforschungszentrum Karlsruhe, Aarhus University in Denmark, the Mineralogical Institute of Tokyo University and the Khlopin Radium Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The involvement in issues related to nuclear waste management has proceeded in parallel with the meetings of the Materials Research Society, where he has been a member of the program committees for the symposium on the "Scientific Basis for Nuclear Waste Management" held in Berlin-82, Boston-84, Stockholm-85, Berlin-88, Strasbourg-91, Kyoto-1994, Boston-1998, Sydney-2000, Ghent-2005, Sheffield-2007 and St. Petersburg-2009. He is co-editor of and a contributing author of Radioactive Waste Forms for the Future (North-Holland Physics, Amsterdam, 1988) and Uncertainty Underground - Yucca Mountain and the Nation's High-Level Nuclear Waste (MIT Press, 2006). Professor Ewing has served on numerous National Research Council committees for the National Academy of Sciences that have reviewed issues related to nuclear waste management. He has been an invited expert for the Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a consultant to the Nuclear Waste Technology Review Board, and a member of the Board of Nuclear and Radiation Studies of the National Research Council.