Robert C. Liebermann 

Robert C. Liebermann

Research Professor, May 2014 to Present
Distinguished Service Professor, May 1996 to May 2014

Office: ESS 167   
E-mail Address: Robert.Liebermann "at"

B.S., California Institute of Technology, 1964 Ph.D., Columbia University, 1969 Senior Research Fellow, Australian National University, 1970-76 Faculty Member at Stony Brook since 1976 President of COMPRES (September 2003 to January 2010)

Visiting Professor, Université Paris-Sud, Orsay, 1983-84 Visiting Professor, University of Tokyo, 1984 Visiting Professor, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, 1990 Visiting Professor, Australian National University, Canberra, 1991-1992  Visiting Professor, Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France, 2002-2003

Professor Liebermann's research interests are in the field of mineral physics, which is dedicated to understanding how the physical and chemical properties of minerals and rocks control their geological behavior, especially at high pressures and temperatures.

In 1984, with support from the Instrumentation and Facilities Program of the NSF Division of Earth Sciences and the University at Stony Brook, Liebermann and Professor Donald Weidner acquired and developed two types of multi-anvil, high-pressure equipment for the new Stony Brook High- Pressure Laboratory. These facilities were the first of their kind in the geoscience community in the United States and include a DIA-type cubic anvil apparatus with a 250-ton hydraulic press (SAM 95) and uniaxial split-sphere apparatus of the Kawai-type with a 2,000-ton hydraulic press (USSA-2000). The latter apparatus has been utilized for synthesis experiments to pressures of 250 kbar and temperatures of 2500 K, whereas SAM-85 has been interfaced with the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) at Brookhaven National Laboratory for in situ X-ray experiments. These unique facilities formed the core of the Stony Brook node of the NSF Science and Technology Center for High Pressure Research (CHiPR) from 1991-2002.

Special interest is now focused on the role of polymorphic phase transformations in minerals in large-scale dynamic processes in the Earth's interior. Polycrystalline specimens of the low- and high-pressure polymorphs of mantle minerals are synthesized in the USSA-2000 apparatus. These specimens are then used for ultrasonic measurements of the elastic wave velocities as a function of pressure and temperature; these acoustic experiments were initially performed in a 1000-ton uniaxial split-cylinder apparatus by Baosheng Li (research faculty colleague) in collaboration with Dr. Ian Jackson of the Australian National University. Later, our team has successfully adapted these techniques for use in SAM-85 installed on the superconducting wiggler beamline (X17B) at the (NSLS) and in other multi-anvil apparatus at the Advanced Photon Source of the Argonne National Laboratory. This has provided the opportunity to peform sound velocity measurements in polycrystalline and single crystal specimens at simultaneous high pressures and temperatures using ultrasonics in conjunction with synchrotron X-radiation determinations of the equation of state (see papers below by Ganglin Chen, Ting Chen, Joseph Cooke, Kenneth Darling, Fréderic Decremps, Lucy Flesch, Gabriel Gwanmesia, Jennifer Kung, Baosheng Li, Jun Liu, Sally Rigden, Yegor Sinelnikov, Xuebing Wang and Jianzhong Zhang.

A program studying the kinetics and mechanisms of phase transformations in silicate minerals and their analogs used transmission electron microscopy (TEM) as the principal analytical tool. The most recent studies, in collaboration with research assistant professor Yanbin Wang, postdoctoral associate Isabelle Martinez, and visiting professor Francois Guyot, focussed on the transformation of natural olivine to the perovskite + magnesiowstite phase assemblage at pressures corresponding to 720 kilometers depth.

In addition to the colleagues mentioned above, Liebermann has had ongoing collaboration on diffusion in minerals with the late Olivier Jaoul at the Université Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, France. This collaboration has been carried out with a series of graduate students and postdoctoral associates, including Yves Bertran-Alvarez, Paul Raterron and Frédéric Béjina, who have been studying the effect of pressure on Fe-Mg interdiffusion and Si self-diffusion in olivine.

Liebermann is also a founding member the Committee on Mineral and Rock Physics and a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Mineralogical Society of America. In April 2004, he received the degree of Docteur Honoris Causa from the Université Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, France.

From September 2003 to January 2010, Liebermann served as President of the Consortium for Materials Properties Research in Earth Sciences [COMPRES]. The headquarters of COMPRES are in the Mineral Physics Institute of Stony Brook University.

Liebermann received the Edward A. Flinn Award from the American Geophysical Union in 2012 for facilitating international collaborations, enabling the development of new community facilities for mineral physics research, and implementing activities to support and promote the entire mineral physics community as President of COMPRES.

In 2014, a research team from the California Institute of Technology and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas discovered a new hollandite phase of KAlSi3O8 in the Zagami meteorite from Mars and named it “liebermannite” for his fundamental contributions to high-pressure mineral physics research.


Selected Publications [2000-2015]

Li, B., and R. C. Liebermann, Sound velocities of wadsleyite ß-(Mg0.88Fe0.12)2SiO4 to 10 GPa, Am. Mineralogist, 85, 292-295, 2000. 

Decremps, F. B. Li, and R. C. Liebermann, Single-crystal elasticity of ZnO at high pressure, Proceedings of AIRAPT Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii, July 1999. Vol. 2, pp. 810-813, in Science and Technology and High Pressure, edited by M. H. Manghnani, W. J. Nellis, and M. F. Nicol, 2 volumes, 1117 pages, 2000. 

Liu, J., G. Chen, G. D. Gwanmesia, and R. C. Liebermann, Elastic wave velocities of pyrope-majorite garnets (Py62Mj38 and Py50Mj50) to 9 GPa, Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors,  120, 153-163, 2000. 

Decremps, F., J. Zhang, and R. C. Liebermann, New phase boundary and high pressure thermoelasticity of ZnO, Europhysics Letters,  51, 268-274  , 2000. 

Yamanaka, T., R. C. Liebermann, and C. T. Prewitt, Thermal expansion of aluminous perovskite ScAlO3, Journal of Mineralogical and Petrological Sciences, 95, 182-192, 2000. 

Decremps, F. J. Zhang, B. Li, and R. C. Liebermann, Pressure-induced softening of shear modes in ZnO, Phys. Rev. B, 63, 224105, 2001. 

Li, B., R. C. Liebermann, and D. J. Weidner, P-V-VP-VS-T measurements on wadsleyite to 7 GPa and 873 K: Implications for the 410-km seismic discontinuity, J. Geophys. Res., 106, 30,575-30,591, 2001. 

Kung, J., B. Li, D. J. Weidner, J. Zhang and R. C. Liebermann, Elasticity of (Mg 0.83 Fe 0.17)O ferropericlase at high pressure:  Ultrasonic measurements in conjunction with X-radiation techniques, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 203, 557-566,  2002. 

Li, B., K. Chen, J. Kung, R. C. Liebermann, and D. J. Weidner, Sound velocity measurement using transfer function method, Proceedings of AIRAPT Conference, Beijing, July 2001, J. Physics Condensed Matter, 14, 11337-11342, 2002. 

Béjina, F., O. Jaoul, and R.C. Liebermann, Diffusion at high pressure:  A review, Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors, 139, 3-20, 2003. 

Darling, K.L., G.D. Gwanmesia, J. Kung, B. Li, and R.C. Liebermann, Ultrasonic measurements of the sound velocities in polycrystalline San Carlos olivine in multi-anvil, high-pressure apparatus, Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors, 143-144, 19-31, 2004. 

Li, B., J. Kung, and R.C. Liebermann, Modern techniques in measuring elasticity of Earth materials at high pressure and high temperature using ultrasonics in conjunction with synchrotron X-radiation, Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors, 143-144, 559-574, 2004. 

Sinelnikov, Y.D., G. Chen, and R.C. Liebermann, Dual mode ultrasonic interferometry in multi-anvil, high-pressure apparatus using single-crystal olivine as the pressure standard, Inter. J. High Pressure Research, 24, 183-191, 2004. 

Kung, J., B. Li, T. Uchida, Y. Wang, D. Neuville, and R. C. Liebermann, In situ measurements of sound velocities and densities across the orthopyroxene->high-pressure clinopyroxene transition in MgSiO3 at high pressure, Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors, 147, 27-44, 2004. 

Gwanmesia, G. D., J. Zhang, K. Darling, J. Kung, B. Li, L. Wang, D. Neuville, and R. C. Liebermann, Elasticity of polycrystalline pyrope (Mg3Al2Si3O12) to 9 GPa and 1000°C, Phys, Earth Planet. Interiors, 155, 179-190, 2006. 

Liebermann, R. C., Future of High Pressure Mineral Physics/Role of COMPRES, EOS, Transactions of American Geophysical Union, 40, pp. 365,373, 2005 [4 October 2005 issue]. 

Kung, J., B. Li, and R. C. Liebermann, Ultrasonic observations of elasticity changes across phase transformations in Mg SiO3 pyroxenes, J. Phys. Chem. Solids, 67, 2051-2055, 2006. 

Gwanmesia, G. D., I. Jackson, and R. C. Liebermann, In search of the mixed derivative ∂2M/∂P∂T (M = G, K): joint analysis of ultrasonic data for polycrystalline pyrope from gas- and solid-medium apparatus, Phys. Chem. Minerals, DOI 10.1007/s00269-006-0130-x., 2007. 

Antao, S. M., I. Jackson, Baosheng Li, Jennifer Kung, Jiuhua Chen, Ishmael Hassan, Robert C. Liebermann, and John B. Parise,  High-temperature elasticity of magnesioeferrite spinel, Phys. Chem. Minerals, DOI 10.1007/s00269-007-0152-z, 2007. 

Carpenter, M. A., B. Li, R. C. Liebermann, Elastic anomalies accompanying phase transitions in (Ca, Sr)TiO3 perovskites III:  Experimental investigation of polycrystalline samples, Am. Mineralogist, Am. Mineralogist, 92, 344-355, 2007. 

Carpenter, M. A., P. Sondergeld, B. Li, J. W. Walsh, J. Schreuer, T. W. Darling and R. C. Liebermann, Structural evolution, strain and elasticity of perovskites at high pressures and temperatures, Plenary Lecture at IMA Meeting in Kobe, Japan, July 2006, , J. Mineralogical and Petrological Sciences, 101, 95-109, 2006. 

Li, B., and R. C. Liebermann, Indoor seismology by probing the Earth’s interior by using sound velocity measurements at high pressures and temperatures, Proc. National Acad. Sci., 104, 9145-9150, 2007. 

Higo, Y., T. Inoue, B. Li, T. Irifune and R. C. Liebermann, The effect of iron on the elastic properties of ringwoodite at high pressure, Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors, 159, 276-285, 2006. 

Gwanmesia, G. D., L. Wang, R. Triplett, and R. C. Liebermann, Pressure and temperature dependence of the elasticity of pyrope-majorite [Py60Mj40 and Py50Mj50] garnets solid solution measured by ultrasonic interferometry technique, Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors, 174, 105-112, 2009. 

Kung, J., I. Jackson, and R. C. Liebermann (2011), High-temperature elasticity of polycrystalline orthoenstatite (MgSiO3), American Mineralogist, 96(4), 577-585, doi:<p>10.2138/am.2011.3632 

Liebermann, R. C., Bob-san and High Pressure Science and Technology in Japan: A 40+-Year History, Rev. High Pressure Science and Technology, 21, 115-126, 2011. 

Liebermann, R. C., Multi-anvil, high-pressure apparatus:  A half century of development and progress, High Pressure Research, 31, 493-532, 2011. 

Liebermann, R. C., and C. T. Prewitt, From Airlie House in 1977 to Lake Morey in 2007: 30 Years of evolution of mineral physics, Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors, 228, 36-45, 2014. 

Gwanmesia, G. D., L. Wang, A. Heady, and R. C. Liebermann, Elasticity and sound velocities of polycrystalline grossular (Ca3Al2Si3O12) at simultaneous high pressures and high temperatures, Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors, 228, 80-97, 2014. 

Li, B., J. Kung, W. Liu and R. C. Liebermann, Phase transition and elasticity of enstatite under pressure from experiments and first-principles calculations, Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors, 228, 63-74, 2014. 

Liebermann, R. C., History of Japan-U.S./High Pressure Mineral Physics Seminars: 1976 to 2012, Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors, 233, 1-35, 2014. 

Liebermann, R. C., The Role of Serendipity in My Career in Mineral Physics:  1968 to 2013, Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors, 233, 307-323, 2014. 

Li, B., and R. C., Liebermann, Study of the Earth's interior using measurements of sound velocities in minerals by ultrasonic interferometry, Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors, 233, 135-153. 2014. 

Chen, T., G. D. Gwanmesia, X. Wang, Y. Zou, R. C. Liebermann, C. Michaut, and B. Li, Anomalous elastic properties of coesite at high pressure and implications for the upper mantle X-discontinuity,  Earth Planet. Sci. Letters, 412, 42-51, 2015. 

10 April 2015




News & Announcements

Geosciences Seminar

Geosciences Department Newsletter


Geosciences alum Barbara Cohen named to leadership position for Mars Exploration Rovers 

Q & A with Geosciences Graduate Student Steven Jaret as he prepares for the International FameLab national finals in Washington D.C. 

Geosciences Graduate Students bring hands-on Science education to area elementary schools

Melissa Sims chosen to introduce Secretary of Energy at NSLS-II Dedication

Celebrating Robert Cooper Liebermann

Professor Joel Hurowitz named Deputy PI for Mars 2020 Rover Instrument

PhD Student Yuyan (Sara) Zhao selected for Prestigious Dwornik Award

Professor Timothy Glotch to lead NASA funded research team

Professor Martin Schoonen named Chairman of the Environmental Sciences Department at BNL

Professors John Parise and Artem Oganov pursue Materials Genome Initiative

Professor Deanne Rogers finds evidence for past groundwater on Mars

Professor Robert Liebermann accepts Edward A. Flinn Award

Professor Scott McLennan selected for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Team

Professor Timothy Glotch receives NSF Career Award

Geosciences PhD Francis McCubbin receives Presidential Early Career Award

Professor Scott McLennan on NASA team that finds new evidence for water at Mars crater

Geoscience Researchers Develop Numerical Model to Better Forecast Forces Behind Earthquakes 

Geoscience Professor Don Weidner selected to receive Inge Lehman Medal

Geoscience researchers find that natural minerals disinfect drinking water

Professor Dan Davis publishes 4th edition of "Turn Left at Orion"

Stony Brook PhD and Faculty Advisor Show that the Moon Isn't as Dry as Previously Thought

The Department welcomes its new faculty member, Deanne Rogers

Jerome Varriale, Geosciences major, Named URECA Researcher of the Month  


Department of Geosciences - Earth and Space Science Building, Stony Brook, NY 11794-2100  Phone: (631) 632-8200
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