Rod Ewing is the Frank Stanton Professor in Nuclear Security in the Center for International Security and Cooperation in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences in the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences at Stanford University. He is the Edward H. Kraus Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan, where he was in three Departments: Earth & Environmental Sciences, Nuclear Engineering & Radiological Sciences, and Materials Science and Engineering. He is also a Regents' Emeritus Professor at the University of New Mexico.
Ewing received a B.S. degree in geology from Texas Christian University (1968, summa cum laude) and M.S. (l972) and Ph.D. (l974, 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. Over the past forty 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 750 research publications and the editor or co-editor of 18 monographs, proceedings volumes or special issues of journals. He has published widely in mineralogy, geochemistry, materials science, nuclear materials, physics and chemistry in over 100 different ISI journals. He has been granted a patent for the development of a highly durable material for the immobilization of excess weapons plutonium.
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, the Lomonosov Gold Medal of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2006, a Honorary Doctorate from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in 2007, Roebling Medal of the Mineralogical Society of America, 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 and the European Association of Geochemistry, American Ceramic Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and the Materials Research Society. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2017.
He has been president of the Mineralogical Society of America (2002) and the International Union of Materials Research Societies (1997-1998). Ewing has served on the Board of Directors of the Geochemical Society (2012-2015) and the Board of Governors of the Gemological Institute of America (2006-2015). He is a member of the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and on the Editorial Board of Applied Physics Reviews . He is a founding Editor of the magazine Elements, which is now supported by 17 earth science societies, and a Founding Executive Editor of Geochemical Perspective Letters. He is a member of the Board of Earth Sciences and Resources of the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine (2017-2020).
Professor Ewing 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). He has served on eleven National Research Council committees for the National Academy of Sciences that have reviewed issues related to nuclear waste and nuclear weapons. He was appointed by President Obama to Chair the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board (2012-2017).