Ph.D. (Geology) (1994) University of Manitoba
M.Sc. (Geology) (1990) University of Western Ontario
B.Sc. (Geology) (1988) University of New Brunswick
Selected Awards and Honors:
2008-2010: President of the Mineralogical Association of Canada
2001 Mineralogical Society of America Award and Life Fellow
1999 Donath Medal of the Geological Society of America
1998 Young Scientist Medal of the Mineralogical Association of Canada
1997 Hawley Medal (best paper award) of the Mineralogical Association of Canada
Burns is Director of the Energy Frontier Research Center Materials Science of Actinides. This EFTC, which is funded by the Department of Energy, includes senior researchers and students at six universities and three national laboratories. The Center research emphasizes basic research in actinide chemistry and materials science to help create the foundation of knowledge needed for an advanced nuclear energy system of the future. The Center emphasizes complex actinide materials, the control of actinides at the nano-scale, and actinide materials under extreme environments of pressure, temperature, and radiation field.
Burns’s research focuses on the solid state and environmental chemistry of heavy metals, especially actinides including uranium, neptunium and plutonium. Studies of natural crystals coupled with synthetic approaches are being used to develop the structural hierarchical relationships in actinide compounds. Aggregation of metals in solution, and subsequent crystallization of molecular clusters, is examined using conventional crystallographic techniques coupled with synchrotron X-ray scattering. Current emphasis includes studies of the structures and stabilities of uranium, thorium and plutonium clusters containing as many as 120 metal atoms. Much of this research is applied to nuclear waste disposal and understanding the mobility of actinides and heavy metals in the environment. The structures, compositions, stabilities, and thermochemistry of uranium compounds is studied in relation to the evolution of a geological repository for nuclear waste, as well as natural uranium deposits.
Sigmon, G.E. & Burns, P.C. (2011): Rapid self-assembly of uranyl polyhedra into crown clusters. Journal of the American Chemical Society 133, 9137-9139.
Vlaisavljevich, B., Gagliardi, L. & Burns, P.C. (2010): Understanding the structure and formation of uranyl peroxide nanoclusters by quantum chemical calculations. Journal of the American Chemical Society 132, 14503-14508.
Ling, J., Wallace, C.M., Szymanowski, J.E.S. & Burns, P.C. (2010): Hybrid uranium-oxalate fullerene topology cage clusters. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 49, 7271-7273.
Ling, J., Qiu, J., Sigmon, G.E., Ward, M., Szymanowski, J.E.S. & Burns, P.C. (2010): Uranium pyrophosphate / methylenediphosphonate polyoxometalate cage clusters. Journal of the American Chemical Society 38, 13395-13402.
Sigmon, G.E., Ling, J., Unruh, D.K., Moore-Shay, L., Ward, M., Weaver, B. & Burns, P.C. (2009): Uranyl-peroxide interactions favor nano-cluster self-assembly. Journal of the American Chemical Society 131, 16648-16649.
Shvareva, T., Mazeina, L., Gorman-Lewis, D., Burns, P.C., Szymanowski, J.E.S., Fein, J.B. & Navrotsky, A. (2011): Thermodynamic characterization of boltwoodite and uranophane: Enthalpy of formation and aqueous solubility study. Geochemical Cosmochimica Acta 75, 5269-5282.
- Henry J. Massman Professor of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences; Concurrent Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
- Office: 301 Stinson-Remick Hall
- Phone: 631.5380
- Contact by Email
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