Emily Burns

  • GEOL 1010 students examining the weathered Carrara marble of the Verrazzano monument in Waterplace Park, Providence, on Oct. 29, 2013. Photo by C. Prata.
  • GEOL 1010 students looking at gneiss at the Westminster Square Building, Providence, on Oct. 29, 2013. Photo by C. Prata.
  • Grace Church in Providence was designed in the Gothic Revival style by Richard Upjohn and built in 1846 of New Jersey red sandstone. The sandstone formed in a rift valley more than 200 million years ago and most likely contains dinosaur footprints. Photo by E. Burns on Oct. 29, 2013.

For the first time in history, more people live in cities than in rural areas. Rhode Island is no exception; most of its residents, including CCRI students, live in urban or suburban neighborhoods. I have designed my classes to emphasize the relevance of Earth science to these places, including a focus on water supply, pollution, raw materials and so on. This fits in with my own interest in how the human and natural worlds interact.

I am completing a book on the geology of building stone. I use chapters as supplemental reading assignments in some of my classes and take students on building stone walks in Providence and Newport. Building stone is an often unnoticed and underused resource for teaching geology, especially to students in cities, where buildings can display stone from around the world in a small area.

The book began as a website. The manuscript, which I began in MS Word, is large and full of photographs. It is a reference, textbook supplement and popular science book. It does not fall into any single book genre, and to print it on paper would drive the cost too high and make it cumbersome to handle. I knew that electronic publishing was a likely solution to these problems. When Apple introduced iBooks Author, its software for writing and publishing manuscripts, it was the perfect fit. The book is being peer reviewed and professionally edited and should be out next year. I am pleased that the technology exists to process and publish an unusual manuscript like my book and that I can keep costs down for readers when it is released.

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Last Updated: 9/18/18