Los Alamos National LaboratoryCenter for Space and Earth Science
Part of the National Security Education Center

Charles (Chick) Keller Biography

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Chick Keller

Charles (Chick) Keller began his education with an AB in Philosophy, followed by a BS in Physics and a PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics from Indiana University in 1969.

Keller's career has been exclusively at Los Alamos National Laboratory beginning with summer graduate work in 1967, where he worked with Art Cox doing computer models of Cepheid Variable stars with detailed atmospheres. He joined the Lab in 1969 in the Weapons Test Division (Group J-15), where he did computer modeling of underground explosion behavior for the Containment Program. In addition, he participated in five airborne expeditions to study the Sun's corona during total solar eclipses.

Keller was group leader of a geosciences computer modeling group from 1980-1987, developing a variety of computer models to simulate various geoscience processes from rock fracture to 3D models of the surface atmosphere.

In 1987, Keller was named director of the Los Alamos branch of the University of California's Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics. This institute was extremely successful in bringing together geoscientists from the Lab and universities in collaborative research. One of their efforts was a ten-year summer workshop that brought together faculty and students from a wide number of universities to modernize modeling of the Earth's dynamic Mantle. One result was a simulation that explained how the Earth makes its magnetic field and reverses it aperiodically.

After a sabbatical at Scripps Institute of Oceanography studying climate change, Keller retired and as a visiting scientist and wrote several long reviews of climate science.