Robert Thorson is Professor of Geology at the University of Connecticut where he juggles teaching, research, mentoring, and committee work. Though he shares a joint appointment in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and the Department of Anthropology, his main teaching responsibilities are to the Center for Integrative Geosciences, and the Honors Core Curriculum, where he teaches AMST 1700 (Walden and the American Landscape) with history colleague Christopher Clark, and GSCI 1055 (Geoscience and the American Landscape) to introductory geology to students with an interest in history and literature.
His latest book — The Guide to Walden Pond (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018) is the first book-length guide to the epicenter of America’s environmental consciousness. It follows The Boatman: Henry David Thoreau’s River Years (Harvard, 2017) and Walden’s Shore: Henry David Thoreau and Nineteenth-Century Science (Harvard, 2014), his two-book re-assessment of Thoreau’s legacy as a natural scientist. These three books, combined his his previous four, present what he calls “cultural geology,” this discipline’s contribution to American Studies and Environmental Studies. For fifteen years he was a part-time journalist, a regular opinion columnist for The Hartford Courant, environmental and educational policy as his “beat.” Finally, he coordinates the Stone Wall Initiative for the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History.
A native Midwesterner with Scandinavian-American sodbuster roots, he moved to New England from Alaska in 1984. Away from work, he’s a father, son, husband, and solitary soul whose principal hobbies involve Nature, reading, cooking and public television.