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Craig Lundstrom

Craig Lundstrom

Head/professor | UI Department of Geology

Playing tour guide on our virtual tour of favorite places and spaces on and around campus: Geology Head/Professor Craig Lundstrom, a one-time Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya and Ph.D. student at UC-Santa Cruz who joined the University of Illinois faculty in 1999.

Where I was when I got great news

I remember being in the mass spectrometer lab in the Natural History Building when the landline phone rang — no caller ID back then — and the person told me I had been chosen to receive the F.W. Clarke Award of the Geochemical Society.

At first, I thought it was a prank. But it turned out to be true.

It’s worth describing the state of this lab in the “old” NHB — it was located in the inner “courtyard” of NHB, an unfortunate location since huge icicles would fall off the NHB roof and onto the roof of this part of the building every spring.

One time, not too long after this phone call, an icicle fell during a spring rain and shish-kabobbed through the roof, allowing all the water in the courtyard to drain and thus rain into our mass spec lab — we rushed and got a tarp over the instrument to save it.

Needless to say, science in the old NHB was trying.

The first spot on campus I’d take a newcomer I wanted to impress

Well, if the person was a geochemist, I would take them to the mass spectrometer lab in the new NHB — the Coleman-Liu geochemistry lab. Lots of beautiful space — it is my happy place.

But to the non-geochemist, I would take them to “the Core,” also in the new NHB — an awesome hangout space where the department and school members gather or study. You can see I like the building but I have also learned something about human nature in the long, trying process of going from the old NHB to the new NHB.

It’s always the last thing we experience which we remember best — those trying times have just been erased.

Where I went on my job interview visit to C-U

One of my favorite restaurants of all time in C-U, Radio Maria. I got back to my room after dinner and said, OK, they have good restaurants here.

For perspective, during the other interview I did that year — at another land grant U — I was taken to Denny’s. No offense but Radio Maria > Denny’s.

My favorite place to think

Well, I need rocks around me to energize my thinking and Illinois is petrologically challenged. I know it’s out of bounds of what you asked but my best thinking happens when hiking in places with rocks. And the place that I hike the most is in Sedona, Arizona — Courthouse butte wash, to be specific.

I justify my vacations as promoting my geological thinking.

My favorite entertainment venue

House of Paign — fun to be there when the place is rocking. This is the year, isn’t it?