Smithsonian Journeys Experts

Katryn Wiese

photo of Katryn Wiese

Katryn Wiese is a professor of geology, paleontology, and oceanography with 30 years of experience in research, teaching, field explorations, and community outreach. She studied at Caltech, Oregon State University, and Stanford University, and focused her early research on volcanic processes in Iceland, Hawaii, the seafloor around the Azores and the Galápagos Islands, and the tablelands of Eastern Australia. She has journeyed around the world as a scientist and field guide, gaining field expertise across the Americas, Antarctica, the Arctic, Australia, and the islands of the Pacific. 

Katryn’s primary focus is engaging students of all ages and backgrounds in exploring natural phenomena, from reading the stories in the rocks to evaluating the impact of the Earth and its oceans on our climate, culture, and society. She shares that work through her Earth Rocks! YouTube video channel, her library of open-source earth science lessons and lab manuals, and also thorugh the “Story of Time and Life”—a four-floor exhibit of dinosaurs, fossils, and meteorites that she installed and curates at City College of San Francisco in collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences. She recently joined the faculty at the College of San Mateo, near her home on the edge of the San Francisco Bay. Katryn is an avid hiker and kayaker, and is most at home outdoors exploring erupting volcanoes, glacially carved fjords, fossil-and-mineral-rich cliffs, and majestic mountains and coastlines that are off the beaten path.

What Our Travelers Say

Having Kat along was of great benefit. Her enthusiasm was infectious. Her knowledge and patience were endless. She was a tremendous asset.

- Smithsonian Journeys Traveler

Upcoming Tours

Machu Picchu and the Galápagos

16 days | Starting at: $9,795
Jun 1, 2024 - Jun 16, 2024
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Adventure in Iceland

11 days | Starting at: $6,595
Aug 1, 2024 - Aug 11, 2024
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A Voyage Along the Great Lakes

8 days | Starting at: $8,130
Aug 28, 2024 - Sep 4, 2024

From Toronto to Milwaukee aboard the 184-guest Le Champlain
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Scottish Isles and Norwegian Fjords Voyage

8 days | Starting at: $7,310
Jun 21, 2025 - Jun 28, 2025

Aboard the 184-guest Le Champlain, Le Bellot, or Le Laperouse
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Around the World by Private Jet: A Classic Journey

22-25 days | Starting at: $139,950
Dec 29, 2025 - Jan 22, 2026
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