Professor Bish received a B.S. from Furman University in 1974 (geology) and a Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University in 1977 in mineralogy and petrology. He spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow in mineralogy and crystallography at Harvard University and joined the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1980, where he worked until he joined IU in 2003.
Professor Bish is an expert in natural clay and zeolite minerals and in the study of minerals using X-ray powder diffraction. He has developed several quantitative X-ray powder diffraction methods, including the Rietveld quantitative analysis method. He has also pioneered the modern refinement and determination of clay mineral structures. His research interests include study of the properties and structures of fine-grained solids using crystallographic and thermodynamic methods, application of X-ray and neutron powder diffraction to mineral systems and partially ordered solids. Recently, he has combined experimental and theoretical methods to understand the state of mineral hydration on the surface of Mars.
Professor Bish is the author or editor of four books, "Crystal Structures and Cation Sites of the Rock-Forming Minerals," "Modern Powder Diffraction," "Thermal Analysis in Clay Science," and "Natural Zeolites: Occurrence, Properties, and Applications." He has edited the journal American Mineralogist, Clays and Clay Minerals, and Zeitschrift für Kristallographie and Clay Minerals. He was president of the Clay Minerals Society ( www.clays.org) in 1998-99, was a member of the governing council of the Mineralogical Society of America ( www.minsocam.org)from 1999 to 2002, was president of the International Association for Natural Zeolites ( icnz.lanl.gov/)from 2002-2006 and is the current president of Association Internationale pour l'etude des Argiles (AIPEA, the International Association for the Study of Clays www.aipea.org). He was a co-recipient of a 1999 R&D100 Award for development of a miniaturized X-ray diffraction/X-ray fluorescence instrument ( chemin.lanl.gov/).
Professor Bish is a fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America and was a recipient of the Clay Mineral Society's M. L. Jackson Award in 1995 and the G. W. Brindley Award in 2002 and the Mineralogical Society's (Great Britain) George Brown Award in 2007.