Faculty Q&A: Sean Solomon on Lamont-Doherty, Earth Science and Space

October 14, 2014

As a scientist, Sean Solomon has studied Mercury, Venus and Mars. Now he heads Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, whose researchers study planet Earth, from its deepest ocean to its highest peak.

Solomon arrives at Columbia from the Carnegie Institute, where he was its principal investigator for research with NASA’s Astrobiology Institute. Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the origin of life on Earth and its potential for existing elsewhere.

“The four inner planets of our solar system are nature’s experiments in how a planet like the Earth became the planet it is today, and they had four extraordinarily different outcomes,” he said. “To understand our own planet, we must understand how all Earth-like planets formed and evolved.”