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The Astrophysical Context of Life
astrobiology, and nanotechnology. His lectures have had titles such as “Genomic Sequences as Organic Molecules: An Evolutionary Approach to Understanding What They Do,” “Reconstructing the Chemical Past: Experimental Paleobiochemistry,” and “Redesigning Nucleic Acids: Obtaining Molecular Evolution in the Laboratory.”
JOSEPH A. BERRY is staff member in the Department of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution of Washington, and a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University. Dr. Berry’s research interests are in photosyntheses and respiration and in how biochemical and biophysical mechanisms propagate to the planetary scale. Recently, he devoted a substantial portion of his time to an interdisciplinary research project sponsored by NASA under its Earth Observing System, the goal of which was to assemble a scientific basis for modeling the interactions between the biosphere and the atmosphere on a global scale. Dr. Berry was a member of the NRC Global Climate Change Study Panel in 1991 and 1992.
RUTH BLAKE is an assistant professor of geology and geophysics and of environmental engineering at Yale University. Her research interests cover geomicrobiology and microbial geochemistry/biochemistry, low-temperature aqueous/experimental geochemistry, and stable isotope geochemistry. Dr. Blake has studied the use of oxygen isotope variations in phosphate from fish remains to decipher ancient climate from deep-sea cores. She also participated in Yale’s Distinguished Lecturers Series as an expert on microbes in the deep biosphere.
WENDY M. CALVIN is the Arthur Brant Research Associate Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. Before that, from 1992 to 1999, Dr. Calvin served as research geophysicist for the U.S. Geological Survey Astrogeology Team, in Flagstaff, Arizona. Specializing in infrared spectroscopy, Dr. Calvin emphasizes understanding the nature and association of water, volatile ices, and minerals in order to better understand the physical and chemical processes occurring in a variety of planetary and space environments. She is skilled in both visible/near-infrared emissions and surface thermal emissions. Her current research includes studies of alteration minerals on Mars to understand climate history and variability and volatile element transport and sequestrations. She was a coinvestigator for the camera that was on the Mars Climate Orbiter mission in 1998 (MARCI). Dr. Calvin was a member of the NRC Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration from 1997 to 2000.
MICHAEL J. DALY is an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. His research interests focus on microbial genetics and the DNA repair mechanisms of the highly radiation-resistant organism Deinococcus radiodurans. Most recently, Dr. Daly has been engineering D. radiodurans for the bioremediation of toxic organic compounds, radionuclides, and heavy metals in radioactive waste sites. He is also interested in adaptations to microorganisms that may enable them to survive in cryptobiotic states for millions of years. Dr. Daly served on the NRC Task Group on the Forward Contamination of Europa (1999-2000).
KATHERINE H. FREEMAN is professor of geosciences at Pennsylvania State University (PSU) and associate director, PSU Biogeochemical Research Initiative in Education (NSF-IGERT). Her current research interests are in organic geochemistry and isotopic biogeochemistry. From 1993 to 1997, Dr. Freeman served as a member of the review panels for the Program in Chemical Oceanography and the Program in Environmental Geochemistry and Biogeochemistry. In 1999 she served on the NRC Committee on Basic Research Opportunities in the Earth Sciences.