Carnegie mineralogist Robert Hazen

Washington, DC—Carnegie mineralogist Robert Hazen—who advanced the concept that Earth’s geology was shaped by the rise and sustenance of life—was elected last month a fellow of the International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life – The International Astrobiology Society.

It is the only professional society dedicated to origins research and its 500 members represent disciplines ranging from molecular biology to astronomy. Fellows are selected for their “exceptional and sustained contributions” to the field.

Hazen pioneered the concept of mineral evolution—linking an explosion in mineral diversity to the rise of life on Earth—and developed the idea of mineral ecology—which analyzes the spatial distribution of the planet’s minerals to predict those that remain undiscovered and to assert Earth’s mineralogical distinctiveness in the cosmos.

For 10 years Hazen was also the Executive Director of the Deep Carbon Observatory, an integrated, multidisciplinary project dedicated to probing the chemical and biological roles of carbon in Earth’s interior.

He is the author of more than 20 books on science, history, and music, most recently Symphony in C: Carbon and the Evolution of (Almost) Everything.

“This recognition of Bob’s creativity and novel approach to studying how Earth’s ability to sustain life has shaped the planet in turn is well deserved,” said Earth and Planets Laboratory Director Richard Carlson. “The collaborative and cross-disciplinary nature of Carnegie has made us a longstanding leader in astrobiology and origins research and Bob’s contributions are an crucial part of that legacy.”  

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Earth/Planetary Science