Sunday, February 20, 2011: 12:00 PM-12:45 PM
206 (Washington Convention Center )In spite of carbon’s central importance to topics ranging from energy to climate to life’s origins and evolution, many unanswered questions remain regarding the physical, chemical, and biological behavior of carbon-bearing systems at depths greater than a few hundred meters. Recent results from field, experimental, and theoretical studies point to the need for a new broadly interdisciplinary effort to understand deep carbon reservoirs and fluxes, the extent of possible deep abiotic organic synthesis, and the nature and extent of the deep biosphere. The Deep Carbon Observatory is a 10-year international effort to achieve fundamental advances in understanding the chemical and biological roles of carbon in Earth”s interior. Recent findings underscore the need for a focus on deep carbon science. In particular, experimental discoveries of organic synthesis from inorganic precursors at high pressures and temperatures, observations of complex interactions between organic molecules and minerals, field evidence for significant outgassing of carbon dioxide and other volatiles, recognition of extensive deep microbial ecosystems, and new experimental measurements and theoretical models of carbon sources and sinks demand a careful reappraisal of deep carbon.Dr. Hazen's research focuses on the role of minerals in the origin of life, including processes such as mineral-catalyzed organic synthesis and the selective adsorption of organic molecules on mineral surfaces. He developed a new approach to mineralogy, called “mineral evolution,” which explores the co-evolution of the geo- and biospheres. He is principal investigator of the Deep Carbon Observatory. Dr. Hazen has written more than 350 articles and 20 books on science, history, and music. The Music Men, Wealth Inexhaustible, and Keepers of the Flame, coauthored with his wife, Margaret Hindle Hazen, explore ties between technology and culture. "The Breakthrough, The New Alchemists," "Why Aren”t Black Holes Black," "The Diamond Makers," and "Genesis" describe the forefront of scientific research. He has published in popular media including Newsweek, Scientific American, Smithsonian Magazine, New Scientist, and The New York Times Magazine. He received B.S. and S.M. degrees in geology at MIT and a Ph.D. degree in earth science at Harvard University.
Robert M. Hazen, Carnegie Institution for Science
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