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"It has been said that the primary function of schools is to impart enough facts to make children stop asking questions. Some, with whom the schools do not succeed, become scientists"
    (opening words of The Camel's Nose, Knut Schmidt-Nielsen).

David Catling

Professor, Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences / Astrobiology Program, at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA

Adjunct Prof., Dept of Atmospheric Sciences.

Areas of research include:

  • Planetary Atmospheres and Climate; The Coupled Evolution of Planetary Surfaces and Atmospheres.
  • Evolution of the Earth's Atmosphere and the Co-evolution of Life and Biogeochemical Cycles; Astrobiology.
My academic family tree back about a century
Advisor-advisee tree based on post-doctoral, PhD, masters and undergrad research advisors and their advisees. Hopefully, a few crumbs of wisdom have passed down this tree to me.

Brief Bio

  • 2012-present: Professor, University of Washington
  • 2009-2012:     Associate Professor, Univ. of Washington
  • 2005-2008:     European Union Marie Curie Chair at the University of Bristol, England.
  • 2001: Jointly appointed to University of Washington Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences and Astrobiology Program

   Some key co-workers:
    Kevin Zahnle (NASA Ames Research Center)
    Roger Buick (University of Washington, Earth and Space Sciences)
    Tyler Robinson (NASA Ames Research Center)
    Giles Marion (Desert Research Insitute)
    Steve Wood (University of Washington, Earth and Space Sciences)
    David Montgomery (University of Washington, Earth and Space                                                     Sciences)
   Postdoctoral researchers:
    Jon Toner (Dept. Earth and Space Sciences)
    Benjamin Charnay (Dept. of Astronomy) - co-advised

    Current graduate students

    Megan Smith (Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences & Astrobiology)
    Josh Krissansen-Totton (Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences &                                          Astrobiology)
    Steven Sholes (Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences)

   Former Ph.D. students:
   Where are they now?

    Elliot Sefton-Nash (2010) - postdoctoral scholar, UCLA
    Sanjoy Som (2010) - postdoc, NASA Ames Research Center
    Mark Claire (2008) - Research Fellow,  Univ. of St. Andrews,   Scotland

   Former Postdoctoral Researchers:
   Where are they now?

    Julien Foriel (2005-8) - Research Scientist, Washington U., St. Louis
    Phil Pogge von Strandmann (2009-11) - Lecturer, University                         College London.   

   Former undergraduate researchers:
   Where are they now?

    MacKenzie Day (2010) - Univ. of Texas, Austin, PhD Student
    David Bergsman (2009-2010) - Stanford Univ., PhD Student
    Meelis Lootus (2007-8) - University of Oxford, PhD student
    Chris Glein (2004-5) -  Postdoc, Univ. of Toronto; ASU PhD 2012.
    Carie Frantz (2004) - Postdoc, Univ. of Washington; USC PhD 2013.
    Elliott Ginder (2002-2004) - Assistant Professor, Hokkaido Univ.
Japan, after a PhD at Kanazawa University
    Cindy Peacock (2003-2004) - NOAA, Chemist
    Charlie Barnhart (2003) - Assistant Professor, Western Washington University     
    Joannah Metz  (2001) -  Caltech PhD (2010). Geoscientist, Shell Oil.
    Carol Paty (2000) - Associate Professor, Georgia Tech
    Hillary Waites  (1997) - Climate change attorney, Santa Clara, CA 


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