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...who have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night

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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 by Knut Schmidt-Nielsen).


David Catling

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

Adjunct Prof., UW Dept of Atmospheric Sciences.

Areas of research:

  • The Coupled Evolution of Planetary Surfaces and Atmospheres; Planetary Atmospheres and Climate.
  • The Origin of Life; 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 little crumbs of wisdom have passed down this tree to me.

Brief Bio

  • 2012-present: Professor, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • 2018-present: Associate Chair for the Graduate Program, Dept. of Earth & Space Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • 2009-2012: Associate Professor, Univ. of Washington
  • 2005-2008: European Union Marie Curie Chair at the University of Bristol, England & Affiliate professor, Univ. of Washington.
  • 2001: Jointly appointed to University of Washington Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences and Astrobiology Program
   Some key co-workers

Kevin Zahnle (NASA Ames Research Center) - on astrobiology
Jon Toner (Dept. Earth and Space Sciences) -- on the habitability of cold solar system environments: Mars, Enceladus, etc.
Roger Buick (University of Washington, Earth and Space Sciences) - on early Earth and astrobiology
Vikki Meadows  (UW Astronomy) -- leads the Virtual Planetary Lab & Univ. of Washington's astrobiology program
Tyler Robinson (Northern Arizona University) - on planetary atmospheres
Giles Marion (Emeritus, Desert Research Institute) - on aqueous solutions on Mars, and outer planet moons
David Montgomery (University of Washington, Earth and Space                                                     Sciences) - on the geology of Mars
   Current postdoctoral researchers:
    Ardith Bravenec (Dept. of Earth & Space Sciences)
    Sebastian Haas (Dept. of Earth & Space Sciences)
    Zoe Todd (Dept. of Earth & Space Sciences)

    Current graduate students

    Lauren O'Neil (Dept. of Earth & Space Sciences/ Astrobiology)
    Nick Wogan (Dept. of Earth & Space Sciences/ Astrobiology)
    Lucas Fifer (Dept. of Earth & Space Sciences/ Astrobiology)
    Andrew Shumway (Dept. of Earth & Space Sciences/ Astrobiology)
    Ping-Chun Lin (Dept. of Earth & Space Sciences/ Astrobiology)
    Kimberley Sinclair (Dept. of Earth & Space Sciences/     Astrobiology)
    Trent Thomas (Dept. of Earth & Space Sciences/ Astrobiology)
    Danqiu Chen (Dept. of Earth & Space Sciences/Astrobiology(
    Zack Cohen (Dept. of Chemistry/ Astrobiology) -- co-advised with         Prof. Sarah Keller
    Yuk-Chun Chan (Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences/ Astrobiology) -             co-advised with Becky Alexander
   Former Ph.D and M.S. students:
   Where are they now?

    Mark Claire (2008 PhD) Reader, Univ. of St. Andrews
    Elliot Sefton-Nash (2010 PhD) Planetary Scientist, European
    Space Agency, European Space Research & Technology Centre
    (ESTEC), Noordwijk, Netherlands.
    Sanjoy Som (2010 PhD) - Research Scientist & Director, Blue 
    Marble Space. Also at NASA Ames Research Center
    Megan Smith (2015 MS) - Technical staff, Aerospace Corp.,
    El Segundo, Los Angeles, CA
Erik Goosmann (2018 MS) - Data Analyst, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)
Josh Krissansen-Totton (2019, PhD) NASA Sagan Fellow, University of California at Santa Cruz
Steven Sholes (2019, PhD) - postdoctoral researcher, NASA JPL
Owen Lehmer (2020, PhD) - research scientist, NASA Ames Research Center

   Former postdoctoral researchers:
   Where are they now?

Shintaro Kadoya (2017-2021), Research Fellow, JAMSTEC (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology), Japan.
MacKenzie Day (2017-2018), Assistant Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
Benjamin Charnay (2014-16) - Researcher with CNRS ( Centre national de la recherche scientifique), at LESIA, the Paris     Observatory in Meudon, France.
Phil Pogge von Strandmann (2009-11) - Reader, University College London
Julien Foriel (2005-8) - Researcher/ Lab Manager, Tokyo Tech University

   Former undergraduate researchers:
   Where are they now?

MacKenzie Day (2010) - UCLA faculty, after PhD U Texas, Austin & postdoc
David Bergsman (2009-2010) - PhD (Stanford); postdoc MIT; Assistant Prof, Dept. Chem. Engineering, Univ. of Washington,
Meelis Lootus (2007-8) - Univ. of Oxford DPhil in 2015. Machine Learning Engineer at
Chris Glein (2004-5) -  Research Scientist, Southwest Research Inst.
Carie Frantz (2004) - Assistant Prof., Weber State University, UT.
Elliott Ginder (2002-2004) - Associate Professor, Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan; PhD from Kanazawa University.
Cindy Peacock (2003-2004) - was a Chemist at NOAA.
Charlie Barnhart (2003) - Associate Professor, Western Washington University.
Joannah Metz  (2001) -  Caltech PhD (2010). Geoscientist, Shell Oil.
Carol Paty (2000) - Associate Professor, University of Oregon, Eugene.
Hillary Waites  (1997) - Climate change attorney, Santa Clara, CA.


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