Ariel Anbar is a scientist and educator exploring Earth's past and future as an inhabited world, and the prospects for life beyond.
In science, Anbar’s research team develops novel geochemical methods to study topics ranging from the chemical evolution of the atmosphere and oceans to human disease. He is particularly interested in understanding how the amount of O2 in Earth’s atmosphere and ocean changed with time, the consequences of these changes for the evolution of life on Earth, and application of this knowledge to the search for life on worlds beyond our own. Anbar directed ASU's Astrobiology Program from 2009 – 2016.
In education, Anbar founded and leads ASU’s Center for Education Through Exploration, which develops, distributes, and evaluates digital learning experiences that spark curiosity, nurture the skills of exploration, and motivate through discovery. The Center’s products include: interactive virtual field trips; adaptive simulation-based courseware for K12 and higher education; and open-source technologies that empower instructors to create digital learning experiences that implement evidence-based best practices.
Trained as a geologist and a chemist, Anbar is the author or co-author of nearly 200 refereed papers and has been the lead investigator of multiple major grants in science and education, totaling > $30M. He is currently a President’s Professor at Arizona State University, on the faculty of the School of Earth & Space Exploration and the School of Molecular Sciences, and a Distinguished Global Futures Scientist in ASU’s Global Futures Laboratory.
A graduate of Harvard (A.B. 1989) and Caltech (Ph.D. 1996), Anbar was on the faculty of the University of Rochester before moving to ASU in 2004. He is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor, and a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America, the Geochemical Society, and the European Association of Geochemistry. Anbar chaired the Science Organizing Committee of the 2008 Astrobiology Science Conference, was elected President of the Biogeosciences Section of the American Geophysical Union in 2016, and presently serves as co-editor-in-chief of the Treatise of Geochemistry.
Anbar was named one of 10 “teaching innovators” by the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2017. He received the Science Innovation Award from the European Association of Geochemistry in 2019, the Arthur L. Day Medal from the Geological Society of America in 2020, and gave the American Geophysical Union’s Carl Sagan Lecture in 2022.