Sean Solomon is an Adjunct Senior Research Scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, where he served as Director from 2012 to 2020. Much of his recent research has focused on the geology and geophysics of the solar system’s inner planets. He was the principal investigator for NASA’s MESSENGER mission, which sent the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury and study the planet’s composition, geology, topography, gravity and magnetic fields, exosphere, magnetosphere, and heliospheric environment.
Prior to coming to Columbia, Solomon served on the faculty of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at MIT from 1972 to 1992 and as Director of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism of the Carnegie Institution of Washington from 1992 to 2011. A former Hertz Fellow, Sloan Research Fellow, and Guggenheim Fellow, Solomon was President of the American Geophysical Union from 1996 to 1998. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the International Academy of Astronautics and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, and the Geological Society of America. In 2014 he was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Barack Obama.