Searching for Life in the Universe and Making It in the Laboratory
Juan Perez-Mercader earned his PhD in Theoretical Particle Physics from the City College of New York. He is an Elected Member of the International Academy of Astronautics and of the European Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1998 in Association with the NASA Astrobiology Institute, he founded Spain's Centro de Astrobiología (CAB) of which he was its first Director. He was the architect of Spain’s contribution to the NASA Mars Program and its participation in the Curiosity and subsequent Rovers. In 2010 he left Spain and joined Harvard as Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative. At Harvard he leads a multidisciplinary group to uncover the practical role of chemistry and non-equilibrium physics in the emergence of life to generate in the laboratory ex novo synthetic artificial, non-biochemistry based forms of life.