Dr. Som is a scientist, engineer, and social entrepreneur passionate about space exploration and astrobiology, and how these disciplines can increase STEM awareness and excitement among the public. To translate this passion into solutions, he founded and is the CEO of the 501c3 non-profit Blue Marble Space.
Equipped with degrees in both engineering and physical science, and certificates in astrobiology and innovation & entrepreneurship, Dr. Som is a versatile Earth system scientist and aerospace engineer interested in interdisciplinary approaches to scientific problems. He has substantial geological field work and numerical & geochemical modeling experience, and has been actively involved with NASA space biology payloads as a systems engineer. With a passion for science communication, Dr. Som strives to bring the wonders of science to the interested public. In 2018, he joined the first cohort of scientists selected by the American Geophysical Union as "Voices for Science" ambassadors.
His current research activities includes understanding the physical properties of the Earth's ancient atmosphere using geological proxies, and quantifying the link between environmental geochemistry and bioenergetics.
Ph.D. in Planetary Sciences and certificate in Astrobiology – University of Washington, 2010
M.Sc. in Aeronautics and Astronautics – University of Washington, 2004
B.Sc. in Aerospace Engineering – Florida Institute of Technology, 2002
Dr. Lau is a communicator of science and a geomicrobiologist. His graduate research has focused on characterizing the geochemistry and mineralogy of sulfur-rich deposits and alteration features at the Borup Fiord Pass sulfide spring system in the Canadian High Arctic. This has included detections of unexpected and rare forms of elemental sulfur (beta- and gamma-cyclooctasulfur) as well as an exotic form of hydrated sulfate carbonate (rapidcreekite) in the Borup system.
Graham is interested in determining the role that biology may play in the formation of these rare mineral forms as well as what these findings may mean for the search for extraterrestrial life on worlds such as Mars and Europa. Furthermore, Graham specializes in sharing science with the public; from public talks and blogging to museum exhibit facilitation, Graham has found a variety of methods to communicate science with people of all ages and backgrounds.