James Kasting

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James Fraser Kasting (born January 2, 1953) is an American geoscientist and Distinguished Professor at Penn State University. Kasting was educated at Harvard University and the University of Michigan, where he received his Ph.D. in atmospheric science in 1979. He is married with three children. [1]

Kasting has published dozens of reviews and papers, covering the geophysical history and status of the Earth, with a focus on atmospherics. He has also considered the habitability criteria of other stellar systems and planets and is broadly considered the world leader in the field of planetary habitability. In their popular 2001 work Rare Earth, Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee note: "Although many scientists have been doggedly pursuing the various attributes necessary for a habitable planet...one name stands out in the scientific literature: James Kasting" (pg. 266). A 1993 paper on habitable zones[2] was particularly decisive in shaping thinking on this field. He won a LExEN Award for his work "Collaborative Research: Methanogenesis and the Climate of Early Mars" [3]

Kasting is also a member of numerous professional scientific societies and committees. He was elected Fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences[4] and Geochemical Society in 2008. He has served NASA at the Ames Research Center in various capacities, including as a member of the scientific working group for the Terrestrial Planet Finder, and as a civil servant for most of the 1980s.

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