Anat Shahar

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Anat Shahar is a staff scientist at the Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution of Washington [1] and adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland.[2] Her work uses high-pressure, high-temperature experiments and stable isotope geochemistry to understand the formation of planets in the solar system.[3]


Anat Shahar obtained a B.S. and a M.E. in geological engineering from Cornell University in 2002 and 2003, respectively. She earned her Ph.D. in geochemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2008, while working in the lab of Edward Young. She went on to complete her postdoctoral research at the Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution of Washington and in 2009 was appointed staff scientist. Since 2012 she also has served as an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Geology at the University of Maryland.[4]

Shahar was awarded the Nininger Meteorite Award, which recognizes outstanding student achievement in the meteoritical sciences, for her 2008 paper on "Astrophysics of CAI formation as revealed by silicon isotope LA-MC-ICPMS of an igneous CAI".[5][6] In 2012 Shahar was awarded Stanford Universitys Blaustein Fellowship, which helped fund her work investigating the pressure-dependent relationship of the isotopic composition of iron alloys, published in Science.[7][8][9] In 2015, Shahar won the F.W. Clarke Medal, an award from the Geochemical Society that recognizes a single outstanding contribution to geochemistry or cosmochemistry by an early-career scientist.[10] Shahar won the 2016 Mineralogical Society of America’s Young Investigator Award, given to individuals near the beginning of their professional careers, who have made outstanding published contributions to the field of mineralogy. The award also made her a Life Fellow of the society.[11] Shahar also serves as geochemistry secretary for the Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology Section of the American Geophysical Union.[12]

Research initiatives[edit]

In her research, Shahar investigates how planets in the solar system formed and evolved through lab experiments that simulate the high temperature and pressure conditions that occur within Earth and other planets. She is the first person to perform stable isotope geochemistry experiments with high-temperature materials.[13] Her lab group determines how these conditions alter the ratios of isotopes in different planetary materials. Shahar utilizes this method to understand planetary processes ranging from the formation of the first solids in the solar system, CAIs, to core formation.[6][14][15]

Shahar measured the silicon isotope fractionation during silicate and iron interaction in experiments that simulate the formation of a metallic core and surrounding mantle, such as occurred during Earth's formation. The experiments suggest that silicon may be one of the lighter elements that make up Earth’s core, along with iron and nickel.[14][16] Shahar’s lab group also investigates how the presence of magnesium, sulfur, and nickel[17] affect iron isotopic fractionation in planetary and asteroid materials.[18]


  1. ^ "Shahar". Geophysical Laboratory. 2016-06-17. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  2. ^ "Anat Shahar | Department of Geology". Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  3. ^ "Anat Shahar". Carnegie Institution for Science. 2014-11-10. Retrieved 2017-12-29.
  4. ^ "Anat Shahar - CV". Retrieved 2017-12-29.
  5. ^ "Center for Meteorite Studies | Founded 1961" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-12-05.
  6. ^ a b Shahar, A.; Young, E. (2007-05-30). "Astrophysics of CAI formation as revealed by silicon isotope LA-MC-ICPMS of an igneous CAI". Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 257 (3–4): 497–510. Bibcode:2007E&PSL.257..497S. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2007.03.012. ISSN 0012-821X.
  7. ^ Mao, W.; Shu, J.; Xiao, Y.; Reagan, M. M.; Gleason, A. E.; Caracas, R.; Schauble, E. A.; Shahar, A. (2016-04-29). "Pressure-dependent isotopic composition of iron alloys". Science. 352 (6285): 580–582. Bibcode:2016Sci...352..580S. doi:10.1126/science.aad9945. ISSN 1095-9203. PMID 27126042.
  8. ^ "Geochemical detectives use lab mimicry to look back in time". EurekAlert!. Retrieved 2018-12-05.
  9. ^ "Crushing Pressures Start to Reveal the Truth about Earth's Core | Advanced Photon Source". Retrieved 2018-12-05.
  10. ^ "Anat Shahar named 2015 F.W. Clarke Medalist". Retrieved 2017-12-29.
  11. ^ "Mineralogical Society of America - MSA Award". Retrieved 2017-12-29.
  12. ^ "Leadership - Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology". Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology. Retrieved 2017-12-29.
  13. ^ Than, Ker. "Crushing Pressures Start to Reveal the Truth About Earth's Core". Smithsonian. Retrieved 2017-12-29.
  14. ^ a b Shahar, Anat; Ziegler, Karen; Young, Edward D.; Ricolleau, Angele; Schauble, Edwin A.; Fei, Yingwei (2009-10-30). "Experimentally determined Si isotope fractionation between silicate and Fe metal and implications for Earth's core formation". Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 288 (1–2): 228–234. Bibcode:2009E&PSL.288..228S. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2009.09.025.
  15. ^ Shahar, Anat; Hillgren, Valerie J.; Young, Edward D.; Fei, Yingwei; MacRis, Catherine A.; Deng, Liwei (2011-12-01). "High-temperature Si isotope fractionation between iron metal and silicate". Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 75 (23): 7688–7697. Bibcode:2011GeCoA..75.7688S. doi:10.1016/j.gca.2011.09.038. ISSN 0016-7037.
  16. ^ Young, Edward (5 May 2017). "Presentation of the Mineralogical Society of America Award for 2016 to Anat Shahar" (PDF). American Mineralogist. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  17. ^ "Nickel helps scientists iron out a core planetary mystery | Cosmos". Retrieved 2017-12-29.
  18. ^ "Anat Shahar - Research". Retrieved 2017-12-29.

Further reading[edit]