Lisa Dyson

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Lisa Dyson
Alma materMassachusetts Institute of Technology

Imperial College London

Brandeis University
Scientific career
InstitutionsStanford University

University of California, Berkeley

Princeton University
ThesisThree lessons in causality : what string theory has to say about naked singularities, time travel and horizon complementarity (2004)
Doctoral advisorLeonard Susskind

Lisa Dyson is an American scientist and entrepreneur. She is the CEO of Kiverdi, a biotechnology company that uses natural microbes to transform carbon dioxide and other gases into high-valued proteins, oils, nutrients and bio-based products.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Dyson grew up in Southern California.[3] Dyson completed a bachelor's degree in mathematics at Brandeis University in 1997.[3] After meeting several physics professors, she became more interested in Quantum Field Theory.[3] She was a Fulbright Scholar at Imperial College London, where she received a Masters of Science. Dyson earned her PhD at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2004, working with Leonard Susskind and on quantum gravity.[4] Her thesis, "Three lessons in causality : what string theory has to say about naked singularities, time travel and horizon complementarity", used string theory and General Relativity.[4] She was only the fourth black woman to achieve a PhD in theoretical high energy physics.[5] She worked Matthew Kleban on the Boltzmann Brain problem.[6][7][8]


After completing her PhD, Dyson joined University of California, Berkeley.[6] Dyson worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University and Princeton.[9] She worked as a consultant at Boston Consulting Group between 2004 and 2006.[10][11] She has worked with the chemical and energy industry.[12]

In 2008 she founded Kiverdi, a technology company that looks to revolutionise agriculture.[3][13] Instead of concentrating on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, Kiverdi look to reuse CO2 into proteins and oils.[14] She came across the concept when reading NASA papers, where astronauts had used hydrogenotrophs to convert carbon dioxide in exhaled breath into nutrient rich crops.[15] She started to grow the microbes in her lab, working with manufacturers to scale-up their technology.[15] They are also interested in alternative fuels and bio-products.[16] In 2012 she was awarded the Sustainable Biofuels Award for Leader in Bio-based Chemical Industry.[17] In 2014 she was presented a Clean Energy Education & Empowerment Award.[9] The company were awarded grants from the United States Department of Energy.[3] It won a $750,000 grant from the California Energy Commission.[17] She has several patent applications relating to carbon dioxide fixing chemotropic microorganisms.[18][19]

She has delivered several TED talks, including Turning CO2 into Oil, and A forgotten Space Age technology could change how we grow food, which has been viewed over one million times.[20][21] She has spoken extensively about carbon recycling,[22] and appeared on the PBS Nova program Decoding the Weather Machine


  1. ^ "Lisa Dyson, Most Creative People 2017 | Fast Company". Fast Company. Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  2. ^ "#RaceOnTech: How An Early Love Of Math Led Her To The Role Of CEO". Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Harnessing the Power of Waste | Brandeis Magazine". Brandeis Magazine. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  4. ^ a b "Three lessons in causality : what string theory has to say about naked singularities, time travel and horizon complementarity". Leonard Susskind and Washington Taylor., Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Physics., Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Physics. 2004. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: others (link)
  5. ^ Prescod-Weinstein, Chanda (2015-05-24). "The Five Black Women PhDs of Theoretical High Energy Physics". Medium. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  6. ^ a b Overbye, Dennis (2008). "Big Brain Theory: Have Cosmologists Lost Theirs?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  7. ^ Dyson, Lisa; Kleban, Matthew; Susskind, Leonard (2002). "Disturbing Implications of a Cosmological Constant". Journal of High Energy Physics. 2002 (10): 011. arXiv:hep-th/0208013. doi:10.1088/1126-6708/2002/10/011. ISSN 1126-6708.
  8. ^ 1966-, Carroll, Sean M.,. From eternity to here : the quest for the ultimate theory of time. Oxford. ISBN 9781851688906. OCLC 892059776.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  9. ^ a b "Lisa Dyson". Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  10. ^ "Lisa Dyson «  Sustainable Brands '16 San Diego". Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  11. ^ "Lisa Dyson | Speakers Bureau and Booking Agent Info". Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  12. ^ "Circular - Closing the loop: how a forgotten Space Age technology could change how we grow our food - Mediachange - Casestudyourself!". Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  13. ^ "7 tech companies you need to know". Rolling Out. 2018-03-25. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  14. ^ Dyson, Lisa. "Lisa Dyson | Speaker | TED". Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  15. ^ a b "Food for thought: How to feed the world with old school NASA tricks – fruitworldmedia". Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  16. ^ "PhD Alumna Lisa Dyson Founder and CEO of Kiverdi | Office of Graduate Education". Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  17. ^ a b Inc., Kiverdi,. "Kiverdi Receives Energy Commission Funding for Its Pioneering Carbon Conversion Platform". GlobeNewswire News Room. Retrieved 2018-04-30.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  18. ^ Engineered CO2-Fixing Chemotrophic Microorganisms Producing Carbon-Based Products and Methods of Using the Same, 2013-03-15, retrieved 2018-04-30
  19. ^ Industrial fatty acid engineering general system for modifying fatty acids, 2012-09-19, retrieved 2018-04-30
  20. ^ TEDx Talks (2014-05-06), Turning CO2 into oil: Lisa Dyson at TEDxFulbright, retrieved 2018-04-30
  21. ^ Dyson, Lisa, A forgotten Space Age technology could change how we grow food, retrieved 2018-04-30
  22. ^ (2016-08-06), Carbon Recycling - Lisa Dyson at at Google SF HQ, retrieved 2018-04-30