Steve Desch

Professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University

Dr. Steve Desch is a Professor of astrophysics in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University (2003-present). In 1998 he earned a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, with a background in physics and astrophysics. Throughout his career he has applied these skills to interdisciplinary problems, broadening his research to meteoritics, planet formation and evolution, astrobiology, exoplanets, and now the Arctic. Steve Desch was the 2003 recipient of the Alfred O. Nier Prize of the Meteoritical Society for his work modeling the formation of chondrules, millimeter-sized melt droplets found in abundance in meteorites. He has developed models of the internal thermal evolution and structure of Pluto’s moon Charon, and the largest asteroid, Ceres; each at the forefront of research to interpret data from the New Horizons and Dawn spacecraft.  He is the Chair of the NASA-sponsored biennial Astrobiology Science Conference, as well as the principal investigator of a NASA-sponsored project at ASU working to understand geochemical cycles on exoplanets. Most recently, Steve Desch has expanded his horizons to consider Earth as a planet, and to develop strategies for managing and maintaining sea ice in the Arctic.