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Earth/Mars Expert to Lecture at ASU

March 02, 2012

Dr. Jack D. Farmer, co-principal investigator in the NASA Office of Solar System Exploration, will deliver the 36th annual West Texas Medical Associates Distinguished Lectureship in Science Honoring Dr. Roy E. Moon on Tuesday, March 27, in Angelo State University’s Houston Harte University Center, 1910 Rosemont Drive.

Farmer’s presentation, titled “Astrobiology: Exploring for Life Beyond Earth,” will begin at 8 p.m. March 27 in the University Center’s C.J. Davidson Conference Center.  Prior to the public lecture, Farmer will also meet with ASU students to discuss “The Search for a Past or Present Martian Biosphere” at 2 p.m.  Both lectures are open free to the public. 

A recognized expert in the development of early life on Earth, Farmer is also at the forefront of various NASA efforts to explore and study the planet Mars.  Also a professor of geosciences in Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, he splits his time between researching the early development of life on Earth, the astrobiological exploration of Mars and the search for extraterrestrial life in our solar system.  His specific extraterrestrial research projects include landing site selection for Mars exopaleontology, past and present habitable environments on Mars, instrument development for life detection missions to Mars, robotic geological characterization of Mars and lunar landing sites, and human-robotic interactions in lunar and Mars exploration. 

The author or co-author of more than 100 peer-reviewed research papers, Farmer has also published more than 100 research abstracts presented at national and international conferences, and compiled numerous reports for NASA and the National Research Council.  He is associate editor of the scientific journal Astrobiology, and previously served as associate editor for the International Journal of Astrobiology and the journals Geobiology and Origin of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere.           

A widely sought after speaker, Farmer has delivered scores of lectures throughout the world, and has organized dozens of workshops, symposia and field conferences.   He has also been interviewed by numerous print, online, radio and television media, including appearances on PBS, CNN, the Discovery Channel, the Japanese NHK network, several Canadian programs and the BBC in England. 

Farmer’s many honors and awards include numerous Group Achievement and Best Team Achievement awards for his work at NASA, a Recognition Award from the American Indian Science and Engineering Society and an American Publisher Joint Award to Co-Authors for Excellence in Scholarly Publishing.  In 1998, he was named Outstanding Alumnus of the College of Natural Sciences at California State University-Chico.  He is a member of the Geological Society of America, American Geophysical Union, Palaeontological Society and Society for Sedimentary Geology. 

Farmer received his Ph.D. in geology/paleobiology from the University of California-Davis.  He also holds a master’s degree in geology from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in geology from Cal State-Chico. 

The WTMA Lectureship honors Dr. Roy E. Moon, a longtimeSan Angeloobstetrician and gynecologist, who died in 1976.  He practiced for 28 years with Clinic Hospital Medical Associates, now West Texas Medical Associates.  The lectureship was established in 1976 and is underwritten by a grant to ASU from members of WTMA. 

Each year, the lectureship brings a scientist of national prominence to ASU for public lectures, colloquia and informal discussions. 

The selection committee is chaired by Dr. Paul Swets, dean of the ASU College of Arts and Sciences, and includes Dr. Crosby Jones, professor of biology; Dr. Toni Sauncy, associate professor of physics; Dr. John Osterhout, head of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department; WTMA physicians, Dr. Patrick Gibson, Dr. Deborah Hajovsky and Dr. Joe Wilkinson; and retired physician Dr. Fazlur Rahman. 

For more information, call the ASU College of Arts and Sciences at 325-942-2162.


College of Arts and Sciences