On March 30, 2023, 55 individuals gathered to hear Professor David Bercovici present CIERA’s Interdisciplinary Colloquium. His talk, “Origin, Evolution and Habitability of Planet Earth”, explored how habitability is about more than just being at the Goldilocks distance to a host star to allow liquid water. To expand upon this, he detailed challenges of planetary formation, the formation of our Moon, and the origin of our oceans and atmospheres, and the plate tectonic-driven geological carbon cycle.
Introduced by assistant professor in the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences and CIERA member Elvira Mulyukova, Dr. Bercovici is the Frederick William Beinecke Professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences at Yale University. He received his BS in Physics from Harvey Mudd College in 1982, and his PhD in Geophysics & Space Physics from UCLA in 1989. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (1989-1990) and a faculty member at the University of Hawaii from 1990-2000; he moved to Yale in 2001 where he has been ever since. His expertise lies in geological fluid dynamics, primarily mantle and lithosphere dynamics in Earth and other terrestrial planets. He is especially recognized for his theoretical work on the physics governing why Earth (unlike other known terrestrial planets) has plate tectonics, as well as for models of water cycling and storage in the mantle and its role in Earth’s geochemical evolution.