- Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering
Robin Wordsworth’s research is focused on the processes that shape planetary climate and habitability, both in the Solar System and around other stars. Currently active research topics include the nature of Mars’ atmosphere and hydrological cycle during the late Noachian (ca. 3-4 billion years ago), the rate of water loss from Earth and Venus soon after their formation, and the extent to which molecules like O2 can be treated as markers for carbon-based life in the atmospheres of rocky planets around other stars.
Atmospheric evolution is strongly dependent on a range of exterior and interior processes, so much of this research is highly interdisciplinary, combining radiative transfer, chemistry, and fluid dynamical modelling. Typically, a hierarchical approach is taken, where insights from complex numerical simulations are combined with simplified modeling and analysis. The long-term goal is to develop general theories of rocky planet climate evolution that can be used to make testable predictions for the vast numbers of low-mass exoplanets that are currently being discovered.
Robin completed a DPhil in Physics at Oxford University in the UK (2004-2008). He then pursued postdoctoral work at the Laboratoire de Meteorologie Dynamique in Paris, France and the University of Chicago in the USA, before joining the faculty at Harvard in 2014.