HS ASCEND Ved Chirayath

Ved Chirayath

G. Unger Vetlesen Professor of Earth Sciences, Director, Aircraft Center for Earth Studies (ACES), University of Miami

Ved Chirayath is the G. Unger Vetlesen Endowed Professor of Earth Sciences, Director of the Aircraft Center for Earth Studies (ACES), and National Geographic Explorer at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

After earning his Ph.D. from Stanford University, Chirayath invented next-generation sensing technologies for NASA for ten years as Director of the NASA Laboratory for Advanced Sensing in Silicon Valley. His inventions are used to study and protect life on Earth, while also searching for life elsewhere in the universe. Presently, he is mapping our ocean floor, especially coral reefs and shallow marine ecosystems. Chirayath leads a multi-disciplinary team developing new instrumentation for underwater, airborne, and spaceborne remote sensing and communications and validates instrumentation through scientific field campaigns around the world, often in extreme environments that serve as analogs for planetary science and ocean worlds applications.

Chirayath is the inventor of FluidCam, fluid lensing, MiDAR, NeMO-Net, and a plasma-actuated drone. Chirayath received the American Geophysical Union’s 2020 Charles S. Falkenberg Award, the 2017 NASA Early Career for “significant advances in aquatic remote sensing technology,” and the 2016 NASA Equal Employment Opportunity Medal for organizing NASA’s first participation in the San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade. Chirayath is also a professional photographer with work featured in Vogue, the New York Times, Vanity Fair, National Geographic, and Elle.

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