Jesse H. Ausubel, M.A.Director and Senior Research Associate
Program for the Human Environment
Mr. Ausubel studies environmental science and technology and industrial evolution. His research focuses on long-term technical change; its relationship with the evolving productivity of energy, materials, land and other resources; and the consequences for human populations. Underlying his work are studies of the mathematics of growth and diffusion.
Recognizing the growing connection between environment and various activities underway at the university, Mr. Ausubel’s program houses research, organizes meetings on topics of interest to the campus community, hosts visiting scientists in environmental fields and encourages collaborations among faculty and students. The program also communicates the results of environmental studies involving the university to scientists and the public.
Under auspices of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Mr. Ausubel led development of an international program to assess and explain the diversity, distribution and abundance of life in the oceans: the Census of Marine Life. Involvement in the marine census led to environmental genomics, and researchers in the program have explored and advanced the use of very short DNA sequences for species identification, the so-called "Barcode of Life." In addition, with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur and Alfred P. Sloan foundations, Mr. Ausubel and his collaborators have participated in creation of the Encyclopedia of Life, a Web site aiming to catalog all of Earth’s 1.9 million known and named species. Under Sloan auspices, Mr. Ausubel is now helping lead the Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO), a decadal program to probe secrets of volcanoes and diamonds, sources of oil and gas, and origins and limits of life.
Mr. Ausubel received his bachelor's degree from Harvard College and two master's degrees from Columbia University. He has been a resident fellow at the National Academy of Sciences' Climate Research Board, study director at the National Research Council's Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate and director of programs for the National Academy of Engineering. He joined The Rockefeller University as a fellow in science and public policy in 1989 and became senior research associate and director of the Program for the Human Environment in 1993. He worked as a program director for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation from 1994 until 2012. He is an adjunct faculty member of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, University Fellow of Resources for the Future and member of the Council on Foreign Relations.