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Derek Sears

Emeritus University Professor

(University of Arkansas)

Senior Research Scientist

(Bay Area Environmental Research Institute at NASA

Ames Research Center)




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Welcome to my homepage.

Derek Sears



Water-color painting of the fall of the Boguslava meteorite in 1916


Apollo 16 astronauts on the Moon in 1972


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The surface of Mars from the Mars Pathfinder lander in 1997


Near-Earth asteroid (433) Eros imaged by the NEAR-Shoemaker spacecraft in 2001.


Big Southern Butte volcano on the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho, USA.


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One of the early pioneers in meteorite research was Edward Charles Howard shown in the center of this detail of an etching in the Royal Institution of London.



I am a Senior Research Scientist with the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, and Emeritus University Professor at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.


My research interests involve laboratory studies of extraterrestrial materials, especially meteorites and lunar samples, mostly using thermoluminescence and cathodoluminescence. Other interests include simulation of conditions on various solar system bodies, planetary analog studies of volcanism, and the history of meteoritics and planetary science. I have just completed a book on Gerard Kuiper.

Check out the links below for more information on my interests and publications.


Research Areas:

Luminescence properties of extraterrestrial materials

Induced Thermoluminescence Studies of Meteorites and Apollo lunar samples

Cathodoluminescence Mosaics of Meteorites

Natural Thermoluminescence Studies of Meteorites

Natural Thermoluminescence Survey of Meteorites from the Antarctic

Natural Thermoluminescence Database for Antarctic Meteorites

Compositional and petrographic studies of extraterrestrial materials

Chondrules from Meteorites and Apollo lunar samples

Enstatite Chondrite Meteorites

Simulations studies

Asteroid Surface Processes

Microgravity Experiments

Mars-Related Measurements and Experiments

Analog studies

Induced thermoluminescence dating of volcanism

Terrestrial volcanism as an analog of asteroid processes


History of Meteoritics and Planetary Science

My Publications

Publications Menu

My History

Until summer 2011, I was University Professor and W. M. Keck Professor at the University of Arkansas associated with the Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences (of which I was the founding director), the W. M. Keck Laboratory for Space Simulation and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. In the past I have performed instrumental neutron activation analysis and electron microprobe analysis. I have also worked on the surface processes occurring on Mars, asteroids and comets and have developed techniques to investigate these processes using microgravity and space simulation experiments. For thirty years I taught various chemistry courses at the undergraduate level and nuclear chemistry and cosmochemistry at the graduate level. Between 1991 and 2001, I was Editor of the research journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science. As Director of the Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences I created REU, MS, and PhD programs in space and planetary science. I have published three books and nearly 200 peer-reviewed research articles.


My Arkansas Research Group and Associates

Graduate Students

Post Doctoral Researchers

Staff Members

Photographs of my group 1981-1990

Photographs of my group 1991-2000

Photographs of my group 2001-2010

Group photos of my department 1982-1992

Photographs of friends and Colleagues

Awards received by members of the group

Tribute to Paul Kuroda and Cosmochemistry at Arkansas


For more information contact:

Dr. Derek W.G. Sears

Division of Space Science and Astrobiology

NASA Ames Research Center

Mail Stop 245-3

Moffett Field,

Mountain View,

CA 9403 USA

Email: click here

Last updated 18th May 2018