Sarah’s Biography

Sarah T. Stewart is a Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. Previously she was a professor at U. California, Davis and Harvard University.

Sarah is a planetary scientist who specializes in the study of collisions in the solar system. Her research encompasses the formation and destruction of planets, planetary geology, and materials science. She is best known for proposing a new model for the origin of the Moon, where the Moon grows within a new type of planetary object known as a synestia. Sarah’s experimental program on planetary materials focuses on measurements of thermodynamic properties and calculating the mass of melt and vapor produced during planetary impact events. Sarah conducts shock experiments on gas gun, laser, and pulsed power platforms.

Sarah received her AB in Astrophysics and Physics from Harvard in 1995 and her PhD in Planetary Science from the California Institute of Technology in 2002. She has won awards and honors for her scholarship, including a MacArthur Fellowship, the Urey Prize from the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Sarah was President of the Planetary Sciences Section of the American Geophysical Union from 2016-2018. Sarah is dedicated to public outreach in planetary sciences and a featured TED speaker.

More about Sarah

Curriculum Vitae

Sarah T. Stewart

School of Earth and Space Exploration
Arizona State University
sstewa56 at asu dot edu


Ph.D., Planetary Sciences, minor Astrophysics, California Institute of Technology, 2002
A.B., Astronomy & Astrophysics and Physics cum laude, Harvard University, 1995

Professional Positions

Professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, July 2024+
Professor, Dept. Earth and Planetary Sciences, U. California Davis, 2014-2024
Visiting Professor, Dept. Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, 2014-2016
Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, 2012-2014
John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Natural Sciences, Harvard University, 2009-2012
Assistant Professor of Planetary Science, Harvard University, 2003-2009
Carnegie Postdoctoral Fellow, Carnegie Institution of Washington, 2002-2003

Academic Honors

Stephen E. Dwornik Student Paper Award, Geological Society of America, 2001
Carnegie Institution of Washington Grove Karl Gilbert Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2002
Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, 2003
Harold C. Urey Prize, American Astronomical Society, 2009
Inaugural Ahrens Lecturer, Division of Geological and Planetary, Caltech, 2014
MacArthur Fellow, 2018-2023
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2019
McDonnell Distinguished Lecturer, Washington University in St. Louis, 2023
Fellow, American Physical Society, 2023

Media Recognition

Brilliant 10, Popular Science, 2010
Astronomy’s Rising Stars, Astronomy Magazine, 2013
Early Earth’s Iron Rain Explained, Discover Magazine Top 100 Stories of 2015
Featured on, 2019

Societies and Affiliations

American Geophysical Union, President of Planetary Sciences Section (2016-2018)
American Astronomical Society, Division for Planetary Sciences
American Physical Society, Topical Group on Compression of Condensed Matter (fellow)
American Association for the Advancement of Science (fellow)
Meteoritical Society
International Astronomical Union