Change the world

Research @ Mandela

Research Chair: Earth Systems Science

David Bell

Professor David Bell

Primary discipline: Earth and Marine Sciences

Faculty: Science

Relevance of research

The research is relevant to understanding patterns of global change, to local environmental sustainability, to

minerals, energy, and water resources, and to human curiosity about life elsewhere in the galaxy.

Biosketch of incumbent

Professor Bell was born and raised in Cape Town, earning BSc (Zoology, Chemistry, Geology) and BSc

Hons (Geology) degrees from the University of Cape Town (UCT), followed by a PhD in Geochemistry

from the California Institute of Technology. He has held research positions at the Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, UCT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Arizona State University.

Current research interests:

  • Geochemical approaches to understanding the processes by which planets form and evolve, with an
  • emphasis on chemical and isotopic analysis of natural materials;
  • The coupling between deep interior processes and surface environments on Earth and other planets,
  • focusing on the roles of water and carbon;
  • Continental lithosphere as an archive of long-term global change;
  • Integration of geochemical approaches into transdisciplinary studies of environmental evolution and
  • sustainability in southern Africa; and
  • Complex systems-based approaches to Earth and space sciences and sustainability.