Ariel Waldman makes “massively multiplayer science”, instigating unusual collaborations that spark clever creations for science and space exploration.
Ariel is the founder of Spacehack.org, a directory of ways to participate in space exploration, and the global director of Science Hack Day, a 20-countries-and-growing grassroots endeavor to make things with science. She is the author of What’s It Like in Space?: Stories from Astronauts Who’ve Been There and the co-author of a congressionally-requested National Academy of Sciences report on the future of human spaceflight. She sits on the council for NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC), a program that nurtures radical, sci-fi-esque ideas that could transform future space missions. In 2013, Ariel received an honor from the White House for being a Champion of Change in citizen science.
For her work on Science Hack Day, Ariel has been awarded grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, as well as a fellowship at Institute For The Future. In 2012, she authored a white paper on Democratized Science Instrumentation that was presented to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. In 2015, she launched Spaceprob.es, a catalog of the active human-made machines that freckle our solar system and dot our galaxy. Previously, Ariel worked at NASA’s CoLab program whose mission was to connect communities inside and outside NASA to collaborate.
Although her home base is in San Francisco, Ariel loves to travel across the globe to speak to a variety of audiences and work on fun projects. She has keynoted DARPA’s 100 Year Starship Symposium and OSCON, as well as appeared on the SyFy channel and the Science Channel. Her work with Science Hack Day has taken her to Colombia, China, Kenya, Madagascar, Mexico, Russia and South Africa to help grow budding science enthusiast communities.
Ariel originally grew up in Kansas where she worked at the interactive ad agency VML as a digital anthropologist and attended art school at the Kansas City Art Institute. Never having anticipated that she would one day stumble into a gig at NASA, her mission is now to enlighten others on how anyone can actively contribute to the furthering of science and space exploration in clever new ways.
Ariel Waldman’s TEDx talk on making science disruptively accessible: