William Alba is founder of Earth Tapestry , which seeks to identify and commemorate locations conveying the richness of our planet. Locations will be determined by crowdsourcing, with a website to gather suggestions and data analytics methods to aggregate individual preferences. The information will be preserved in redundant deep archives, including on the surface of the Moon with the Astrobotic lunar robot in 2015. Global in content, massively participatory, and enduring for millions of years, Earth Tapestry is the first project to involve humanity in active conversation with itself about communicating with distant intelligences.
At Carnegie Mellon University he is Director of the Science and Humanities Scholars Program, Director of the Advanced Placement Early Admission Program, and Fellow with the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry . Previously he held positions with Bard College, St. John’s College in Santa Fe, the Monte Sol Writing Workshop, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Phillips Academy. He wrote and designed An Oz Album, a book of concrete poetry.
With an extensive teaching portfolio, he currently teaches a history of ideas seminar focused on the circle through Western classics in philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, architecture, physics, and literature, and a project-based course on time capsules and communication with potential extraterrestrial intelligence. He is active in general education revision, academic program development, and course innovation.
Alba holds an A.B. in Chemistry from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to Earth Tapestry, he is developing other projects that span humanities, engineering, science, and design.