Ken Nealson is holder of the Wrigley Chair in Geobiology and Professor of Earth sciences at the University of Southern California. His current research focuses on the evolution of life in the universe and microbial life in extreme environments.
He gained recognition in the 1970s with his groundbreaking Ph.D. by discovering the mechanism by which bacteria communicate with each other. But Nealson’s collective body of research has become even more acclaimed since the discovery of quorum sensing. He has revealed new organisms and even spent time advising NASA on how to detect life on other planets.