DIF Studio Biosphere 2: The World's Largest Earth Sciences Experiment

  • Speakers:
  • John Adams

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Arizona, 1987: a group of scientists created a research facility designed to mimic and research some of our planet's living systems without any assistance from the outside world. They called the 3-acre domed structure Biosphere 2. A group of scientists were sent in to live and research inside the facility, but the experiment was short-lived: the dome lost oxygen and had difficulty in growing enough food for the crew. A second attempt ran into similar problems, but all was not lost: this incredible facility is now used as for some of the world's largest earth sciences experiments. In a context where we increasingly look to nature for inspiration for solutions to some of our largest challenges, join us to interact with a story about natural systems at a massive scale.

We'll also speak to participants from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's immersive learning programme, From Linear to Circular. 44 young professionals and students have just finished a week of studying, debating and designing a circular economy. We'll speak to 3 of the participants to find out what they've doing, why they chose to be a part of the programme, and how they will apply what they've learned to their studies and careers.


John Adams

John Adams

Deputy Director University of Arizona

For two decades, John Adams has helped drive the evolution of Biosphere 2 through positions of progressive responsibility and oversight. Starting in 1995, Adams became Senior Research Specialist at Biosphere 2, leading all terrestrial experiments inside Biosphere 2. Building on his deep knowledge of the facility and its science, Adams became Biosphere 2's Media Coordinator and Public Spokesperson at Columbia University in 1999. At the same time, Adams assumed leadership for B2's exhibits and public outreach staff of 80. After a year in the private industry biotech sector, Adams' returned to B2 in 2004, bringing his unique institutional knowledge of the facility to bear as a critical member of the B2 transition team.

Adams' experience and vision filled critical roles throughout that period in the positions of Facilities Manager, Health & Safety Supervisor, Public Outreach Coordinator and Biological systems manager, culminating in his being named Assistant Director of Planning and Facilities, a mantle he held for seven years. In 2014, Adams advanced to his current leadership role of Biosphere 2 Deputy Director. In part, the promotion marked a return to his roots, engaging as a key member of the team that plans and directs all research and related activities inside Biosphere 2 and the surrounding campus.

Beyond research, however, as Deputy Director Adams also holds responsibility for planning and direction of site operations and Under the Glass activities, serving as B2's primary spokesperson and media contact, overseeing biome management, energy management and facilities maintenance and setting the vision for public outreach.


Sebastian Egerton-Read

Sebastian Egerton-Read

Seb is one of the two Ellen MacArthur Foundation's DIF Managers. He makes sure the DIF’s content reaches the right people on a global scale through resourceful and creative marketing. He also feeds into the DIF's long-term strategy. When Seb isn’t working on the DIF, he’s busy managing the Foundation’s social media accounts and producing regular content across platforms as well as writing for Circulate news.

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