William Alba

Faculty Fellow

Former Fellows

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 collate 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 Astrobotic’s 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 he is Director of the SHS and Director of the Advanced Placement Early Admission Program. Previously he was Associate Dean of Studies at Bard High School Early College in New York City; Tutor [Assistant Professor] at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Founder and Director of the Monte Sol Writing Workshop; Assistant Professor of Liberal Arts and the Coordinator of Mathematics and Science at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Bard College and a Faculty Associate at the Bard Institute for Writing and Thinking; and Instructor of Chemistry and Physics, Search and Rescue Leader, and House Counselor at Phillips Academy. He wrote and designed An Oz Album, a book of concrete poetry.

He regularly teaches Revolutions of Circularity, a history of ideas seminar focused on the circle through Western classics in philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, architecture, physics, and literature, and Meaning Across the Millennia, a project-based course on time capsules and communication with potential extraterrestrial intelligence. His teaching portfolio includes introductory optics, Ancient Greek, mathematics of biological and social phenomena, classical rhetoric, logic, geometry of art and nature, chemistry of food and cooking, writing seminars on utopias and dystopias and on the rise of modernism, general chemistry, physical chemistry, calculus, and astronomy. He is active in general education revision, academic program development, and course innovation.

He 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 in the early stages of other projects that span humanities, engineering, science, and design.