Gidon Eshel is a research professor of environmental physics at Bard College and runs the website environmentalCalculations.com. He is best known for his work quantifying the geophysical consequences of agriculture and diet. Most recently, he has compared various livestock in terms of land and water use, fertilizer-based water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions per unit product and compared the global-warming consequences of different beef-production strategies (including grass- versus trough-fed beef). His widely varied scientific interests also include the development of algebraic tools for simultaneous optimization of health and environmental outcomes through dietary choices, climate physics, and measures of time scale–specific ecosystem stability.
At Radcliffe, Eshel is collaborating with scientists from the Harvard University Center for the Environment and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health on developing multi-objective metrics of diet. The metrics combine disparate environmental impacts (e.g., greenhouse gas emissions or water and land use) with health outcomes (e.g., cardio- and cerebrovascular diseases or diabetes) in a manner most suitable for using in optimizations designed to improve public health while easing environmental burdens.
Eshel studied physics and earth sciences at the Technion and the University of Haifa, in Israel, before getting an MA, an MPhil, and a PhD at Columbia University in mathematical geophysics. Before his post at Bard, he was a NOAA Climate & Global Change Postdoctoral Fellow hosted by Harvard, a staff scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and a faculty member of the Department of the Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago.