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My name is Arash Sharifi. I was born in 1968 in Huntington Beach, California. My parents moved back to Iran when I was only six months old and I grew up in Tehran, the capital of Iran. So you can say I'm an Iranian (Persian) who was born in the US.

My childhood memories, as far back as I can remember, are of an insatiable interest in nature and most of my weekends and holidays were spent out in the country, exploring the wondrous wilderness of Iran. I believe this was the main reason behind my interest in pursuit of both the physical sciences and arts. A larger part of my youth was spent experimenting and studying chemistry, geology and biology and practicing painting, calligraphy, photography and drawing.

My interest in science finally led me to studying geology at the University of Isfahan in 1988. While doing my undergraduate studies, I extended my experience for sharing science with general public by becoming a curator for the geology division of the Isfahan Natural History Museum.

In 1993, I admitted to the University of Tehran to study in detail one of the fields that I found most intriguing during my undergraduate; Petrology. With respect to my research work, I always found myself strongly inclined towards the geochemistry and elemental changes during the geological processes which later on comprised my master's thesis. I studied the petrogenesis of the garnitoids in the Central Iranian Block with special emphasis on elemental changes during the metasomatic processes.

To complete my versatility, I also attended the photography school at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Tehran and received my diploma in photography in 1995.

Parallel to my graduate studies, I also began working part time in the research institute on the "Complementary Studies on Geodynamic of Iran" as a team member in petrology and geochemistry division. This was my first step toward seriously working with the large amount of geochemical data and which leads to publishing my first book; a two volume book on the Geochemical Characteristics of the Magmatic Rocks of Iran.

In 1997, I joined the Iranian National Institute for Oceanography and Atmospheric Science (INIOAS) as a research geologist and basically made a very challenging move by working in a new field at the newly born institute. My career in INIOAS has opened  new windows to my life. I found the new aspects of geochemistry and environmental geology and I also discovered my ability in building up something from the ground zero. I established the Marine Geology Laboratory at INIOAS in 2003.

In 2005 I left Iran and returned to United State to pursue my Ph.D. To study the Earth as a synergistic physical system of interrelated processes, in 2008, I admitted to Earth System Science program at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). This multidisciplinary program has broadened my view toward the earth science and helped me to understand the impact of the human on the earth system better. I received my second M.Sc. degree in earth system science in 2009.

I joined Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) at the University of Miami (UM) in January 2010 which I started my Ph.D. The Marine Geology and Geophysics division (MGG) offered me a unique opertunity to learn from the pioneers of paleoceanoography and paleoclimate and have a first hand experience on top of the line lab facilities.

Photo by Maryam Hooshvar

"I am a person who's been drifting within the worlds of Science and Art, and my life is also divided between the two. At work, my colleagues see me as an artist who knows about geology, and my friends see me as a geologist who has spent half his life climbing mountains, collecting rocks and camping out in deserts and mountains. But the truth is they are all wrong about me, geology and art. To me, geology is indeed the art of observing the world around you in a detailed manner, which helps you listen to the deep call of nature, and ponder life."