About SSoCIA

Photo courtesy of NASA.

NASA’s chief scientist recently announced what those in astrobiology have known for some time: “I think we’re going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we’re going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years.” If she is right, we are on the brink of one of the most important discoveries in human history. Should this come to pass, we will immediately confront a series of extremely complex challenges that cannot be resolved without strong input from disciplines other than the natural sciences. NASA’s vision for astrobiology, as well as nascent European efforts, are far ranging and include broad questions about the future of life in the universe. Yet these issues have received much less attention than the hard science. SSoCIA was formed as a new academic society to help correct this deficit, starting a wider conversation on these matters.

Prior to the formation of SSoCIA, two workshops were held, in 2016 and 2018, to bring together a small group of younger scholars (especially graduate students) and senior researchers in an atmosphere of informal exchange.  The success of these workshops led to the formation of SSoCIA as a the first academic organization devoted to the study of astrobiology in particular and space exploration more generally from the perspective of the social sciences and humanities.

SSoCIA is located at Clemson University in South Carolina, USA.

Kelly C. Smith, M.S., Ph.D.,  Da.D.
Founding President
Clinical Professor of Medicine, USC School of Medicine, Greenville
Assoc. Professor of Philosophy & Biological Sciences
Clemson University

William Alba, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean for Diversity, Mellon College of Science
Associate Teaching Professor, Department of Chemistry
Director, Science and Humanities Scholars Program
Carnegie Mellon University

Lucas Mix, M.Div., Ph.D., S.O.Sc.
Associate, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
Ronin Institute


John W. Traphagan, M.A.R, Ph.D.
Board Member at Large and Website Manager
Professor of Religious Studies and Human Dimensions of Organizations
University of Texas at Austin


Sheri Beth Wells-Jensen, M.A., Ph.D.
Board Member at Large
Associate Professor of Linguistics
Bowling Green State University