Robert obtained his Ph.D. in experimental/theoretical physics in January 2010 from UC Berkeley. His expertise focuses on the statistical analysis of large data sets, including experience dealing with data biases and errors that typically accompany diverse data collections. He led the development of the Berkeley Earth temperature analysis, which has used more than a billion instrumental temperature observations to reconstruct the historical climate of the Earth. By bringing in more data and applying modern statistical techniques, Berkeley Earth was able to provide a longer and more detailed history of climate change. This analysis is now widely cited and used in the scientific discussion of global warming.
Robert has also worked with Berkeley Earth to develop real-time and historical analyses of air quality for many regions of the Earth. This work has helped to quantify the impact of air pollution on human health.
Prior to Berkeley Earth, Robert is the co-author (with Richard Muller) of a series of papers on the analysis of biodiversity in the fossil record. He was also the author (with P. Buford Price) of papers working to understand several aspects of ice cores and role of microbial life in glacial ice. His Ph.D. thesis was on The Development and Use of the Berkeley Fluorescence Spectrometer to Characterize Microbial Content and Detect Volcanic Ash in Glacial Ice.
For decades, Robert has spent part of his time as a scientific communicator and producer of scientific visualizations. His graphics and insights have frequently appeared in mass media such as the Washington Post, New York Times, Wikipedia, and other venues.