Dr. Brian Von Herzen

Founder & Executive Director, Climate Foundation

Brian Von Herzen obtained his A.B. in Physics, Magna Cum Laude, from Princeton University and his Ph.D. in Computer and Planetary Science from Caltech where he was the recipient of the prestigious Hertz Fellowship ( While at Princeton, Brian spent four years working closely with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.  At Princeton, his dissertation on global climate models demonstrated how changes in the Earth's orbit affects climate.  During his Caltech years Brian worked on models of the overabundance of carbon in Jupiter's atmosphere.  Little did he know that a decade later we would have to solve this problem for the Earth's atmosphere. From these experiences he acquired a detailed understanding of the Earth’s carbon cycle and has envisioned sustainable approaches to restoring carbon balance in our atmosphere.  Nature does a great job of fixing carbon.  Primary production on the Earth has been fixing carbon for billions of years.  By restoring natural carbon cycles, we can restore food productivity of Earth while concurrently balancing carbon.  Once we reduce the carbon intensity of our own lifestyles, natural biogeochemical processes can take our civilization carbon negative using technologies comprising biochar to withdraw gigatons of carbon from the atmosphere for millennia.

Much of Brian’s career has been in Silicon Valley, where he developed innovative technical solutions for companies like Pixar, Dolby, Microsoft, and others. Among other projects, he designed field programmable gate array (FPGA) applications considered to be among the world’s fastest at the time.

Brian leads projects on land and sea with  individuals and groups in all parts of the world, including India, Africa, and the USA.