Robin Bell received her undergraduate degree in geology from Middlebury College in Vermont and her PhD in geophysics from Columbia University in 1989.  Since completing her doctorate she has led research at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory on ice sheets, tectonics, rivers and mid-ocean ridges.  Currently Bell is the PGI Lamont Research Professor at Lamont where she directs research programs in Antarctica, Greenland, and developing technology to monitor our changing planet.

Research & Field Campaigns

Bell has coordinated ten major aero-geophysical expeditions to Antarctica and Greenland, studying what makes ice sheets collapse.  She has discovered a volcano beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet, several large lakes locked beneath 2 miles of ice and demonstrated that ice sheets can thicken from below. Bell led a Lamont team to map the Hudson River from Staten Island to Albany. In 2006 Bell received an honorary degree from Middlebury College and had an Antarctic Mountain named for her.  During the International Polar Year, Bell lead a major expedition to Antarctica to explore the last unknown mountain range on Earth, the Gamburtsev Mountains completely covered with ice in East Antarctica. Here the Team discovered that water hidden beneath the ice sheet runs uphill. Using the new IcePod and gravity technologies, Bell’s team is presently exploring the Ross Ice Shelf, a floating piece of ice the size of France that covers the least known piece of ocean floor on our planet.


Bell is a passionate sailor. Bell and her husband have crossed the Atlantic four times, sailed the coasts of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia and chased icebergs in the Labrador Sea. 

Bell rides an electric motorcycle.