Ariel Waldman

Explorer and documentary-maker

Speaker Themes

  • Collaboration
  • Innovation
  • Creativity
  • Leadership
  • Adventure and exploration
  • Exploring the Antarctic
  • Space exploration

Travels from

San Francisco, USA


Ariel Waldman creates imaginative projects that explore the world below our feet and beyond our atmosphere.

As an Antarctic explorer and microscopic wildlife filmmaker, she led an expedition to film life under the ice in Antarctica, which became the subject of her TED Talk. An art school graduate who pivoted to science, she was recognized by the Obama White House as a Champion of Change in citizen science.

Ariel is a National Geographic Explorer and the author of the book What’s It Like in Space?. As global director of Science Hack Day, she has grown the event to span 30 countries and serve as the prime inspiration for NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge, which became the world’s largest hackathon.

Ariel has been the advisory chair to NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts program and the co-author of a congressionally-requested National Academy of Sciences’ report on the future of human spaceflight.

Previously, Ariel worked at NASA’s CoLab program whose mission was to connect communities inside and outside NASA to collaborate.

In 2008, Ariel founded, a directory of ways to participate in space exploration. Ahead of its time, was a trailblazer for showing how anyone, with or without a formal science background, can actively contribute to space exploration.

In 2012, she authored a white paper on Democratized Science Instrumentation that was presented to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

As producer and host, she is the creator of a YouTube channel documenting her science adventures.

For more information on Ariel Waldman’s speaking topics, contact VBQ agent Leo von Bülow-Quirk at


Ariel’s journey from art and graphic design into science and exploration is a demonstration of the possibilities that open up if we refuse to let our thinking be inhibited by traditional boundaries.

Her talks fire the imagination and inspire audiences to think differently and creatively about their work.


“We were so honored to have Ms. Waldman as a speaker at our global event this year. She was scheduled as a lead-in for our closing because so many people were excited to attend and hear from her, and quite honestly she gave our moderators a challenge – simply because the audience was so engaged and the volume of questions came so fast that we barely kept up, even with 3 moderators. People from over 100 countries joined a lively discussion with Ariel and left inspired, entertained, and more educated. We highly recommend her as a speaker.”
– Charlie Capen, GISH

Contact us about Ariel Waldman