Alabama’s Sarah Parcak among 100 leading Global Thinkers

Sarah Parcak
[Photo courtesy of UAB]

Alabama’s Sarah Parcak, Ph.D. — an archaeologist and associate professor in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences Department of Anthropology — is among this year’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers selected by Foreign Policy magazine.

Every year the magazine recognizes the world’s pre-eminent thought leaders and public intellectuals in its annual issue “100 Leading Global Thinkers.”

Honorees are selected by the magazine’s editors based on their standout contributions over the past year and ability to translate ideas into action that change and shape the world. They are organized into nine categories — decision-makers, challengers, innovators, advocates, artists, healers, stewards, chroniclers and moguls. Parcak can be found among the innovators.

“Like never before, global development and war are pushing archaeologists into a race against time — so much so that Sarah Parcak is revolutionizing the already-modern field of space archaeology,” said the FP Global Thinkers summary of the UAB professor. “That discipline uses satellite imagery to uncover the planet’s historical artifacts and can track looting and destruction patterns. However, there aren’t enough archaeologists to study the world’s surface before parts of it disappear.

The summary continued, “Now Parcak is recruiting her own citizen army for the research. GlobalXplorer, which she developed this year, functions like ‘a super-high-tech version of Google Earth,’ and allows anyone with an Internet connection to scrutinize satellite imagery of ancient locales. Parcak hopes GlobalXplorer will be the way to ‘find and protect the world’s hidden heritage.’”

The eighth annual Foreign Policy special issue celebrating 100 Leading Global Thinkers is based on the theme “The Case for Optimism.” The honorees range from politicians such as Hillary Clinton and Angela Merkel, to acclaimed, avant-garde artists like Morehshin Allahyari, to billionaire philanthropists such as Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan.

“When we consider as we do each year the work of the world’s leading thinkers, we find that the vast majority of them – in science, technology, business, culture and government – are actually moving us forward and helping to solve the problems of the past,” said David Rothkopf, the magazine’s editor, in a press release.