Dr Jack Muir, 2015 Origin Foundation John Monash Scholar,
PhD in Geophysics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
To peer deeply into the earth, Jack uses tomographic imaging to understand the Earth’s mantle and core. Waves of seismic energy travel slowly through loose soil but move 100 times faster in the highly compacted rock of the deep earth. Capturing the activity of these seismic energy waves and recording the data over time is essential for assessing environmental impacts. Jack’s research is particularly important for Australia as it assesses the exploration of natural resources such as oil and gas, moving towards carbon capture and storage of geothermal prospects. His work helps us understand the toll of natural hazards such as earthquakes and tsunamis, so we can support our neighbouring countries like New Zealand, Indonesia and others across the Asia Pacific. Another crucial offering of his work is the advancement of nuclear weapons compliance monitoring (under the comprehensive test ban treaty organisation) which is what Australia’s longest running seismic networks are designed to support.
“The support I received from the Origin Foundation (through the John Monash Foundation) gave me total academic freedom to focus on multiple projects with different advisors. As a result, I have been able to investigate a wide variety of earth processes, giving me a broad grounding in earth sciences. This has been instrumental to my success in developing research proposals for the US National Science Foundation, the Southern Californian Earthquake Centre and will continue to benefit me as I begin my transition out of Caltech to becoming an independent researcher focusing on Australian geophysics.”
As he approaches the end of his PhD program at Caltech, Jack reflects on his passion for including Geophysics in the big data revolution. Skilled in mathematics and with a deep understanding of natural sciences, Jack’s studies have been in hot pursuit of merging intuition with technical skill to learn how our earth can generate powerful big data. It is amazing to understand the earth at this level and breathtaking to think that one day this cutting-edge science will be applied to the moon, and beyond.