Graduate Research Opportunities at Purdue - Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences - Purdue University
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Graduate Research Opportunities at Purdue

Atmospheric ScienceEnvironmental GeoscienceGeology & GeophysicsPlanetary Science

Atmospheric Science

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Professor Dan Chavas ( Our group is looking for one Ph.D. student (start Fall 2019) to use numerical models, theory, and observations to improve our understanding of climate controls on extreme weather, particularly hurricanes or severe thunderstorms/tornadoes. Applicants with a strong background in physics/math are particularly encouraged to apply. Students/Post-docs that join our group with external funding are welcome to pursue the research topic of their choice.

Professor Matt Huber ( Huber has graduate student positions available in climate data analysis, food-energy-water nexus modeling, and paleoclimate modeling. He is actively seeking highly qualified students with suitable subject area expertise as well as data analysis, modeling and computational skills.


Environmental Geoscience

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Professor Lisa Welp ( Anticipated opportunities for motivated graduate students to study carbon allocation patterns of deciduous tree species and atmospheric water vapor isotope applications including observations and modeling.

Professor Qianlai Zhuang ( The Ecosystems and Biogeochemical Dynamics Laboratory at Purdue University is seeking one/two graduate students starting Fall, 2019, who are interested in:

  1. modeling feedbacks between the biosphere and atmospheric climate and chemistry and/or
  2. modeling water, carbon and nitrogen cycling in terrestrial ecosystems.

Students majored in ecosystem sciences, atmospheric sciences, and other related fields with proficient mathematical and computational skills and interests in pursuing PhD programs are preferred. These students will participate in a number of research projects funded by NSF, NASA, DOE, and USGS.


Geology and Geophysics

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Professor Jonathan Delph ( I'm looking for quantitative geologists or applied physicists interested in relating computationally-intensive datasets to geologic and tectonic phenomena. Multiple opportunities exist to learn and apply passive-source seismic imaging and seismic interferometry techniques (both static and dynamic) to the tectonics/geodynamics of Earth. Specific research projects include understanding the interactions between the upper and lower mantle in the eastern Mediterranean, or investigating variations in crustal and upper mantle properties in the Pacific Northwest. Other opportunities include developing and improving seismic techniques to recover Earth’s crustal properties on both local and regional scales.

Professor Julie Elliott ( Opportunities to use geodetic data to investigate tectonic processes in Alaska and Canada, ice mass change and glacial isostatic adjustment in southeastern Alaska and western Canada, and tidewater glacier dynamics. Projects will involve fieldwork, data processing, and modeling.

Professor Marissa Tremblay ( Opportunities to apply thermochronology to studies in tectonic geomorphology, develop applications of cosmogenic noble gas paleothermometry to questions in paleoclimate, investigate (U-Th)/He systematics in biominerals, or use experimental and theoretical approaches to investigate noble gas diffusion mechanisms in silicates.

Professor Xiaotao Yang ( Opportunities to apply and develop high-resolution seismic imaging methods to solve problems in tectonics, earthquake and volcano hazards, and transient velocity changes. Regions of interests include but not limited to the Aleutian-Alaska margin and the continental interior, the North-American mid-continent, and the western United States.


Planetary Sciences

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Professor Ali Bramson ( Opportunities to study icy surface processes and climate interactions on Mars through a combination of NASA spacecraft data analysis (especially radar) and computational modeling, as well as opportunities for planetary analog studies of ice formation/evolution/preservation using ground penetrating radar in the field and by conducting laboratory experiments. Applicants from diverse backgrounds and perspectives are encouraged to apply.

Professor Briony Horgan ( Opportunities to conduct orbital remote sensing studies of the mineralogy of planetary surfaces, including projects to study explosive volcanism and the crustal structure of the Moon and the climate implications of ancient weathering profiles on Mars.

Assistant Prof. of Practice/Research Alexandria Johnson ( The Johnson Cloud lab is looking for a PhD student interested in laboratory studies of cloud formation in diverse planetary atmospheres. Opportunities exist to study the formation of clouds under Martian atmospheric conditions, the scattering properties of exoplanet clouds, and the formation of clouds in the transient lunar atmosphere. Applicants from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply. A strong physics background and/or previously laboratory experience is helpful but not required.

Professor Brandon Johnson ( I am seeking students with strong physics backgrounds (not necessarily physics majors) and quantitative skills to numerically model planetary surface processes. Most opportunities relate to impact cratering throughout the solar system.

Professor Stephanie Olson ( Opportunities to conduct research in astrobiology using numerical models. Possibilities include:

  1. Using climate models to simulate the consequences of seasonality for exoplanet habitability and the challenges and/or opportunities arising from seasonality for life detection missions;
  2. Using biogeochemical models to explore the habitability of synchronously rotating exoplanets;
  3. Coupling models for Earth’s physical, chemical, and biological evolution to constrain the histories of biosignature gases like oxygen and methane in our atmosphere.

Professor Mike Sori ( Opportunities to use NASA spacecraft data to study problems in planetary geophysics and surface processes throughout the solar system. Specific projects include studies of cryovolcanism in the outer solar system and of climate records on Mars, and will use image, topography, and gravity spacecraft data. Students will have the freedom to customize and develop projects of their choosing as they progress towards a Ph.D. Applicants from a diverse set of backgrounds are encouraged to apply, especially those with previous coursework in math and/or physics.

Professor Michelle Thompson ( Opportunity to study lunar regolith samples via electron beam techniques in order to better understand space weathering surface processes on the Moon and their relevance to in situ resource utilization.


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