EAPS is delighted to introduce four new members of faculty: Ruben Juanes, and Tim Cronin who are already here; and Andrew Babbin, and Matej Pec who join the department in January 2017.
EAPS is delighted to announce that Andrew Babbin will join the faculty as an Assistant Professor in January, 2017.
Andrew Babbin is a marine biogeochemist working on the nitrogen cycle, especially on the processes that return fixed nitrogen in the ocean back to N₂. This work is relevant, for instance, for understanding the controls on marine productivity and the ocean’s potential for storing carbon. In his early career, Babbin has already made some major contributions to this field, especially with regard to the relative contribution of anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) and canonical denitrification to the total fixed nitrogen loss in the ocean.1 He aims to expand his biogeochemical studies by using microfluidic devices to reproduce a variety of chemical conditions simultaneously and finely control the chemistry experienced by microbes. In addition to opening exciting new lines of research at EAPS—at the interface of physical, chemical, and (micro)biological oceanography and climate—his recruitment strengthens partnerships across campus, as with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the MIT-WHOI Joint Program).
Babbin received a BS degree from Columbia University (2008) and his doctoral degree (2014) from Princeton University. Since November 2014, he has been a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at MIT in CEE with Roman Stocker (now at ETH Zürich) and Otto Cordero, learning about microfluidic devices.
Babbin et al., “Organic Matter Stoichiometry, Flux, and Oxygen Control Nitrogen Loss in the Ocean,” Science 344, 406 (2014), doi: 10.1126/science.1248364
In July 2016, Timothy Cronin, PhD (XII), returned to EAPS as an Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Science.
Cronin earned a BA in Physics from Swarthmore College in 2006, and received his PhD in Climate Physics and Chemistry from MIT in June 2014. Advised by Kerry Emanuel, his dissertation research used simple column models of the atmosphere, interacting with a land surface, to explore a collection of problems in climate science. One of the papers he published developed a theory for the sensitivity of near-surface temperatures to changes in land surface properties, which is relevant for understanding how anthropogenic land use and land cover change may have resulted in past and future climate change. Cronin has also worked on trying to understand why it rains preferentially over islands in the tropics, and whether geologic changes around Indonesia have implications for climate changes over the past 3-5 million years. During the 2011-2012 academic year, he was a Martin Society Fellow for Sustainability, and his work has also been funded by the NSF.
Following work with Eli Tziperman as a NOAA Climate and Global Change Fellow at Harvard University, Cronin is now studying the interaction between clouds and sea ice in the Arctic, in climates that are warmer than present. A particular focus is attempting to clarify Arctic cloud feedbacks that may play a large role in determining the rate of sea ice loss and Arctic temperature change over the coming century. Other projects include exploring the potential for the formation of hurricane-like storms over a warmer Arctic Ocean that has lost much of its sea ice; such storms would be highly relevant to the impacts of climate change on both human and natural systems in the future Arctic.
Associate Professor Ruben Juanes of MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has accepted a joint appointment in EAPS.
Juanes is a computational geoscientist and engineer, with a strong interest in the physics of multiphase flow in porous media. His research focuses on advancing our fundamental understanding and predictive capabilities of the simultaneous flow of two or more fluids through rocks, soils, and other porous materials. Research in his group combines theory, simulation, and experiments that elucidate fundamental aspects of multi-fluid flow, which is then applied to prediction of large-scale Earth science problems in the areas of energy and the environment, including geological carbon sequestration, methane hydrates, and ecohydrology of arid environments.
As examples, work published in 2012, and reported in the video, “Greenhouse Gas Can Find a Home Underground,” demonstrated that, although questions remain about the economics of systems to capture and store such gases, there is enough capacity in deep saline aquifers in the United States to store at least a century’s worth of CO₂ emissions from the nation’s coal-fired powerplants. And in work published this summer, the Juanes Group revealed new physics of how fluids flow in porous media, visualizing key flow mechanisms crucial to carbon sequestration and fuel-cell operation. (see: http://bit.ly/juanes-fluids)
Juanes is also the Director of the Henry L. Pierce Laboratory for Infrastructure Science and Engineering. He holds an Ingeniero de Caminos (1997), from the University of La Coruna, Spain, and MS and PhD degrees from UC Berkeley (1999, 2003). In 2012, he received a Department of Energy Award for Outstanding Contributions in Geoscience. He has been a member of the MIT faculty since 2006.
EAPS welcomes Assistant Professor of Geophysics Matěj Peč, joining the faculty in January 2017.
Peč received his MS degrees in Microstructural Analysis from the Université de Montpellier, France (2007), and in Structural Geology from Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic (2008), and a PhD in Rock Mechanics from the University of Basel, Switzerland (2012). Since then, he has worked as postdoctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota, with short-term visiting scientist positions at several universities in Europe and the US. His (mostly experimental) research focuses on melt-rock interactions and their influence on the physical properties of partially molten rocks. His work provides important information on the properties of fault rocks under conditions found in the lower crust (which will help understand the interaction of the lithospheric plates with the underlying mantle asthenosphere and, in turn, the mechanics of plate tectonics), on the processes that can trigger earthquakes at elevated pressures and temperatures, and on the emerging links between seismicity, metamorphism, and flow.
Recent work published in the Journal of Geophysical Research; Solid Earth,2 reports an exploration of deformation behavior observed in granitoid fault rocks under a range of temperature, confining pressure, and shear strain rate, to finite shear strains, to help understand the physical and chemical processes accommodating semi-brittle flow in such circumstances.
Peč et al., “Semi-brittle Flow of Granitoid Fault Rocks in Experiments,” Journal of Geophysical Research; Solid Earth, doi: 10.1002/2015JB012513
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