Behrooz Ferdowsi

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Behrooz Ferdowsi

Welcome to my webpage! I am currently an Associate Research Scholar at the Department of Geosciences, Princeton University. Previously, I was a Harry H. Hess Postdoctoral Fellow (2017-2019) at Princeton Geosciences. I am primarily working with Professor Allan M. Rubin on developing constitutive laws for rock friction, and on revisiting the physical basis for an existing empirical constitutive modeling framework for frictional behavior of rocks and other Earth materials, known as the "rate- and state-dependent friction" framework. I am also collaborating with Professor Rubin on further understanding the origins of slow slip events (also known as slow earthquakes). My research is currently supported by funds from the U.S. Army Research Office, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. National Science Foundation, for all of which I am very grateful.

Before coming to Princeton in June 2017, I was a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, Sediment Dynamics Laboratory (PennSeD) and a Synthesis Postdoctoral Fellow of the National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics (NCED) (February 2015 to May 2017). At PennSeD, I worked with Professor Douglas J. Jerolmack (UPenn, Earth and Environmental Science) on sediment transport in gravel-bed rivers, subsurface to surface evolution of riverbeds, granular controls of sediment transport in mountains and hillslopes, and geophysical landscape evolution. I earned my PhD (Dr. sc.) in September 2014, from ETH Zurich (Switzerland), Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering.

As a person whose research and academic endeavors have been adversely affected by exclusion*, discrimination*, and racism* (because and only on the ground of my national origin, I experienced a one-year-long postdoc visa delay when moving for my first postdoc to the US. I have been then subject to the US Travel Ban from January 2017, on the ground of my national origin, while I was studying and doing research for my first postdoctoral appointment in the US. This situation continues until nowadays, which means that I am prohibited by the US government from any travel including for visits, faculty job interviews, meetings and conferences anywhere outside the United States of America, for the forseeble future. So far, I had to miss on and decline several excellent and exciting opportunities that could have significantly influenced and enriched my scientific trajectory, and that persons from other nationalities would have otherwise enjoyed exploring and benefiting from. This is just one very serious example of the effects of a discreminatory policy, while many other similar policies and actions exist that further hinder and suppress progress and competitiveness of people of certain backgrounds, in an extremely competitive and dynamic scientific scene), I am strongly committed to and actively involved in academic and educational activities that improve the current situation in Geosciences and STEM fields in the US, toward building more inclusive environments for persons of all genders and backgrounds, increasing of diversity, and broadening the participation and advancement of under-represented groups and minoritized persons.

* To anyone who would feel uncomfortable reading these three words (exclusion, discrimination, racism) here, I hesitated to write them on my website too, for a few years. However, I decided to call them what they are, and to not normalize these actions and policies, and what they really mean and are designed very effecitvely to do unfortunately.


Research interests

My research activities are at the interface of Computational Sciences and Computational Physics, Mechanics of Materials, Geophysics, Geology, Geological Engineering, and Soft and Granular Matter Physics. I work on longstanding and exciting problems and questions in rock friction and earthquake fault mechanics, geophysical landscape evolution, soil and sediment mechanics, and soil and sediment transport in rivers and hillslopes, among others. I am generally interested in using a broad range of tools (on average leaning toward computational, analytical and physics-based modeling tools), for connecting observations in the area of Solid Earth Geosciences broadly, i.e. Earth's surface and subsurface processes, to their physical and chemical origins as quantitatively as possible, across the scales. The immediate applications of my research are in predicting and modeling of geohazards (earthquakes, earthflows, and landslides, as some examples), flow and failure of geomaterials at different environmental conditions, further understanding of the processes that shape the surface and subsurface of the Earth (and other planets), as well as the response of these processes to various perturbations. To make substantial advances about many of these questions and in many of these research areas, we also need new developments in applied mathematics, applied mechanics, and observational and computational methods, driven by laboratory and field-based experiments. That is the direction I am moving toward. I am looking forward to and excited for collaborating with a broad and diverse group of scientists and engineers on these questions and new advances. Some of my more specific interests include, but are not limited to: Please see my research page for more information.

Ongoing collaborations

Professional affiliations

News and short notes  

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On August 27, 2020, 18:37 EDT