Women's History Month

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 


DTM is celebrating Women's History Month throuhgout the month of March, corresponding with International Women's Day on March 8, by highlighting all women scientists in the different research teams of cosmochemistry and geochemistry, astronomy, and geophysics. With their character, ambition, and commitment, these women push DTM to continue exploring and discovering our planet and its place in the universe!

Stay tuned on this page for updates or follow along on Twitter and Instagram with the hasthag #WomenofDTM:


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Elodie Brothelande is a geophysicist who studies #volcano deformation. Her recent project on Piton de la Fournaise, a hotspot volcano off the east of Madagascar, looks at damage modeling and the evolution of the mechanics inside a volcanic edifice in order to be able to better forecast #volcanic #eruptions. "We can look for precursors directly in the observed signals, or we can look for precursors in more hidden environments that are accessible only through modeling,” she said. “In our models, we use the combination of deformation data and seismic data as a proxy for the evolution of deformation.” #WomenofDTM #HumansofDTM #WomenofCarnegie #WomensHistoryMonth #STEM #science #science #seismology #volcanology #geophysics

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Chondrites are the most common type of #meteorites that fall on #Earth and preserve a record of the earliest stages of the #SolarSystem. #Scientists know these objects are made of two major components: mineral grains known as chondrules and finer-grained material known as the matrix, which cements the meteorites together. However, the debate is on about how chondrite matrix formed. In the cosmochemistry team, DTM postdoc Andrea Patzer works to test ideas about the relationship between chondrules, matrices, and interplanetary dust particles. Determining how chondrite matrix forms will have important implications for the early history of the Solar System, the formation of the building blocks of #planets, and the origins of water and other important components for life. #WomenofDTM #HumansofDTM#WomenofCarnegie #WomensHistoryMonth#STEM #science #cosmochemistry #astrochemistry #chemistry #universe

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#Astronomer Sharon Xuesong Wang stared stunned at the #nightsky practically every night growing up in her rural hometown in China, away from city lights. There, the #MilkyWay was easily visible, and it was common to see her with a pair of binoculars spotting the #stars and #planets on her sky map. Wang is still spotting planets, but she is using more powerful tools than simple binoculars. “The most exciting part to me is that we are looking for places where, far in the future, humans could potentially set their feet on,” she said. “We are not only looking for planets like ours that maybe one day we will go to, but we are learning about other planetary systems, and from that we can learn about the origin of our own #SolarSystem." #WomenofDTM #HumansofDTM #WomenofCarnegie #WomensHistoryMonth #STEM #science #astrophysics

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According, to #seismologist and DTM postdoc Helen Janiszewski, exemplary scientists are people who dedicate themselves to fostering the whole #scientific community. ?I was always impressed by the #scientists who not only had made giant discoveries during the course of their career, but that still talked with the students at social events, came to our presentations, invited us over for a group dinner,? she said. ?These scientists stick out to me because it isn't just about what makes you good at research individually and with your collaborators, but what you are doing to make the scientific community better and accepting of more people.? #WomenofDTM #HumansofDTM #WomenofCarnegie #WomensHistoryMonth #STEM #seismology #geophysics

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For more than three centuries, #scientists have made #gravity measurements to define the shape of the #Earth. Today, very precise measurements of gravity provide crucial information on the distribution and transport of mass within the #planet. Using space and field-based gravity measurements, #volcanologists like DTM’s Hélène Le Mével focus on understanding ground deformation signals observed at #volcanoes. These measurements help in investigations of #magma dynamics leading up to eruptions. “One of the goals of a volcanologist is to determine how much magma is under a #volcano and how it moves,” Le Mével said. “The idea is to measure the Earth’s gravity field very precisely and to measure how it changes through time.” #WomenofDTM #HumansofDTM #WomenofCarnegie #WomensHistoryMonth #STEM

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Circumstellar disks or debris disks are the leftover material at the end of the #planet formation process. #Astronomers like Meredith MacGregor use large arrays of radio #telescopes to image these disks, looking for structural features such as whether they have rings or eccentricities that can then be used to further understand how planets form and evolve. MacGregor’s work explores how these systems form in the first place, while also looking at what might (or might not) make a planetary system habitable. “I have gotten into looking at #stellar activity and what that means for the disks and the planets surrounding their #stars,” she said. “Then I boil it down to a simple question like, “Are they habitable?” #science #space #universe #STEM #WomenofDTM #HumansofDTM #WomensHistoryMonth

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The #Earth is a unique and dynamic place with plate tectonics, unlike other #planets in the #SolarSystem. To understand this unique feature, DTM's Shi Joyce Sim applies fluid dynamics to Earth science problems like mid-ocean ridges. At these #tectonic boundaries, plates intersect and pull apart from each other, and upwelling #magma forms new and spreading crust under the ocean. But while magma is generated in a wide area deep in the mantle, it only erupts in narrow regions. #Scientists like Sim are trying to figure out why. “This is where a lot of natural hazards such as #earthquakes and submarine and aerial #volcanoes occur,” she said. “To try and understand these natural hazards, we need to understand the underlying dynamics of the system.” #science #STEM #WomenofDTM #HumansofDTM #WomensHistoryMonth

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It’s #314Day, and this month we are featuring 14 #WomenofDTM for #WomensHistoryMonth! One of them is #planetary #scientist Jessica Arnold, who studies how dust grains in #space reflect and absorb #light from stars. The #SolarSystem is a very dusty place. And outside our Solar System, dust occurs in disks of gas and dust around young stars. “We know that the shape of the dust affects how we interpret what it is made of, but because it can take quite some time for computers to do these computations, it is usually assumed that all the particles in the disk are spherical," Arnold said. "I'm working on figuring out how much of that assumption matters.” #astronomy #science #STEM #HumansofDTM #WomensHistoryMonth

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Another one of our stars this #WomensHistoryMonth is geophysicist Kathleen McKee in our #volcanology team! McKee's #research focuses on #volcano acoustics, particularly on infrasound: sound waves at frequencies below what humans can hear. Her goal is to use her expertise in infrasound produced by #volcanic activity to connect what #scientists know about inflation signals with the amount of material erupted during a volcanic explosion. “"Using volcano infrasound, we've been able to quantify flow rate of simple explosions, or in other words, determine how much material comes out based on the sound waves produced," she said. #WomenofDTM #WomenofCarnegie #science #STEM #HumansofDTM

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Join us as we continue to celebrate #WomensHistoryMonth with the amazing #WomenofDTM, like #astronomer Alycia Weinberger! She wants to understand how #planets form, so she uses ground and #space #telescopes to observe young #stars and their disks, the birthplaces of planets. “I really see the whole project of planet formation and planet discovery as being a question of, ‘"How unique are we, and what is our place in this vast #cosmos in which we live?"’ she said. “The history of #astronomy has been about teaching humans that we aren't at the center of anything. The #Earth isn't at the center of the #SolarSystem. The #Sun isn't the center of the #galaxy. Our galaxy is just one average galaxy amongst others. But we'd still like to know how common life is in the galaxy, and in order to understand that, we need to know how common the kinds of planets that can host life are and how common the conditions that form those planets are.” Read her interview via the link in our profile. #WomenofCarnegie #science #STEM #HumansofDTM

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