Jerry X. Mitrovica joined Harvard in 2009 as a Professor of Geophysics.His work focuses on the Earth's response to external and internal forcings that have time scales ranging from seconds to billions of years. He has written extensively on topics ranging from the connection of mantle convective flow to the geological record, the rotational stability of the Earth and other terrestrial planets, ice age geodynamics, and the geodetic and geophysical signatures of ice sheet melting in our progressively warming world. Sea-level change has served as the major theme of these studies, with particular emphasis on critical events in ice age climate and on the sea-level fingerprints of modern polar ice sheet collapse.
Mitrovica is the Frank B. Baird, Jr., Professor of Science at Harvard University. He is a former Director of the Earth Systems Evolution Program of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and J. Tuzo Wilson Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Toronto, where he also received his Ph.D. degree. He is the recipient of the Arthur L. Day Medal from the Geological Society of America, the W.S Jardetsky Medal from Columbia University, the A.E.H. Love Medal from the European Geosciences Union and the Rutherford Memorial Medal from the Royal Society of Canada. He is also a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Geological Society of America, as well as a past Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
I am a 3rd-year PhD candidate in the Mitrovica research group, and I am pursuing a Secondary Field in Archaeology. I got my start in earth science while studying physical oceanography in the Deutsch lab at University of Washington in Seattle and doing field work across the globe, from the Himalayas, to the Pacific Ocean, to the Juneau Icefield. Today, I study the interface between climate modelling, sea-level theory, and ancient human migration. My current projects wrestle with the timing, methodology, and environmental conditions of enigmatic human migrations (and out-migrations). Using a combination of global and regional climate models to simulate paleo-ocean currents, as well as an agent-based model to simulate human migration, I investigate the potential timing and routes of the initial colonization of Australia 45 - 65,000 years ago. I am also researching the role of Holocene regional ice history and sea-level physics in the disappearance of Vikings from Greenland in the early 15th century. I am passionate about earth science, archaeology, labor organizing, and storytelling of all types. I currently serve as the Vice President of the Harvard Graduate Students Union (HGSU-UAW Local 5118) and coordinate the Feminist Working Group. I also serve as a delegate on the Greater Boston Labor Council and co-manages several advocacy coalitions. You can visit my website here for more information.
Since receiving my PhD from the University of Toronto in 2000. I joined Prof. Jerry Mitrovica's group in Canada. After he left for Harvard, the collaboration continued and I became his Harvard group member in October 2017. The focus of my research is on development and application of numerical tools to examine problems related to the ice age geodynamics: visco-elastic deformation, sea level change, tidal response, Earth rotation, stress and gravity field calculation. Generally, we are trying to understand how Earth (or similarly structured planets) would respond to surface and/or potential forcing, given a loading history and an assumed visco-elastic structure, particularly three-dimensional, heterogeneous viscosity, as may be inferred from e.g. seismic tomography. Other important 3-D effects which we include in the models are variations in the lithospheric thickness, plate boundaries, slabs, low viscosity wedges, etc. This list is open-ended. The results are ultimately compared to observables, such as sea level markers or present-day deformation rates, available from satellite measuremets. We can, for example, provide a correction for the glacial isostatic adjustment contribution or assess the impact of a 3-D structure on such predictions, since conventional, radially stratified models are handled in a much more efficient way. The 3-D models require an excessive computer power, even for the forward problem. Currently, the simulations are performed on the Odyssey cluster (Harvard) with a finite volume MPI code, developed in Toronto in the early 2000-s. The latter is an ongoing project, including coding, maintenance, consulting and working with interested researchers on improvements. As a side product, this development has stimulated a strong interest in interpolation techniques and adaprive grid generation.