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Caroline Beghein

Caroline Beghein
Caroline Beghein

The 2005 Outstanding Young Scientist Award is awarded to Caroline Beghein for the development of new methodologies of interpreting anisotropy, inverse theory, and normal mode theory in studies of the seismology of the interior of the Earth.

Caroline has investigated seismic models and anisotropy within the Earth using normal mode and surface wave data. Her work shows the value of the Neighbourhood Algorithm (developed by Sambridge) in nonlinear inversion problems providing information about the uncertainty of the model parameters. This method overcomes the problem of local minima, and searches the model space in regions that otherwise may be overlooked. She has applied the method to different regions in the Earth: She did mantle P- and S-wave tomography using normal mode and surface wave data. She determined inner-core anisotropy using normal mode splitting measurements. She determined radial anisotropy (or transverse isotropy with a vertical symmetry axis) in the upper 1200 km of the mantle and more specifically in the upper 220 km of the mantle using fundamental mode surface waves.

Two external members of her PhD review committee judged her thesis as follows:
“… In scope and coverage this represents one of the best Ph.D. theses I have seen …”
I believe the thesis to be of the highest standard, and comparable in quality to the best seismology theses that I am aware of, for example those of students at Oxford and at Harvard over the past 25 years. … I am convinced that among the seismologists of her generation Caroline stands out and will continue to stand out as having a wide understanding and exceptional potential to be research leader.

Caroline has shown a very thorough understanding of theoretical subjects such as anisotropy, inverse theory, and normal mode theory, and implemented these in observational studies. At MIT she currently investigates the influence of mantle anisotropy on normal mode coupling.