Professor of Geophysics, Australian National University

For two decades, I have had been driven to solve one of the consistent grand challenges of the Earth Sciences: “How does the Earth’s internal heat engine produce plate tectonics and why does this only happen on Earth ?” This is listed as one the top unsolved problems in our discipline since the theory of plate tectonics was first developed more than half a century ago - and perhaps it always will be !

I work in geodynamics which is a part of geophysics that draws on aspects of fluid dynamics, solid mechanics, applied mathematics and computation applied to the Earth and planetary sciences. Day to day, I spend my time thinking of better ways to solve physics problems with computation and, because I believe in open, reproducible science, I release all my work as open source software and freely available algorithms.


  • –present
    Professor of Geophysics, Australian National University


  • 1992 
    University of Oxford, DPhil, Earth Sciences