Diana Roman and Lara Wagner named Carnegie’s inaugural Harry Oscar Wood Chairs of Seismology

schedule 5 minutes
Geophysics & Geodynamics
Carnegie names inaugural Harry Oscar Wood Chairs of Seismology. 

Washington, DC—Carnegie has named Earth and Planets Laboratory Staff Scientists Diana Roman and Lara Wagner as the inaugural Harry Oscar Wood Chairs of Seismology. 

Roman's work straddles the boundary between volcanology and seismology. Her primary research efforts focus on the mechanics of how magma moves through the Earth’s crust, and on the structure, evolution, and dynamics of volcanic systems. 

Wagner uses seismology to understand the formation and evolution of Earth’s continental crust, which records billions of years of plate tectonic activity. She uses seismic waves generated by earthquakes to probe the structures of our planet’s interior and understand how the continents were shaped.

Roman and Wagner also jointly developed the Carnegie Quick Deploy Box, which packs all the necessary equipment for field seismic stations into a weatherproof container that is compact and portable enough to be transported anywhere in the world as commercial airline luggage.  This instrumentation breakthrough has allowed experts to rapidly respond to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and in the future may enable more accurate imaging of the Earth’s interior.

“Naming Diana and Lara as the inaugural Harry Oscar Wood Chairs recognizes their breakthrough research revealing our planet’s dynamic inner workings, both past and present, and guiding disaster preparation and response efforts. The Wood gift that enables us to establish these positions has supported generations of outstanding Carnegie scientists and is a testament to the impact an individual investment can have on world-leading science,” said Carnegie President Eric Isaacs. “These new chairs will further expand the impact of the gift and burnish Wood’s already considerable legacy in the field.”

The Wood fund was established in 1958 through a bequest by Harry Oscar Wood, whose early career research on the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake was financed by Carnegie.  Later, Carnegie employed Wood to work with Observatories scientist John A. Anderson on the development of a new type of seismometer, which served as stimulus for the creation of the Caltech Seismological Laboratory.

Carnegie’s stewardship of Wood’s original gift to advance seismological research has allowed the fund to grow to a size where it can support two staff positions.  In addition to these two chairs, the Wood fund finances two postdoctoral fellows at the Earth and Planets Laboratory.

"Wood spent his career developing instruments to investigate the Earth movements caused by both faults and volcanic phenomena," explained Earth and Planets Laboratory Director Richard Carlson.  "Bestowing chair positions named in his honor to Diana and Lara seems especially fitting given their overlap with Wood in both seismic instrument development and the research topics that this advanced instrumentation can allow.”