Putting the squeeze on rocks

WUSTL geologist Philip Skemer has built a custom-made rock-formation appartus that traps a rock sample between tungsten carbide anvils about a quarter inch in diameter within a 100-ton hydraulic press and then twists the sample slowly from below. His target pressure is six giga-pascals, the pressure 250 kilometers down, to the base of the tectonic plates. He will use the apparatus to determine through experiment the mechanisms that lead mantle rocks to flow, dragging the tectonic plates with them.

Skemer will use NSF CAREER award to understand rock flow in Earth’s mantle

Philip Skemer, PhD, assistant professor in the department of earth and planetary science in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, has won a prestigious Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER award) from the National Science Foundation. He will use the award for a series of experiments in which rock samples will be deformed at the extreme temperatures and pressures they encounter along the boundaries where plates collide.

Agrawal wins NSF CAREER award

Kunal Agrawal, PhD, assistant professor of computer science & engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis, has won a prestigious Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation. The goal of Agrawal’s project, titled “Provably Good Concurrency Platforms for Streaming Applications,” is to design platforms that will allow programmers to easily write correct and efficient high-throughput parallel programs.