Welcome to my homepage! I am Behrooz Ferdowsi (he/him/they/them), currently an Associate Research Scholar in the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University. Previously, I was a Harry H. Hess Postdoctoral Fellow (2017-2019) at Princeton Geosciences. I am primarily working with Professor Allan M. Rubin on developing constitutive laws for rock friction, and on revisiting the physical basis for an existing empirical constitutive modeling framework for frictional behavior of rocks and other Earth materials, known as the "rate- and state-dependent friction" framework. I am also collaborating with Professor Rubin on further understanding the origins of slow slip events (also known as slow earthquakes). My research is currently supported by funds from the U.S. Army Research Office, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. National Science Foundation, for all of which I am very grateful.

Before coming to Princeton in June 2017, I was a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, Sediment Dynamics Laboratory (PennSeD) and a Synthesis Postdoctoral Fellow of the National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics (NCED) (February 2015 to May 2017). At PennSeD, I worked with Professor Douglas J. Jerolmack (UPenn, Earth and Environmental Science) on sediment transport in gravel-bed rivers, subsurface to surface evolution of riverbeds, granular controls of sediment transport in mountains and hillslopes, and geophysical landscape evolution. I earned my PhD (Dr. sc.) in September 2014, from ETH Zurich (Switzerland), Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering.

I am strongly committed to and actively involved in academic and educational activities that can help to improve the current situation in Geosciences and STEM fields in the US, toward building more inclusive environments for persons of all genders and backgrounds, increasing of diversity, and broadening the participation and advancement of under-represented groups and minoritized persons.

My more up-to-date website: https://behroozf.github.io

My publication list including in progress and submitted papers are accessible here.


Research interests

My research activities are at the interface of Computational Sciences and Computational PhysicsMechanics of MaterialsGeophysicsGeologyGeological Engineering, and Soft and Granular Matter Physics. I work on longstanding and exciting problems and questions related to rock friction and earthquake fault mechanics, geophysical landscape evolution, soil and sediment mechanics, soil and sediment transport, and other related topics in geology and geophysics. I use a broad range of tools (leaning toward computational, analytical, and physics-based modeling methods) to develop a theoretical understnading for empirical observations in the area of Solid Earth Geosciences broadly, i.e. Earth's surface, near-surface and subsurface processes, and to connect these observations to their physical and chemical origins as quantitatively as possible, across the scales. The immediate applications of my research are in prediction and modeling of geohazards (earthquakes, earthflows, and landslides, as some examples), flow and failure of geomaterials in different environmental conditions, further understanding the processes that shape the surface and subsurface of the Earth (and other planets), as well as the response of these processes to perturbations. To make substantial scientific advances about many of these questions and in many of these areas, we also need new developments in applied mathematics, applied mechanics, and observational and computational methods, driven by laboratory and field-based experiments. That is the direction I am moving toward. I am also looking forward to and excited for collaborating with a broad and diverse group of scientists and engineers about these questions. Some of my more specific interests include, but are not limited to:

  • Physics of granular media and applications of soft condensed matter phyiscs in geosciences, geological engineering, and geophysics;
  • Frictional behavior and rheology of Earth materials;
  • Micromechanics of shear banding, strain localization, and stick-slip instabilities in granular (geomaterials) and more broadly amorphous materials;
  • Development of constitutive laws and equations of state for Earth and planetary materials, and further understanding the molecular or statistical mechanical theory behind these constitutive equations (that are otherwise some educated guesses);
  • Computational physics and multi-scale modeling approaches in geosciences, geophysics, and engineering: continuum (finite elemenet method, computational fluid dynamics methods), discontinuum (discrete element method, molecular dynamics), and coupled modeling approaches (finite element coupled to discrete element methods, computational fluid dynamics coupled to discrete element method);

Please see my research page for more information.