Evans, Alexander J

Assistant Professor


Alex couples computational modeling and analyses of observational data to elucidate the complex histories of planetary interiors and surfaces. His research integrates across traditional disciplinary boundaries of geophysics, petrology, geomechanics, atmospheres, climate, geodesy, geology, geochemistry, and biology. His work includes analyses of altimetry, gravity, geomorphology, and tectonics and computational modeling of the structure, surface, and atmospheric and internal evolution of planetary bodies within and beyond our Solar System. Additionally, he has also been involved in the design, development, and implementation of planetary exploration missions.

Bjonnes, Evan

PhD Candidate (Projected Graduation: September 2021)

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Evan is interested in the evolution of planetary surfaces across our solar system and how surface processes differ between icy and rocky surfaces. Their research utilizes numerical models of high-velocity impacts as a way to test hypotheses of projectile and target properties, and then using the results to understand the geologic histories of those bodies. Although their current research is focused on icy moons in the outer solar system, they have done projects on Venus and the Moon as well. Evan also enjoys exploring New England with their dog, Mr Pibb, and eternally aspiring to play the guitar.

Year 4

Jones, Matthew J

Graduate Student

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Matt’s research focuses on the formation and evolution of planetary bodies, especially terrestrial planets. He is interested in using numerical modeling to understand the large-scale geodynamic, thermochemical, and crustal evolution of planets so that we may better understand the history of bodies in our own solar system as well as what we can expect to see in other systems. Currently, Matt is investigating the distribution of lunar crustal terranes that we observe today, supplementing finite element modeling with the perspective provided by lunar gravity, topography, and composition data.

Year 1

Levin, Janette N

Graduate Student

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Janie is interested in investigating surface and subsurface processes by analyzing the features they leave on planetary surfaces. She seeks to apply a combination of remote sensing and numerical modeling techniques to describe and study the fascinating terrain that can be found on rocky bodies. In the past, she has worked on projects concerning Mars and Antarctica, and looks forward to going somewhere in between distance-wise by researching the Moon.

Year 3

Nichols-Fleming, Fiona

Graduate Student

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Fiona is interested in the relationships between interior and surface processes of solar system bodies. She hopes to study some of the bizarre geophysical processes observed in our solar system and use numerical methods to better understand and explain them. Her current research is working to explain the high intensity of the early Lunar magnetic field assuming it is caused by an intermittent dynamo rather than a very powerful long-term dynamo.

PhD 2015

Weller, Matthew B

Postdoctoral Research Associate

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Matt is interested in understanding the processes and physics that govern the dynamics and evolution of the deep interior and surface of planetary bodies. Specifically, he seeks to understand how the deep interior and surface link to generate planetary atmospheres, control surface conditions, tectonics, interior evolution, and how this coupling may allow for the potential of habitability over time. To date, his research has focused on the investigation of Olympus Mons on Mars, the evolution of the tectonic state of the Earth and Venus, insolation driven convection and failure of the ice shells of the outer satellites, habitability potentials of non plate tectonic planets, fundamental physics and dynamics of convective systems, and understanding processes that act to reinforce or prevent plate tectonics on planetary bodies. When not working, you will find him doing other things, in other places.

Former Members of the Lab

Walker, Malik

Undergraduate Student (Summer 2019)


Wiggins, Sean

Graduate Student


Wilner, Joel

Graduate Student


Zuckermann, Anna

Undergraduate Student (Spring 2019)