Doug Wiens

Professor and Chair
Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences
Washington University in St. Louis

Education and Employment

I obtained my BS degree in Physics from Wheaton College (IL) in 1980 and Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from Northwestern University in 1985 working with Seth Stein on oceanic intraplate earthquakes and their implications for the mechanics of the lithosphere. I immediately took a faculty position at Washington University in St. Louis, where I have been ever since except for a sabbatical at Australian National University in 2005. My current research interests are the structure and dynamics of subduction zones, and the seismological structure and ice dynamics of the Antarctic continent. I have been principal investigator for 9 PASSCAL experiments and 3 ocean bottom seismograph deployments, and have supervised 9 PhD theses. I have served on the National Academy International Polar Year Planning Committee, the Ocean Drilling Program Science Committee, NSF-MARGINS and NSF-RIDGE2000 steering committees, the OBS Instrumentation Pool oversight committee, and NSF review panels and visiting committees. I was elected an AGU Fellow in 2007 and I am currently finishing a term as AGU Seismology section secretary.

IRIS Experience

I was a graduate student before IRIS existed, so I appreciate how IRIS has transformed the discipline of seismology. In particular, although I still consider myself a global seismologist, the PASSCAL program has enabled me to gather and analyze important datasets myself, which would have been difficult in the pre-IRIS years. I have served on the IRIS GSN and DMS standing committees and the Executive Committee. I am currently chair of the Polar Networks Science Committee.


IRIS has an absolutely crucial role in seismology, both in maintaining and expanding its core functions as well as providing leadership for new initiatives. The coming years will be challenging ones, as IRIS is increasingly viewed as a "mature" facility and opportunities for obtaining increased funding for core programs will be limited. In this environment it is vital that IRIS raise its profile through well-publicized education and outreach programs, and providing technology for better data handling and visualization. IRIS can provide coordination and leadership for instrumentation efforts in new areas such as the oceans and polar regions. These initiatives have the potential of opening exciting new multidisciplinary research topics for our science.