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SMU seismologist Brian Stump named AAAS Fellow

Stump’s continued work in underground nuclear explosion monitoring significant in support of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

November 24, 2014

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU seismologist Brian Stump has been named an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow for distinguished contributions to his field, particularly in the area of seismic monitoring in support of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

Brian Stump
Professor Brian Stump

AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science. Stump, Albritton Chair of Geological Sciences in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences in SMU’s Dedman College, is the fifth professor at SMU (Southern Methodist University) to be recognized as an AAAS Fellow.

“Dr. Stump is a scientist of the first rank and brings the results of his outstanding research into the classroom, where his students benefit from his example and insights as a scholar,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He richly deserves the AAAS recognition by his peers and we are proud that he calls SMU home."

“Brian’s work has been seminal in scientists’ ability to rapidly and accurately discern the difference between an earthquake, a conventional explosion (such as might occur in a mining accident) and a nuclear test,” said James Quick, SMU vice president for research and dean of graduate studies.  “His research is tremendously important to all of us, and yet he is equally committed to teaching and serving as a mentor to young faculty.”

Stump is well known regionally for his continued work researching the increase of small earthquakes that have been occurring in North Texas since 2008.    But his work in detecting ground motion from explosions has for more than 20 years proved invaluable to the United States government in ensuring that the world’s nuclear powers abide by their agreements related to underground nuclear testing. He served as scientific adviser to the U.S. delegation to the Conference on Disarmament from 1994 through 1996 and continues to be called upon frequently to assist the U.S. government in the interpretation of seismic and acoustic data.

“I’m humbled by the recognition by the AAAS that science impacts the society in which we live,” Stump said. “I really believe that.  And the work we’ve done at SMU on inducted seismicity in North Texas has that same blend of real science and societal impact.”

For the last five years Stump has chaired the Air Force Technical Applications Center Seismic Review Panel, which provides a review of federally funded efforts in nuclear monitoring.  He served as a committee member on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Seismology and Continental Dynamics from 2007 through 2012, and recently completed a term as board chair for Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), a consortium of more than 100 universities funded by the National Science Foundation.

Stump joined SMU in 1983 from the Seismology Section of the Air Force Weapons Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.  He graduated summa cum laude from Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore. with a bachelor of arts in physics in 1974, received a master of arts from the University of California at Berkeley in 1975 and received his Ph.D. in geophysics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1979 after completing a thesis titled Investigation of Seismic Sources by the Linear Inversion of Seismograms.

SMU faculty previously named as AAAS Fellows are volcanologist and research dean Quick, who was named a Fellow in 2013; environmental biochemistry scholar Paul W. Ludden, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs and a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, who was named a Fellow in 2003; anthropologist David J. Meltzer, Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory in the Department of Anthropology who was named a Fellow in 1998; and James E. Brooks, provost emeritus and professor emeritus in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, who was named a Fellow in 1966.

The AAAS Fellows program began in 1874. AAAS members may be considered for the rank of fellow if nominated by the steering group of their respective sections, by three fellows, or by the association's chief executive officer. Each steering group then reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section and forwards a final list to the AAAS Council, which votes on the final list of fellows.

The Council is the policymaking body of the Association, chaired by the president, and consisting of the members of the board of directors, the retiring section chairs, delegates from each electorate and each regional division, and two delegates from the National Association of Academies of Science.

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