Stephen Arrowsmith is a geophysicist who specializes in understanding how seismic and acoustic waves are excited, how they propagate, and how to unravel the information they contain. He has made fundamental contributions to understanding the physics of how earthquakes generate low-frequency sound, how the combined study of seismic and acoustic waves provides unique insights on natural events such as the 2022 Hunga Tonga eruption, and how the propagation of low-frequency sound provides constraints on the dynamics of the troposphere and stratosphere.
In addition to making fundamental contributions, he strives to work on problems that can benefit society. As the lead of a team of research scientists and engineers at SMU, he oversees the maintenance of important facilities in the U.S. and overseas for nuclear explosion monitoring. He has developed algorithms and operational tools that are used by the U.S. Air Force and other government agencies. His group is currently exploring how measurements of underground strain and acoustic pressure at high spatial and temporal resolution in urban environments can provide decision makers with critical information regarding issues around transportation, infrastructure health and natural hazards.