Raphaël Grandin

Raphaël Grandin obtained a master of science degree in executive engineering at École des Mines de Paris and a Ph.D. at Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP). He held a position of teaching assistant at University of Paris, was a postdoctoral fellow at École Normale Supérieure de Paris, and is now an associate professor at University of Paris and IPGP.

Raphaël studied a variety of geophysical problems related to seismology, rifting and magmatic processes, and earthquake source models using space-based geodesy. It is with innovative advances in the methods and applications of interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) that his scientific contributions stand out.

His early work on the Ethiopian rifting episode of 2005–2009 provided an unprecedented account of the entire sequence of events, placing constraints on tectonic stress, magmatic pressure, and the time-dependent migration of magma between deep and shallow reservoirs. In the Himalaya, he used innovative data correction methods to extract the uplift velocity profile across the range, highlighting the stepwise migration of crustal ramps to the mountain front.

What characterizes Raphaël’s work is a combination of fine observations and the development of innovative physical interpretations of the processes behind those observations. This is exemplified in the study of recent earthquakes, from both tectonic (Nepal, 2015; Chile, 2012) and man-made (Oklahoma, 2016) origins.

Raphaël is also a dedicated mentor and teacher. He contributed to the development of community InSAR software and serves as scientific advisor for the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) Solid Earth Data Center in France. He received citations for excellence in refereeing from the editors of two AGU journals in 2013 and 2014 and of Earth, Planets and Space in 2015.

We are thrilled to see Raphaël’s achievements recognized by the 2019 John Wahr Early Career Award.

—Marie-Pierre Doin, Institut des Sciences de la Terre, Université Grenoble Alpes, Grenoble, France; and Gilles Peltzer, University of California, Los Angeles


Receiving the 2019 John Wahr Early Career Award is a great honor for me. I knew nearly nothing about geology until the age of 20, as I was entering the French grandes écoles system. Just as I was about to embrace an engineering career in industry, joining the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris as an intern totally changed my perspectives about scientific research. I owe a lot to my professor, Pascal Podvin, and to my mentor, Geoffrey C. P. King, who encouraged me to pursue this direction, recognizing that I had suddenly become passionate about earthquakes and volcanoes.

This nomination also rewards collaborative efforts to expand the development and application of InSAR. I am extremely grateful to Jean-Bernard de Chabalier and Anne Socquet for introducing me to InSAR in 2007. I have been lucky to benefit from data generously provided by space agencies (in particular, the European Space Agency) and from open-source software developed by pioneers in the field (especially ROI_PAC and its expansion through NSBAS). I am thankful to Marie-Pierre Doin and Gilles Peltzer for sharing their deep understanding of InSAR ever since.

Space geodesy is about to enter a new stage of development, with the launch of next-generation SAR systems and swarms of small SAR satellites. The free and open data policy adopted by international space agencies will continue to boost the development of nascent research directions. Easy access to imagery is equally important to facilitate collaboration with local authorities in charge of volcano surveillance and earthquake hazard mitigation and, eventually, to benefit threatened populations.

Just as others did for me, I wish to be able to take my share in supporting and inspiring the next generation of young researchers, to make the best of these new opportunities.

—Raphaël Grandin, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Université de Paris, Paris, France


(2020), Grandin receives 2019 John Wahr Early Career Award, Eos, 101, Published on 01 April 2020.

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