Researcher Profile

Jackson School of Geosciences

Thorsten Becker

Thorsten  Becker
Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences
Shell Companies Foundation Distinguished Chair in Geophysics

Email: twb@ig.utexas.edu
Work: +1 512 232 1885, +1 512 471 0410
Office: ROC 2.116D, ROC
Mailcode: R2200

Becker's research interests are in geodynamics and seismology, focusing on how planets' interior and surface systems have co-evolved. His group at JSG combines field, laboratory, and numerical approaches into dynamical models, focusing on the physics of plate tectonics, from grain- and earthquake-scale deformation to plate-scale flow. They are always looking for motivated undergraduate and graduate students to join their team.

Thorsten's teaching interests include Natural Hazards, Introduction to Geology, Geophysics, Geodynamics, Seismology, Deep Earth Dynamics, and Numerical Geodynamics. His service engagements include a near-decade stint as Editor in Chief of AGU's journal G-Cubed, and he currently chairs the National Academy of Sciences Standing Committee on Seismology and Geodynamics.

Becker holds a M.Sc. in Physics from Frankfurt University, a Ph.D. in Geophysics from Harvard, and was a Green post-doctoral scholar at Scripps, UC San Diego. He has been author of more than 125 scientific publications and is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.

Areas of Expertise

mantle dynamics; fault system dynamics; structural seismology; numerical modeling


Fellow - American Geophysical Union (2015)

Astor Visiting Fellowship - Oxford University (2014)

Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Award - Humboldt Foundation (2013)

C. F. Gauss lecturer - German Geophysical Society (2008)

Kavli fellow - National Academy of Sciences (2007)

Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Scholarship - Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego (2002)

Certificate of Excellence in Teaching - Harvard University (2001)

CAREER Award - National Science Foundation - 2007)

Postdocs

Lukas Fuchs
Lukas received his B.Sc. (2009) and M.Sc. (2012) in Geosciences with specialization in Geophysics from the Johann-Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main, Germany. He completed a Ph.D. in Mineralogy, Petrology, and Tectonics from the Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden in 2016. His research focuses on numerical modelling of large deformation in different geodynamic fields (e.g. in salt and magmatic diapirs, at the boundary...

Matthew B Weller
Matt received a dual B.Sc. in Geology and Astrophysics with a math minor from the University of Toledo in 2007, graduating Cum Laude. He completed a M.Sc. in remote sensing from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2010, and a Ph.D. in Earth Sciences from Rice University in 2015. His research focuses on the evolution and dynamics of planetary bodies,...

Robert Porritt
Rob uses seismic imaging methods to improve our understanding of plate tectonic processes. His research interests range from crustal scales on the order of a few kilometers to regional scales on the order of a few hundred kilometers. He is interested in the roles of subduction and collision in continental growth and destruction.


Graduate Students

Alexandra Lachner , Ph.D., expected 2024 (Co-supervisor)

Simone Puel (Supervisor)

Erin Heilman (Supervisor)

Wanying Wang (Supervisor)

Ethan M Conrad (Co-supervisor)

Kunpeng Liao, M.S., 2018 (Supervisor)
UT Austin


Undergraduate Students

Zel Hurewitz (physics, UT Austin)


YearSemesterCourse
2019Fall GEO 391 Physics/Chem Of The Mantle
2019Spring GEO 302J Crisis Of Our Planet
2019Spring GEO 371T Tectonic Geodynamics
2018Spring GEO 302P Sustaining A Planet
2018Spring GEO 394 Rsch In Geological Sciences
2017Fall GEO 371T Geodynamics
2017Fall GEO 391 Geodynamics
2017Fall GEO 394 Rsch In Geological Sciences
2017Spring GEO 303 Introduction To Geology
2017Spring GEO 394 Rsch In Geological Sciences