Lapo Boschi
Laboratoire ISTEP
Equipe LSD


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Phenomena explained by the physics of acoustic and elastic waves are experienced every day, from the simple fact of communicating through speech, to catastrophic events like earthquakes. In seismology, concepts in wave physics have been applied since the beginning of the XX century, to localize hypocenters, or to make inferences on the internal structure of the Earth down to its center.

After a doctoral thesis on global seismic tomography--a way of using seismograms (observations of seismic waves) to make three-dimensional maps of rock properties inside the Earth (e.g., Boschi and Dziewonski, 1999; Auer et al., 2014)--I have been involved in a number of research projects at the interface between seismology and geodynamics (e.g., Boschi and Becker, 2002; Boschi, Becker and Steinberger, 2007, 2008): knowing the Earth's current internal structure is useful to understand its functioning (convection in the mantle, and, ultimately, the driving engine of plate tectonics).

More recently, my research interests shifted towards ambient-noise seismology, a technique that allows tomography in the absence of earthquakes (or man-made events--explosions): signal recorded during seismically 'quiet' times (i.e., compressional waves mostly generated by storms, ocean waves) is sufficient if properly treated and analyzed. I have applied this technique in the context of Alpine crust tomography (e.g., Molinari et al., 2014), and I have explored the underlying theory through numerical and analogue experiments (e.g., Colombi et al., 2014).

Theoretical seismology is closely related to the theory of acoustic waves, which leads to much interdisciplinary work. I collaborate with 'medical' acousticians to study how sound propagates in bones, and how the skull can function as an antenna to help certain animals in their precise identification of sound sources; I am interested in the concept of acoustic display of scientific data--particularly appropriate for seismic data--and (with the help of psychoacousticians) in determining its benefits with respect to much more widely used visual display.

Updated: June 2, 2014.