Congratulations to Dr. Melissa Sims on her newly awarded NSF Earth Sciences Post-Doctoral fellowship, “Windows into Ancient Impacts: Examining Meteoritics Research with New Approaches”! With the award, Dr. Sims will be carrying out research and educational activities with collaborators in the Wicks Lab, the Earth and Planetary Sciences department at Johns Hopkins, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, over the next two years. To better understand natural shock processes, she will be running a series of experiments to explore phase transformation kinetics and deformation mechanisms in olivine and plagioclase.
In 2018, Dr. Sims earned her PhD from Stonybrook University by simulating meteorite impacts utilizing diamond anvil cells, laser heating, and X-ray diffraction. Since then, she has since been conducting research with the Wicks Lab using laser shock compression paired with X-ray diffraction to study phase transitions at both the Dynamic Compression Sector and the Omega laser of the Laboratory for Laser Energetics. The new NSF grant will allow Dr. Sims to expand her research to gas gun experiments, which offer advantageous timescales for experimental meteoritics studies. These tools together will allow her to better understand the complex impact history of meteorite impacts as they are recorded in the mineral phase assemblages and in defect distribution.