School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences
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Ph.D. Student in Geophysics
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsI focus on the formation of cementitious minerals through the pozzolanic reaction in both natural (cemented volcanic ashes) and man-made (Roman marine concrete) formations. My research aims to link the formation of these minerals with changes in the elastic and transport properties of the materials. This can be applied to hyper-alkaline geothermal systems, pozzolanic cements and future materials.
Michael Lindley Machala
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Energy Resources Engineering
BioMichael is a postdoctoral fellow whose interests encompass international development projects requiring productive energy use and how to increase their success through transdisciplinary approaches. He has a dual appointment in the Precourt Institute for Energy and the Department of Energy Resources Engineering. His current work focuses on understanding and reducing produce supply chain inefficiency in India from a systems perspective, while identifying and testing scalable interventions with on-the-ground partners and end-users. Michael completed a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow at Stanford. His thesis focused on using fundamental research to develop design descriptors for improving solar-to-fuel and fuel-to-electricity conversion using electrochemistry.
Michael’s interest in social and environmental impact work began in high school as the president of the region’s youth-led tobacco free coalition. The coalition was runner-up for National Youth Advocates of the Year given by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids when Idaho (his home state) went tobacco-free. At Kenyon College, he self-designed a major in Chemical Physics to understand how related disciplines approach challenges in renewable energy technology development while co-captaining the men’s NCAA National Champion swim team.
After graduating in 2009, Michael moved to Germany as a Transatlantic Renewable Energy Fellow to research low-cost solar cells while learning about the sociopolitical environment that placed Germany as a global leader in renewable energy integration. While there, he attended the UNFCCC COP15 climate summit with two other fellows. Leading up to and during the highly anticipated event, they wrote and published an educational blog for the public. After leaving Germany, Michael lived in Southeast Asia as a Henry Luce Scholar to gain first-hand experience with renewable energy integration in unelectrified regions of Laos and Cambodia. This experience informed his desire to continue work on energy inequality and development around the world.
Assistant Director of Student Services, Department of Geophysics - Geophysics
Current Role at StanfordAssistant Director of Student Services, Department of Geophysics
Katharine (Kate) Maher
Associate Professor of Earth System Science, Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment and Professor, by courtesy, of Geological Sciences
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsResearch
Chemical reactions between fluids and minerals create the environments that are uniquely characteristic of Earth’s surface. For example, chemical weathering reactions support the growth of soils and organisms and regulate the flow of elements to the oceans. The rates of these reactions also control the release and storage of natural and human-derived contaminants. Over geologic timescales, mineral-fluid reactions have helped to maintain a mostly habitable planet. Over human timescales, these reactions will regulate our ability to use Earth’s resources, such as soils, waters, and minerals.
My research focuses on the rates of reactions in different environments using a combination of geochemical tools, including isotope geochemistry, geochemical and hydrologic modeling, and geochronology in order to address the following themes: (1) defining the controls on mineral-fluid reactions rates in the environment (2) finding new approaches to use mineral-fluid reactions to safely store carbon dioxide in the subsurface; and (3) development of isotopic approaches to study mineral-fluid reactions in the environments of Earth’s past. To support these research themes, I have constructed a new mass spectrometer and clean lab facility capable of high precision geochemical and isotopic measurements, and teach a number of classes and short courses on reactive transport.
My teaching focuses on introducing students to the questions and major challenges in low-temperature and environmental geochemistry, and the application of isotope geochemistry to environmental and geologic problems. In order to introduce incoming students to Earth surface processes, materials and geochemistry, I am also teaching a freshman seminar on forensic geoscience. At the graduate level, I offer classes on isotope geochemistry and modeling of environmental transformations and mass transfer processes (i.e., subsurface reactive transport).