Maria T. Zuber is the E. A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences at MIT, where she studies the structure and evolution of Earth and the terrestrial planets. Her research combines the design and implementation of spacecraft laser and radio tracking investigations with theoretical modeling of geophysical processes that shape planetary surfaces. She has been involved with a half dozen planetary missions that have sent or will send spacecraft to map the moon, Mars, Mercury, and several asteroids.
During her fellowship year, Zuber will study the early evolution of the crusts of the terrestrial planets. She will investigate how magnetic field observations can be used in combination with other geophysical data to understand the early thermal state of planetary interiors. In addition, she will study how volatile release associated with early crustal heat loss infuenced the early climate of Mars.
Zuber received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and master’s and doctoral degrees from Brown University. She is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and a recipient of the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal. In addition, she is a past president of the Planetary Sciences Section of the American Geophysical Union, and she serves on the editorial board of Science magazine.