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Michael  Lawson's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 321-400
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
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Curriculum Vitae:

Michael Lawson

I’m a Post Doctoral Research Associate at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory working with the MARS2020 science team on the implementation of the Rover Operations Activities for Science Team Training (ROASTT) 2019 field exercise. Designed as a high fidelity training program, ROASTT will give the diverse Mars2020 science team the remarkable opportunity to learn the mission’s science tools before the spacecraft has even left the clean room. I received my Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in Geology with a focus on Tectonic Geomorphology and a Quaternary Geochronometry technique known as Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL). For my dissertation, I investigated a series of oblique normal faults in northwest Death Valley to expand the research into the Eastern California Shear Zone (ECSZ). I have also worked on tectonic recurrence studies in the Mojave and Alaska. Professionally, I have developed both flight and ground instrumentation for the study of space weather, specifically magnetometers and particle detectors. I developed ground testing equipment for UCLA and NASA on missions such as ICEMAG (Europa Clipper, JPL-NASA) and MMS-DFG (Magnetic Multiscale, NASA). I have also built flight hardware, for example magnetometers flown on the ELFIN-L module for Lomonosov Moscow State University- UCLA, and instruments soon to be launched on the UCLA ELFIN and ELFIN* Cubesatellites and the Google XPRIZE mission SpaceIL.

  • Ph.D. Geology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA (2017)
  • B.S. Geology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA (2008)

Research Interests
  • Team training
  • Mars surficial processes
  • Luminescent dating
  • Tectonics and geomorphology
  • Instrument development
  • CubeSats

Professional Experience
  • Post Doctoral Research Associate, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2018- present)
  • Assistant Development Engineer, UCLA (2017-2018)
  • Electronics Technician, UCLA (2006-2017)
  • Teaching Fellow/ Research Assistant, UCLA (2013- 2016)

Selected Publications
  • Lawson, M. The Application of Luminescence to Tectonics: Improvements to Luminescent Dating and its Utilization in High-Energy Depositional Environments. 2017, UCLA
  • Lawson, M.J., Daniels, J.T.M., Rhodes, E.J. Assessing Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) signal contamination within small aliquots and single grain measurements utilizing the composition test. 2015, Quaternary International 362, 34-41
  • Lawson, M.J., Roder, B.J., Stang, D.M., Rhodes, E.J. OSL and IRSL characteristics of quartz and feldspar from southern California, USA. 2012, Radiation Measurements 47, 830-836

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