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 Planetary Interiors and Geophysics (3226): People
Saikiran  Tharimena's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 183-301
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
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Curriculum Vitae:

Dr. Saikiran Tharimena

Saikiran (Sai) Tharimena, is a Postdoctoral Scholar in Planetary Sciences. Sai started as a civil engineer but turned a scientist. He has a broad research interest in seismology, numerical modelling, physical oceanography (mixing in the ocean), remote sensing & GIS, and a general interest in philosophy.

Sai obtained his PhD in Seismology from the University of Southampton, UK, with a focus on seismically imaging the internal structure of the Earth beneath different tectonic settings, such as large igneous provinces, oceans, and the continents. He continued as a research fellow at Southampton to investigate the structure beneath young (0 – 40 My) oceanic lithosphere at the equatorial Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

Sai moved to JPL in early 2018 to investigate the interiors of icy ocean worlds such as Europa, Jupiter’s moon, using numerical modelling of possible seismic signals. He intends to extend his work to other planetary bodies including Saturn’s moons, Enceladus and Titan, and also Mars.

  • 2017 PhD (Seismology), University of Southampton, UK
  • 2012 MSc (Oceanography), University of Southampton, UK
  • 2011 BTech (Civil Engineering), Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur, India

Research Interests

Determining the internal structure of planetary bodies, physical oceanography (mixing in the ocean), and algorithm development.

Professional Experience
  • Feb 2018 – Present: Postdoctoral Scholar in Planetary Sciences, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
  • Feb 2018 – Present: Visiting Research Fellow, University of Southampton, UK
  • Feb 2017 – Jan 2018: Research Fellow in Passive Source Seismology, University of Southampton, UK
  • Feb 2017 – April 2017: Research Scientist, Royal Research Ship Discovery – PILAB expedition (DY072), Atlantic Ocean
  • Nov 2014 – Jun 2016: Research Scientist/Technical Expert, Temporary Seismic Network deployment/servicing/recovery in Papua New Guinea
  • May 2010 – Jul 2010: Research Intern, Regional Remote Sensing Centre (Nagpur), Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)

Selected Awards

2017 – Dean’s award for Research, University of Southampton

2016 – Winner of ILIaD Leadership, Management and Team Management Challenge, University of Southampton

2015 – Sustainability Action Award, University of Southampton

2013/2014 – The Royal Astronomical Society grant

2012 – Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship, University of Southampton

2010 – Academic Excellence Prize, Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur, India

Selected Publications
  1. Rychert C.A., Harmon N., Tharimena S., Scattered wave imaging of a melt defined oceanic plate in Cascadia. Science Advances, 2018, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aao1908
  2. Tharimena S., Rychert C.A., Harmon N., A unified continental thickness from seismology and diamonds suggests a melt defined plate. Science, 2017, DOI: 10.1126/science.aan0741
  3. Tharimena S., Rychert C.A., Harmon N., White P.R., Imaging Pacific lithosphere seismic discontinuities – Insights from SS precursor modelling. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 2017, DOI: 10.1002/2016JB013526
  4. Tharimena S., Rychert C.A., Harmon N., Seismic imaging of a mid-lithospheric discontinuity beneath Ontong Java Plateau. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2016, DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2016.06.026

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