FJ Simons, About Me

I am a Professor at Princeton University in the Department of Geosciences. I am also an Associated Faculty member in the Program in Applied & Computational Mathematics, the Princeton Environmental Institute, and with the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment. I serve on the Executive Committee of the Certificate Program in Archaeology. Between 2010 and 2013 I was the  Dusenbury University Preceptor of Geological & Geophysical Sciences.

Previously, I was a Lecturer at University College London, a Princeton Council of Science & Technology Beck Fellow and a Geosciences Hess Post-doctoral Fellow. My Ph.D. in Geophysics is from MIT and my M.Sc. in Geology from the KU Leuven in Belgium, of which I am a native.

More about me. Even more about me.


Doris Li   Peter Mwesigwa   Frank Ge   Jonah Rubin
Aidan Blaser   Georg Reuber   Sarah Kroeker   Yue Hu
Elija Hash   James Tralie   Ben Huang   Lauren Vonberg

I am interested in mentoring (under)graduate students and post-doctoral researchers who share, extend, and challenge my interests. If you are a prospective graduate student, please peruse my research pages to find out what I've been up to, see if anything appeals to you, and mention this, and my name as a potential advisor, in your application to the Department of Geosciences. All applications are routed through the Graduate School, which has strict rules and deadlines—and fees, that can be waived if they present any hardship.

Our field is not diverse enough in gender, racial, and socio-economic makeup, and I am committed to changing that. However, I am unable to take on international summer interns, even self-funded, nor can I accommodate high-school students, however precocious.

A list of current and former group members. Gallery


FJ Simons, Research

I am a geologically inspired, geophysically educated, computationally motivated and mathematically minded geoscientist interested in the seismic, mechanical, thermal and magnetic properties of the Earth's lithosphere—and of the terrestrial planets and moons. I enjoy analyzing complex, large, and heterogeneous geophysical data sets, and design mathematical and computational inverse methods, and statistical techniques to do so.

No amount of sophistication can cure a fundamental data limitation: I had a hand in developing floating hydrophones to open up the sparsely instrumented oceanic domains for global seismic tomography, and founded a consortium, EarthScope-Oceans, devoted to deploying them around the globe.

A thematic list of my research interests.


F. J. Simons, Teaching

I strive for clarity and precision in teaching the fundamentals rather than attempting encyclopaedic completeness of coverage—How? over What? I develop the material slowly allowing for questions, tangents, and interaction with the students.

Students do seem to embrace it—"His special way of presenting using blackboard simulated my engagement and independent thinking." Sometimes my teaching is hands-on, and I use digital media—one student evaluation called my slides "geoscience wisdom distilled into pill-size portions". Above all, I try to give students what I think they need most: enthusiasm for the subject, challenging problems, individual attention. From (an earlier version of) the Princeton Course Guide: "Nobody I've had here has put this much effort into getting everybody on board."

A chronological list of classes offered.


F. J. Simons, Software

I adhere to the tenets of Reproducible Research, and I am a fan of the Free Software Foundation, as should you!

On this page I present an attempt to make my algorithms useful to you. Feel free to improve upon these codes, let me know any bug fixes or suggestions you might have, and cite my associated publications if you find any of this useful. When making modifications, preserve my name as the source. I acknowledge help by, and inspiration from everyone I've ever worked with, taught or advised, but in particular Oded Aharonson, Mark D. Behn, Eugene Brevdo, Gabe Eggers, Chris Harig, Jessica Hawthorne, Hrafnkell Kárason, Kevin Lewis, Ignace Loris, Guy Masters, Alain Plattner, Joel Simon, Dong Wang, Evan Welch and Mark Wieczorek.

My GitHub page—getting better by the day.


F. J. Simons, Publications

I am a writer—an author and a coauthor—and an editor and a reviewer for a variety of scientific outlets. I want my—and your!—papers read, not just counted. Pauca sed matura! I try to write a paper only when I have something to say, and I suggest you all do the same. I work closely with graduate students to get their ideas onto paper, which I consider an essential part of their education.

A chronological PDF repository.
A searchable BibTex repository.
A chronological list with citation metadata.

My arXiv page.
My ResearchGate profile.
My ScopusID is 7102927367.
My OrcID is 0000-0003-2021-6645
My Publons/ResearcherID is A-3427-2008.

A thematic list of my research publications.