Taylor Peron will receive the 2021 MacArthur Fellowship

Taylor Perron, a professor of geology and associate director of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT, has been awarded the 2021 MacArthur Fellowship.

Often referred to as “General Donations,” the Friends donate to talented individuals in various fields at the John D. and Catherine T. McArthur Foundation. Each MacArthur partner will receive a free $ 625,000 fee to use as needed. Shortly before the friends are officially announced, the recipients will be notified of their choice.

“After listening carefully to what they had to say,” said Peron, “I couldn’t wait to tell my wife, Lisa.” We are a team in all of this and have had an amazing journey, and I look forward to sharing that with her.

Peron is a geometric expert who seeks to understand the mechanisms that shape landscapes on Earth and other planets. His work combines landscape evolution with mathematical modeling and computer simulations; Remote-sensor and spacecraft data analysis; And field studies in regions such as the Apatalusian Mountains, Hawaii, and the Amazon rainforest to track how landscapes have evolved over time and how they will change in the future.

If we can understand how climate and life and geological processes have been linked in the long run to create the landscape we are seeing now, we can use that information to estimate where the landscape is going. ”

His team developed models that illustrate how river systems can generate complex branching patterns in competitive erosion processes and how climate impact on continents, islands and reefs can affect soil erosion.

Perron re-applied the evolution of Mars and Saturn to the surface of the moon. His team used spacecraft images and data, how they could have been shaped by the action on Titan, which resembles active river networks. On Mars, his analyzes suggest that the Red Planet once occupied the ocean, and that the former coast of this Martian ocean is now distorted due to the rotation of the planet’s axis.

He went on to map out detailed maps of Mars and Titan, hoping to provide clues to their ancient climate and habitat.

“I think the answers to some of the big questions about the solar system are written on the planet Earth,” says Peron. “For example, why did Mars start with lakes and rivers, but become like a desert of snow? And if a world like Titan has a climate like ours, but a methane cycle instead of a water cycle, can such an environment sustain life? One thing we can do is learn how to read the landscape to find answers to those questions.

Peron expanded the team’s attention to explore the impact of both freshwater systems and dynamic landscapes on biodiversity on our planet.

“If we can understand how physical changes have really created huge biodiversity, we need to learn how to protect them,” says Perron.

Recently, his team began exploring the impact of landscape evolution on human history. How Peron has collaborated with archaeologists on projects to study the impact of human landscape on migration in the United States and how rivers have helped people develop complex agricultural associations in the Amazon.

Looking to the future, MacArthur plans to apply for these projects and other “mental health risks” – but it will be very rewarding if ideas that could lead to failure are successful. The Union will provide resources for the team to continue to work together on rituals and on continents.

“I learned a lot from meeting people in other fields – everything from grain mechanics to fish biology,” says Peron. “It broadened our scientific horizons and helped us to be creative. It gives us more flexibility to stay in touch with people from other fields and from other parts of the world.

Peron holds a PhD in Earth and Planetary Sciences and Archeology from Harvard University and a BA in Berkeley, California from Earth and Planetary Sciences. A.D. In 2009, he joined MIT as a faculty member.


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