Bill Wu, Ph.D. Student

Bill Wu sitting on a bridge with a city skyline in background

Hometown: Beijing, China
CEE research concentration: Structural Mechanics & Materials
Lab affiliationMcLaskey research group 

What is your area of research and why is it important?
Our research group studies earthquake physics by squeezing 3-meter granite blocks in Bovay lab and using field seismic data (in collaboration with EAS). We try to understand how earthquakes nucleate, terminate, their source properties (magnitudes, locations, stress drop), how they're affected by fluid injections, etc. 

What inspired you to choose this field of study?
My research feels a bit like forensic science. We only hear loud bangs and see wiggles on a screen (representing earthquakes waves); but they pack a myriad of information, allowing us to "see" and explain processes tens of kilometers beneath the Earth's surface. It combines hands-on experimental work, signal processing, and a healthy dose of solid mechanics.

What are your hobbies or interests outside of school?
I like to play badminton, hike, ski, take photos, and watch Netflix.

Why did you choose Cornell?
(Because I like to shovel snow...jk!) I had a great talk with Professor McLaskey when I visited Cornell in March 2015. At the time I was building a shake table to test balsa wood structures for my engineering senior design project and trying to understand linear systems and transfer functions. All those related to his research interests and I was attracted by the hands-on nature of the research I'd be doing.

Fun fact: throughout my first year of grad school I dropped less-than-1mm-diameter balls onto an aluminum plate to study wave propagation and sensors' distortion effects. I managed to lose only about 10 of them the whole year.

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