Seth Stein, PhD

1975 Hertz Fellow
Seth Stein
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Seth Stein is the William Deering Professor of Geological Sciences at Northwestern.

Seth graduated from MIT in 1975 (B.S) and Caltech (Ph.D) in 1978. His research interests are in plate tectonics, earthquake seismology, earthquake hazards, and space geodesy. He has been awarded the James B. Macelwane Medal of the American Geophysical Union, the George Woollard Award of the Geological Society of America, the Stephan Mueller Medal of the European Geosciences Union, the Price Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, and a Humboldt Foundation Research Award. He has been elected a foreign member of the Academy of Europe, a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and Geological Society of America, and named to the Institute for Scientific Information Highly Cited Researchers list.

He was one of the organizers of EarthScope, a national initiative to dramatically advance our knowledge of the structure and evolution of North America, served as Scientific Director of the UNAVCO consortium of universities using GPS for earth science, and been Visiting Senior Scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

He is president-elect of the American Geophysical Union’s natural hazards focus group, author of new book on natural hazard mitigation science and policy, a general audience book about earthquakes in the central U.S., a coauthor of a widely used seismology textbook, has edited six other books, and was editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research. He started Northwestern’s Environmental Science program, and authored more than 150 scientific publications. He is active in the geophysical community’s public education programs, works extensively with news media and museums, and completed a national tour as an Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology/Seismological Society of America Distinguished Lecturer, speaking on “Giant earthquakes: why, where, when, and what we can do.”

Graduate Studies

California Institute of Technology
Seismological Studies of Indian Ocean Tectonics


2022, Walter H. Bucher Medal, American Geophysical Union
2021, Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, Marquis Who’s Who
2014, Humbolt Research Award, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Related News

Jan 29, 2023
Hertz Fellow Seth Stein has made seminal contributions to Earth and space sciences. Stein is most proud, however, of the work he considers essential to the future of science: serving as a collaborator and mentor to 30 PhD students.
Sep 4, 2019
Seth Stein, ’78, began his geoscience career as an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology studying moonquakes using data from seismometers deployed by the Apollo missions.