Brandon Duran awarded 2022 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Brandon Duran (C’22),

Brandon Duran (C’22), a Physics and Computer Science double major, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (new window). This prestigious award recognizes and supports outstanding students pursuing research-based graduate degrees in STEM disciplines. 

Brandon’s fellowship proposal was based on the REU project he worked on in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Hawaii in summer 2021. As an REU participant, he developed a web-based tool (new window) to provide the paleoclimate community with access to simulation output from the Isotope-Enabled Community Earth Systems Model (iCESM (new window)), which simulates variations in water isotopic ratios in the atmosphere, land, ocean, and sea ice. His project focused on the specific application of characterizing the dynamics underlying variations in water isotopic ratios at proxy sites. Brandon proposed an extension of the tool to address the disconnect between physical proxy archives (i.e., things like ice cores, tree rings, etc that hold information about what the climate was like in the past) and their climatic interpretation.

“The REU project was a nice combination of programming, physics, and Earth Science, which was perfect for my interests,” Brandon explains.  Brandon presented his research at the Fall 2021 meeting of the American Geophysical Union with support from a travel grant from AGU.

After graduating this spring, Brandon plans to join the Climate Sciences PhD program at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. A potential direction for his graduate research is the application of physics-inspired machine-learning algorithms to climate modeling.