Doyeon Kim

Charles F. Richter Early Career Award | 2024 Recipient

Doyeon KimDoyeon Kim (DK), a lecturer in planetary science in the Faculty of Engineering at Imperial College London has been honored with the 2024 Charles F. Richter Early Career Award for his scientific productivity across a variety of topics, including recent work on Martian seismology and his pioneering approaches to seismic imaging.

“I am sincerely grateful for this award, which I humbly attribute to the collective efforts of those who have played a pivotal role in shaping my academic career. This recognition fuels my dedication to furthering the science of seismology on and off Earth, and my desire to pay it forward by mentoring students and the next generation of seismologists,” Kim said.

Kim’s innovative research in seismic imaging and in finding novel ways to process seismic wave data collected from microearthquakes, earthquake coda, meteorite impacts, and oil industry active source experiments, among other sources, have greatly influenced Earth and Martian seismology. His research illuminates subsurface structures ranging from aquifer levels, shallow magmatic systems beneath volcanoes, subducting slabs such as those encountered beneath Alaska, and pervasive scatterers in the core-mantle boundary region, such as the ultra-low velocity zone beneath Marquesas that he and his colleagues discovered and described in a paper published in Science in 2020.

As a NASA InSight mission teams’ frontline scientist, Kim has applied his expertise in method development and observational study to Mars, looking at how seismic wave observations on the Red Planet can be applied—and sometimes misunderstood—in studies of Mars’ crustal structure.

“The array of scientific targets DK has tackled is stunning for someone so early in their scientific career,” said Vedran Lekić, a professor at the University of Maryland who nominated Kim for the award. “His work on Mars is helping lay the very foundation of Martian seismology … and DK is recognized as the world authority in this field.”

Kim’s publications include two essential papers for the nascent field of Martian seismology. In 2022, he was the first author of a paper published in Science that analyzed the first detection of surface waves on the planet’s surface, after a fortuitous meteor impact. He was also the first author of a Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (BSSA) paper in 2021 that noted the potential pitfalls of analysis and interpretation of seismic data collected by the InSight mission.

In their commendations of Kim, several colleagues noted that he has been developing a suite of joint inversion toolkits that will be useful to address geophysical datasets collected by future lunar and Martian missions. They also noted that Kim has worked skillfully with large teams of collaborators, a valuable trait in an early career seismologist.

Kim received his B.A. (2010) and M.S. (2012) in civil and environmental engineering from Yonsei University, and his Ph.D. in seismology and geophysics from Cornell University in 2018. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maryland from 2018 to 2021 and served as a senior scientist at the Institute of Geophysics at ETH Zürich from 2021 to 2023.