Dr. Elizabeth A. Silber


I am mainly interested in theoretical and numerical studies of shock wave formation, propagation and dynamics in the context of hypersonic projectiles and their effect on planetary atmospheres and surfaces (solid and liquid).

However, my broad research interests are wide-ranging and interdisciplinary in nature, as exemplified by the non-exhaustive list below:
- small bodies in the Solar System
- planetary interiors, surfaces and atmospheres
- planetary impact risk assessment and mitigation
- deformation of Earth and planetary materials
- shock induced modification and transformation of materials
- shock wave propagation in solids, liquids and gasses
- numerical modeling of hydrodynamic processes
- non-linear acoustics with the focus on infrasound
- ocean acoustics

Current Research

Currently, my research covers two major themes: (1) impact modeling and (2) meteor shock wave physics. I am working on several concurrent projects which explore fundamental and outstanding questions in the aforementioned fields.

(1) I am undertaking theoretical investigation of shock waves on a micro- and macro-scale and numerical modeling of hydrodynamical processes using the well-established, world-class multi-material shock physics code iSALE. Some of my projects are: investigation of the structure of icy shell of Europa, influence of impact velocity on lunar crater morphology and simple-to-complex crater transition, production of impact melt, effect of porosity on simple-to-complex lunar craters, and thermal history of the Moon.

(2) I am interested in macro- and micro-scale physical and chemical processes resulting from meteor generated shock wave interaction with the ambient atmosphere, planetary defense, evolution and composition of small bodies in the solar system, and delivery of exogenous material to the Earth. One of my projects involves determining the role of hyperthermal chemistry in the early diffusion of overdense meteor trains.

Other Research

- Infrasound monitoring of natural and anthropogenic phenomena
- Doctoral research