Stanford University
Wendy Mao

Photo credit: Holly Hernandez

Earth's hidden interior

Wendy MaoAssociate ProfessorGeological Sciences


“We’re discovering new geological materials that nature knows exist, but that no person has ever seen,” said Wendy Mao, associate professor of geological sciences, of photon science and, by courtesy, of geophysics. Mao’s research involves using extreme environments to answer key questions about Earth and planetary interiors and to provide guidance for the design of new materials for energy-related applications. Students in her Extreme Environments Laboratory analyze how lattice structures and atoms rearrange, and how the properties of materials change as a result of being exposed to extreme conditions. “In my lab, we try to simulate the conditions inside our planet. It’s exciting for me because it involves things that people haven't seen before.”

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