NGSS Writing Team Leader: Michael Wysession

Michael Wysession is an Associate Professor of Geophysics in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science at Washington University, St. Louis, who has established himself as a world leader in the area of seismology and geophysical education. He has developed several means of using the seismic waves from earthquakes to “see” into the earth and create three-dimensional pictures of earth’s interior, and currently is lead investigator in a National Science Foundation (NSF) project installing a network of seismometers in East Africa and Madagascar.

Dr. Wysession is co-author of Pearson Prentice Hall’s new national K8 science textbook program, Interactive Science, and lead author of Prentice Hall’s 9th-grade physical science textbook, Physical Science: Concepts in Action. Wysession is the creator and lecturer of a 48-lecture video course with The Teaching Company entitled How the Earth Works. He is co-author of Introduction to Seismology, Earthquakes, and Earth Structure, a leading graduate-level textbook used in geophysics classes around the world. Dr. Wysession constructed the first computer-generated animation of how seismic waves propagate within the earth from an earthquake, creating a twenty-minute movie that is used in many high school and college classrooms. He is also the designer and instructor of a three-day course, Earth, Moon, and Mars, which he regularly teaches to NASA engineers at different NASA centers.

Dr. Wysession was recently Chair for four years of the Education and Outreach program of the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), and is Chair the NSF-sponsored Earth Science Literacy Initiative, where he led the creation of a single document of big ideas and supporting concepts that every citizen should know about earth science ( Dr. Wysession is a leader of the Earth and Space Science Design Team for the NRC’s Conceptual Framework for K–12 Science Education. He was also co-author of the recent NSF long-range planning documents Seismological Grand Challenges in Understanding Earth's Dynamic Systems and Unlocking the Secrets of the North American Continent: An Earthquake Science Plan for 2010-2020.

Dr. Wysession’s research and educational efforts have been recognized through several fellowships and awards. He has received a Science and Engineering Fellowship from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, and a National Science Foundation Presidential Faculty Fellowship. Dr. Wysession received a Distinguished Lectureships from the Seismological Society of America and Incorporated Research Institutions of Seismology in 2005, and from the National Association of Geoscience Teachers in 2009. He was awarded the Innovation Award of the St. Louis Science Academy and the Distinguished Faculty Award of Washington University.

Wysession received a BS in Geophysics from Brown University and a PhD from Northwestern University.