College of Fellows Distinguished Lecture Series Speaker

Alik Ismail-Zadeh
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Primary Affiliation: Natural Hazards

Scientific discoveries based on Earth observations, data analysis, and modeling, which are integrated into hazard, vulnerability and exposure studies, help in risk assessments and advance frontiers of disaster science. In the first part of the lecture I shall discuss how basic geophysical science and natural hazard research (particularly, seismic and volcanic hazard analysis) contributes to risk assessment and disaster science. Understanding of the lithosphere dynamics, large earthquake occurrences, volcanic eruptions, and hazards associated with the events has significantly advanced during the last decades. Geohazard analysis, modeling, and forecasting help in development of preventive measures aimed to reduce impacts of extreme events.


Alik Ismail-Zadeh is a mathematical geophysicist known for his contribution to computational geodynamics and natural hazard research as well as for his unselfish international cooperation in geosciences and in disaster risk reduction. He graduated from the Baku State University in Azerbaijan (B.Sc.) and the Lomonosov Moscow State University in Russia (M.Sc.) before being awarded Ph.D. degree in 1990 and D.Sc. (Habilitation) in 1997 from the Russian Academy of Sciences (RusAS) in Moscow. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Applied Geosciences, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany, and was until March 2022 Chief Scientist / Research Professor and leader of the Research Group “Computational Geodynamics and Geohazard Modelling” at the RusAS Institute of Earthquake Prediction Theory and Mathematical Geophysics in Moscow. He has been a visiting scholar/professor of several universities and academic centers, including UCLA, the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom), the University of Tokyo (Japan), Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (France), the University of Uppsala and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (Sweden), the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing (China), King Saud University in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel), and the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste (Italy).

His research interests cover deep and surface dynamic processes and their interaction. He has contributed to geodynamics and seismology (mantle and lithosphere dynamics, and earthquake occurences), sedimentary geology (basin evolution and salt tectonics), volcanology (lava dynamics), geohazards and risk analysis, science policy, diplomacy, and history. His research methods cover theoretical analysis, numerical experiments, and multi- and interdisciplinary synthesis. He is a principal author and co-author of over 150 peer-reviewed papers and several books. He has been a leader of several interdisciplinary projects, and received numerous grants from research foundations, industry, international, and intergovernmental organizations.

Ismail-Zadeh is active in promoting basic science, science excellency and science for society worldwide. He was elected the inaugural Secretary of the International Science Council (ISC, 2018-2021) and Secretary-General of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG, 2007-2019). He was a founding President of the AGU Natural Hazards Section, and Chair of the IUGG Commission on Geophysical Risk and Sustainability. He served as a Council Member of the UNESCO International Geoscience Program, and Chair/Member of governing boards or scientific committees of several professional, international and intergovernmental organizations, including European Geosciences Union, EuroScience, Group on Earth Observations (GEO), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). At present he is Chaif of the IUGG Commission on Mathematical Geophysics, Scientific Council Member of the UNESCO-ICTP East African Institute for Fundamental Research in Kigali, Rwanda, Senior Adviser to the ISC Governing Board, Member of the AGU Honor and Recognition Committee. Ismail-Zadeh is a Member of the Academia Europaea, Honorary Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society of London, AGU Fellow, ISC Fellow, IUGG Fellow, and a recipient of several awards and medals, including AGU Ambassador (2019) and International (2009) awards.