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Robert Wills

Graduate Student, California Institue of Technology

I am a second year Ph.D. student in the Caltech Environmental Science and Engineering Department. I am interested in understanding the complex interactions between the many elements of the climate system: the atmosphere, the ocean, the cryosphere, and the land surface. My background is in theoretical physics and nonlinear dynamics and I have previously studied topics ranging from plasma confinement for nuclear fusion to systems neuroscience. My current research project is trying to explain the role of mountain ranges and continents in shaping the pattern of global precipitation in a changing climate. I hope that this will be useful to understand how local erosion, water supply, agriculture, and glaciers will be affected by climate change. My advisor is Tapio Schnieder who is now a professor at ETH Zurich to which I am moving in summer 2012 to continue pursuing my Caltech Ph.D. For more on my research interests and for publications, see the science tab.

I have many non-scientific interests including exploring the outdoors, photography, making musical instruments, making music, and snowboarding. For examples of my photography, see the photography tab. For examples of my music, see the music tab.

recent updates
September 22, 2012

Photo Gallery. I just revamped the photography section of my webpage with an improved gallery feature and new pictures. Check it out.

August 4, 2012

Blog. Check out the new blog section of my webpage. I just wrote up my 725 km bike trip across Norway and will soon post some good stories and lessons learned from my climate and landscapes summer school in Norway.

January 12, 2012

Rotating. I finished my research with Professor Christoph Koch and have moved on to a project studying lipid membrane dynamics with Professor Sandra Troian. My systems neuroscience work with Koch might lead to a paper but not for several months.