Dr. Attreyee Ghosh is a solid earth geophysicist interested in the dynamics of the deep Earth and how that relates to surface tectonics. Her curiosity for this particular field was fueled when she enrolled in a Plate Tectonics course, while a graduate student at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. Among many other things, the course dealt with the driving forces behind plate tectonics and the associated controversies. She was fascinated by the still unanswered questions and decided to pursue this subject in a PhD program. After receiving a Master’s degree from Columbia, she joined the PhD program in Geosciences at Stony Brook University, NY. There, she worked on the problem of how the mantle couples with the lithosphere, and how this coupling gives rise to surface deformation. On completion of her PhD, Attreyee joined the Geodynamics lab at the University of Southern California (USC) as a postdoc. After the frozen winters of New York, the sun and the warmth of southern California were a welcome change.
Attreyee is currently an assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), a premier research institute based in the southern Indian city of Bangalore. She joined IISc in 2012, the same year in which she published a paper in Science showing how the convective flow in the mantle, along with lithospheric topography and density, can explain global plate motions and stresses. She and her students at the Computational Geodynamics lab in IISc strive to understand how surface phenomena, like movement of tectonic plates, formation of mountains, breaking apart of continents, and earthquakes, are affected or sometimes caused by what’s happening deep inside the Earth’s mantle.
Attreyee says that women in science are a minority everywhere, “and more so in developing countries like India where women face a lot more challenges in pursuing traditional male dominated subjects. I still get looks of surprise and disbelief when I introduce myself as a professor and a scientist.” She found out about ESWN just before she left the United States to join her current position in India. She appreciates that such a network exists for women scientists and hopes that more female geoscientists from her country join the network. She has found the community extremely valuable, from getting helpful academic advice to finding roommates for conferences like the AGU.
Outside her life of research and teaching, Attreyee is an avid long-distance runner. She took up running while doing her postdoctoral work at USC and now runs ultra-marathons. She feels that running these long distances brings a balance to her life; it makes her a better scientist, and a more holistic human being.