Dr. Laura Pyrak-Nolte is currently a Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Purdue University and also hold courtesy appointments in the Lyle School of Civil Engineering and the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. She has worked in geophysics and rock mechanics for over 30 years since obtaining a MS in Geophysics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1983, and a Ph.D. in Rock Mechanics in 1988 having worked with Neville G. W. Cook at the University of California, Berkeley. She was a Professor Civil Engineering & Geological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame from 1992-1997 and has been at Purdue since 1997 in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
Dr. Pyrak-Nolte’s research is founded on exploring, quantifying and understanding the interrelationship among fracture properties. As an experimentalist, she has worked on different aspects of these interrelationships exploring the geometry of fractures & fracture networks, understanding how seismic waves interact with fractures, how fracture geometry affects are fluids flow & occupy the void space in a fracture, and recently, have been working with colleagues on the geophysical monitoring of fracture evolution.
Dr. Pyrak-Nolte has been an active member of the American Rock Mechanics Association (ARMA) and served as President from 2017-2019. She is currently President of the International Society for Porous media (2019-2021). Dr. Pyrak-Nolte has also served on the Department of Energy (DOE) Earth Sciences Council, and was chair of the DOE Council on Chemical Sciences, Geosciences and Bio sciences (2015-2019). She has experience chairing ARMA’s annual meeting, AGU (American Geophysical Union) sessions on topics from shale to Machine Learning, and has participatied in DOE workshops and round tables on future research directions.