MIT PhD Student Lucy Sandoe Quilts Geophysics

Lucy Sandoe, a PhD student in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT, has created a visually stunning quilt to represent geophysics, her field of study. The quilt is divided into three panels, with each one depicting different aspects of geophysics, and is set to be displayed in Lucy's department and around the Boston area.

By Adelaide Zollinger

Mar 1, 2023

During the January Independent Activities Period (IAP), in collaboration with the Office of Experiential Learning, MIT MAD offered mini grants to support student projects as diverse as "VR Gloves for Communication Accessibility," "LED Light Sign and Plasma Cut & Welded Lamp," "Quilting Geophysics," or "Magnets Carlsen, Chess Robot." Project Manus' makerspaces, equipment and technical guidance were instrumental!

Lucy Sandoe, a second year PhD in the department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT, wanted to create a visual representation of geophysics, her field of study. Over Independent Activities Period (IAP), she spent several hours a day designing, cutting, hand and machine sewing this spectacular quilt, which she will display in her department and around the Boston area.

The top panel is like looking at a slice of the earth along a fault. It shows the slip distribution, or the amount of movement of different areas of a fault during an earthquake. The red triangle represents the earthquake’s epicenter, with slip and energy radiating outwards.

The middle panel is a stress change along a crack. The middle line is a fracture, and the shapes around it show the positive and negative stress changes from some force.

The bottom panel represents seismic imaging. It shows an image of what the Earth’s subsurface looks like. In the upper left corner, a source is sending seismic waves downwards, with three receivers getting the reflections back to the surface on the right. This allows scientists to see different layers of the Earth, such as different rock types or the presence of water.

Watch Project Manus' video on Lucy's work:

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