Michael E. Wysession

Michael E. Wysession (born December 6, 1961) is a Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, and author of numerous science textbooks published by Pearson Education and Prentice Hall.

Michael Wysession
Michael E Wysession.JPG
Wysession Lecturing in 2015
Born (1961-12-06) December 6, 1961 (age 58)
Alma materNorthwestern University
Years active29
WebsiteWeb Page of Michael Wysession

Wysession earned his B.Sc. from Brown University in 1980 and his Ph.D. at Northwestern University in 1991, and has been on the faculty at Washington University since then. His research has focused on using seismic waves to identify the composition and structure of Earth's mantle, with special focus on the boundary between the mantle and core. In 1996, Wysession created one of the first maps of the structure of Earth's core-mantle boundary,[1] and in 1999, he created the first accurate computer-generated animation of the way seismic waves propagate through Earth's mantle.[2] An example of his research was the identification with Jesse Lawrence of the lower mantle Beijing Anomaly.[3][4] Wysession is chair of the National Science Foundation (NSF)-sponsored Earth Science Literacy Initiative, leading a research community-based effort that created a concise document of what all citizens should know about Earth science. He has been active for many years with the leadership of IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology), and has served as Chair for the past four years of the Education and Outreach Program, working to advance global awareness of earthquakes and seismology. Wysession also helped to create the NSF program on Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics, and is an editor of the journal Geophysical Research Letters, published by the American Geophysical Union.

Wysession is the lead author of Prentice Hall's high school physical science book Physical Science: Concepts in Action,[5] and writer of their high school Earth Science[6] and middle school Earth science Science Explorer books.[7][8] He is also a co-author of Pearson's new K-8 national science program, Interactive Science. Wysession is co-author of a leading undergraduate/graduate geophysics textbook with Seth Stein entitled Introduction to Seismology, Earthquakes, and Earth Structure.[9] Wysession is author of the video course How the Earth Works with The Teaching Company,[10] which consists of 48 30-minute lectures on all aspects of Earth science. He is the designer and instructor of a course entitled Earth, Moon, and Mars that he presents at different NASA locations. Wysession is a frequent lecturer internationally at teacher organization meetings (such as the National Science Teachers Association), science centers, and other venues.


  1. ^ Wysession, M. E., "Large-scale structure at the core-mantle boundary from core-diffracted waves", Nature, 382, 244-248, 1996.
  2. ^ Wysession, M. E., and S. Baqer, Earthquake Animation: Visualizing the propagation of seismic shear waves through the mantle, ©1999 (A 20-minute narrated movie in VHS format).
  3. ^ Huge 'Ocean' Discovered Inside Earth Livescience
  4. ^ [1] J.F. Lawrence, M.E. Wysession; Seismic Evidence for Subduction-Transported Water in the Lower Mantle
  5. ^ Wysession, M.E., D. Frank, and S. Yancopoulis, Physical Science: Concepts in Action, Prentice-Hall, 925 pp., 2004, 2006, 2008.
  6. ^ Earth Science, Prentice Hall, 780 pp., 2005, 2007, 2009.
  7. ^ Inside Earth, Prentice Hall, 214 pp., 2005, 2007, 2009.
  8. ^ Earth's Changing Surface, Prentice Hall, 176 pp., 2005, 2007, 2009.
  9. ^ Seth Stein, Michael E. Wysession (2003). An introduction to seismology, earthquakes, and earth structure. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 0-86542-078-5.
  10. ^ Wysession, M. E., How the Earth Works [A video course of 48 half-hour lectures], The Teaching Company, Chantilly, VA, 2008.

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