Campus: Northridge -- January 17, 2006

CSUN Geology Professor Named Fulbright Scholar, to Study Earthquake Hazards in Central America

Cal State Northridge geological sciences professor Gerald Simila has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright scholar grant to lecture and conduct research on earthquakes in Costa Rica.

Simila and his wife, Tina, are expected to leave March 1 for Costa Rica's National University in Heredia, where he will be investigating the seismicity and earthquake hazards of the Central American country's central valley.

"I am very honored and excited to be returning to Costa Rica with a Fulbright Research Fellowship," said Simila, who went to Costa Rica in 1995 as a Fulbright scholar to do research on earthquakes.

Simila is one of approximately 850 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad to some 150 countries in the 2005-2006 academic year through the Fulbright Scholar Program. Established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the program's purpose is to build mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries.

Simila will spend three months this spring at the Vocanological and Seismological Observatory (OVSICORI) at the National University in Heredia. Much of his work involves the installation of state-of-the-art earthquake equipment and advanced seismic software for earthquake detection and analysis. It is a collaborative effort with the lab personnel at OVSICORI to analyze the seismicity patterns to delineate subsurface faults of the upper crust of the earth and associated earthquake hazards in the San Jose/Central Valley region of the Central American country.

"I hope to accomplish several research objectives, including improved earthquake magnitude measurements, correlation of recent earthquakes with historical events, and enhanced earthquake awareness for the general public," Simila said.

The Fulbright Program, America's flagship international educational exchange activity, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. During the program's 59 years, thousands of U.S. faculty and professionals have studied, taught or done research abroad, and thousands of their counterparts from other countries have engaged in similar activities in the United States. They are among more than 265,000 American and foreign university students, K-12 teachers and university faculty and professionals who have participated in one of the several Fulbright exchange programs.

Recipients of the Fulbright Scholar awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement and because they have demonstrated extraordinary leadership potential in their fields. Among thousands of prominent U.S. Fulbright Scholar alumni are Milton Friedman, Nobel laureate in economics; James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA and Nobel laureate in medicine; Rita Dove, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet; and Craig Barrett, CEO of Intel Corporation.

Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler, (818) 677-2130,

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