The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool
R. P. Feynman






I will be joining the faculty of Rice University in the summer of 2016 as an assistant professor with the Department of Mechanical Engineering. See the Environmental Fluid Dynamics Group's website for more details.

Several PhD positions are available in our research group. Click here for details.

Email: pedram [at] rice [dot] edu

I am a Ziff Environmental Fellow at the Harvard University Center for the Environment and a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences of Harvard University. My broad research interests are atmospheric and climate dynamics, extreme weather events, geophysical and astrophysical fluid dynamics, and planetary sciences. I am particularly interested in developing simplified mathematical and numerical models, which I use along with high-resolution simulations, observations, and laboratory data, to understand complex atmospheric and oceanic flows.

Currently, my main focus is on large-scale atmospheric patterns that can lead to extreme weather events such as heat waves, cold spells, droughts, and episodes of heavy precipitation. These patterns include atmospheric blocking and wavy jet streams and understanding their dynamics, predictability, and response to climate change is of great importance given the substantial socioeconomic impacts of extreme weather events (an example from 2010). See our paper in AGU Research Spotlight and this article in Harvard Gazette about my work.

For my PhD research at UC Berkeley, I studied 3D vortices in rotating stratified shearing flows to understand their physics in the oceans, planetary atmospheres (e.g., Jupiter and Saturn), and protoplanetary disks (where stars and planets form). This work is motivated by questions such as what has maintained the Great Red Spot for over 300 years (see the news in Scientific American, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times and Slate Magazine), and how do the stars and planets form in accretion disks (see the news in Berkeley news and ScienceDaily). In the past, I have worked on optimal transport and turbulent convection using numerical and analytical methods and have developed new algorithms to compute radiation heat transfer in gases.


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, USA (2015-2016)
    Hosts: Professor Zhiming Kuang

    Ziff Environmental Fellow, Harvard University Center for the Environment, USA (2013-2015)
    Hosts: Professors Zhiming Kuang and Brian Farrell

  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of California at Berkeley, USA (Summer 2013)
    Supervisor: Professor Phil Marcus

  • Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, University of California at Berkeley, USA (2008-2013)
    Advisor: Professor Phil Marcus
    Dissertation: Baroclinic Vortices in Rotating Stratified Shearing Flows: Cyclones, Anticyclones, and Zombie Vortices (PDF)

  • M.A., Mathematics, University of California at Berkeley, USA (2011-2012)
    Advisor: Professor Jon Wilkening
    Thesis: Optimal Transport from Wall to Wall (PDF)

  • Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Fellow, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA (Summer 2012)
    Supervisors: Professors Charlie Doering and Greg Chini
    Research: Optimal Transport from Wall to Wall (link)

  • Research Associate, University of Waterloo, Canada (2007-2008)
    Supervisor: Professor George Raithby
    Research: Experimental Study of Downward Two-Phase Flows in Large-Diameter Pipes

  • MASc., Mechanical Engineering, University of Waterloo, Canada (2005-2007)
    Advisor: Professor George Raithby
    Thesis: An Efficient Computational Method for Thermal Radiation in Participating Media (link)

  • BSc., Mechanical Engineering, University of Tehran, Iran (2001-2005)

    Honors and Awards:

  • GRL paper Selected for Editor's Highlights & AGU Research Spotlight, 2014
  • Postdoctoral Award for Professional Development, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, Harvard University, 2014
  • Ziff Environmental Fellow, Center for the Environment, Harvard University, 2013-2015
  • Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Fellow, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2012
  • NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, 2009-2011
  • Outstanding Preliminary Examination Award, UC Berkeley, 2009
  • Jonathan Laitone Memorial Scholarship, UC Berkeley, 2009
  • Eiffel Scholarship, French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, 2005 (Declined)
  • International Graduate Student Award, University of Waterloo, 2005-2007

    movie on the left: Jupiter observed by the Cassini spacecraft in 2000 (credit: NASA)
    picture in the middle: me, in the Muir beach overlook, CA
    movie on the right: Polar jet stream of the Northern Hemisphere (credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio)