Page 13 - UCT2012 Research Dashboard

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National Antarctic Programme, he is presently conducting
a three-year project to study deep crustal processes
recorded in the Antarctic rocks. That means looking for
ancient, active fault lines that have been exposed to high
temperatures and pressures from the Earth's shifting
Studying the microscopic properties and formation of
rocks, Dr Fagereng unravels the age-old stories rocks
tell about the geophysical processes that occur deep in
the Earth's crust. His recent research is broadening the
understanding of subduction zone fault processes (where
one tectonic plate, or piece of the Earth’s crust, is forced
under another after colliding), particularly those factors
that affect the ’seismic style‘ of the subduction megathrust
interface. The latter occurs when the ocean floor is forced
under a continent and slip occurs on this interface. How the
interface responds (its ’seismic style‘) determines whether
it produces large earthquakes like those in Japan and
Sumatra, or creeps along slowly and silently, as is the case
in the Philippines.
Dr Fagereng also studies the physical processes behind
the recently discovered seismic phenomena of episodic
tremor. These are ’earthquakes‘ of very low frequency and
slow slip, characterised by seismic rumbling, or tremor, and
slow slip along the tectonic plates. Usually, these events are
imperceptible to humans and are not destructive. Through
his project, he is collaborating with researchers in New
Zealand on the development of theoretical models for
fault behaviour and conditions. They intend to compare
geological observations in well-studied exhumed fault
zones, regions of rock showing significant displacement
along the fractures as a result of movement in the Earth's
crust. A large chunk of this work will also be done off-shore,
drilling through a fault section between the Pacific and
Australian tectonic plates, a major earthquake zone, down
through 2km of water and 6km of rock.
Dr Fagereng is renowned among the ’fault community‘ for
his extraordinary integration of geological and geophysical
data. His geological maps trace and document fault lines,
those places where the rock formations and chemical
compositions point to weaknesses in the Earth's crust. The
field studies are used to elucidate seismogenic behaviour.
He is currently also working with students on the Naukluft
Thrust, in Damaraland, Namibia, and has students working
in the Cape Fold Mountains on a project to monitor
intraplate seismicity at a microseismic scale.
Dr Fagereng was also recognised for the impact of
his work through a UCT College of Fellows Young
Researcher Award in 2012, as well as a Claude Leon
Merit Award for Young Lecturers.
Professor Don Ross
A-rating milestone for
Commerce dean
Professor Don Ross, economics professor and chair of the
executive board of the International Network for Economic
Methodology, became the first dean of a South African
commerce faculty to be awarded an A rating by the
National Research Foundation.
Professor Ross's research unites economic methodology,
experimental economics and econometrics, cognitive
science, and the philosophy of science. Among his recent
achievements has been the launch of the Research Unit in
Behavioural Economics and Neuroeconomics.
Professor Ross believes methodological work should be
directly integrated with empirical research. Since 2008 he has
led an international research teamof experimental economists
and psychologists in applying his ’anti-behaviouralist‘
approach. This emphasises modelling differences among
people at the population level, rather than trying to model
special features of individuals and then aggregating them.
Professor Ross and his colleagues have specifically applied
this method to the study of addiction and other forms
of impulsive consumption. This produces results of direct
relevance to policy at the population scale, rather than clinical
advice. Thus the method is characterised as ’structuralist‘ and
’anti-individualist‘ empirical microeconomics.
This methodology is explored in his 2005 book
Theory and Cognitive Science: Microexplanation
, also
published in Chinese in 2010. He has published various
papers that empirically apply the methods, as well as
a book of which he is first author,
Midbrain Mutiny:
The Picoeconomics and Neuroeconomics of Disordered
(2008). He co-edited, with collaborator Professor
Harold Kincaid, the
Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of
In 2007, together with Professor James Ladyman, he
co-published a broadened exploration of his general
structuralist and anti-individualist metaphysical perspective
across the whole of the sciences, particularly quantum
physics. This book,
Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics