Dr. Mary Lou Zoback was appointed to the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board by President Barack Obama on September 25, 2012.
Dr. Zoback is a seismologist retired from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). She was a senior research scientist at the USGS in Menlo Park, California, where she served, among other positions, as Chief Scientist of the Western Earthquake Hazards team. Her research interests include the relationship between active faulting, deformation and state of stress in the earth's crust, quantifying earthquake likelihood, and characterizing natural-hazard risk.
From 2006 to 2011, Dr. Zoback was Vice President for Earthquake Risk Applications with Risk Management Solutions, a private catastrophe-modeling firm serving the insurance industry. In that role, she utilized the company's commercial risk models to explore the societal role of earthquake insurance and to quantify the costs and benefits of risk reduction.
Dr. Zoback has served on numerous national committees and panels on topics ranging from increasing the nation's resilience to disasters, defining the next generation of Earth observations from space, storing high-level radioactive waste, facilitating interdisciplinary research, and science education. From 1997 to 2000, she was a member of the National Research Council's Board on Radioactive Waste Management.
In 2007, she received from the Geological Society of America (GSA) both the Day Medal "for outstanding distinction in contributing to geologic knowledge through the application of physics and chemistry to the solution of geologic problems" and their Public Service Award. In 2002, she was awarded the Department of Interior Meritorious Service Award, and in 1987, she received the James B. Macelwane Award of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) for "significant contributions to the geophysical sciences by a young scientist of outstanding ability."
In 1995, Dr. Zoback was elected a member of the U. S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS). She is a member of the AGU and the Seismological Society of America, and is a past president of GSA. Dr. Zoback also is past chair of the Advisory Committee for San Francisco's Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety (CAPSS) program. She also served on the NAS Disaster Roundtable and the Advisory Committee for the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program.
Dr. Zoback received a Ph.D. in 1978, an M.S. in 1975, and a B.S. in 1974, all in Geophysics and all from Stanford University.
Dr. Zoback resides in Stanford, California.