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Institute of Advanced Study

Dr Bruce Malamud

IAS Fellow & Pemberton Fellow at University College, Durham University (October - December 2007)

Dr Bruce D. Malamud received a BA in physics from Reed College in 1986 and a PhD in geophysics/stratigraphy from Cornell University in 1998. Since 2000, he has been in the Department of Geography at King's College London, where he is a Reader in Natural and Environmental Hazards. Bruce spent two years in the USA Peace Corps (1986-1988) as a high-school teacher of chemistry/physics in Niger, West Africa, is a past recipient (1998) of a Fulbright Fellowship to study natural hazards in Argentina, and is a recipient (2003/4) of a King's College London Teaching Excellence Award.

Dr Malamud's primary research areas are in natural hazards (wildfires, earthquakes, floods, landslides), environmental hazards (heavy-metal contamination in Zambia), time series analyses, and confronting the comparison of models to data in the environmental sciences. Mathematical models, including wavelets, Fourier analysis, long-range persistence, scaling, probability distributions and data exploration are important to his time series analyses. Bruce's research combines the gathering, analysis and visualization of actual data; design, construction and use of synthetic and actual data in different 1-D/2-D theoretical models; and the resultant implications of those data and models (e.g., in risk, ecology, erosion), particularly with respect to hazards.

Dr Malamud is currently president of the Natural Hazards Division of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), the chief executive editor of Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics, sits on the National Environment Research Council Peer-Review College, and is the founding co-chair of the King's College London Hazards, Vulnerability and Risk Research Unit.

During his time at IAS, Dr Malamud will conduct research in the general IAS modelling theme of ‘Extreme Events', focusing on several issues surrounding the quantitative modelling of natural hazards in the context of developing countries.


IAS Fellow's Public Lecture - Scaling and Patterns in Nature

This talk is aimed at 'non-experts' and will explore some of the basic ideas of temporal and spatial scaling in nature. Examples, from the general literature and my own research, will include the physical sciences (e.g. the human body, plants, drainage networks, rocks, wildfires, earthquakes, landslides, tree rings) and the social sciences (e.g., architecture, African villages, London urban boundary). Concepts presented will include scaling, self-similarity, fractals, scale invariance, power laws, techniques for quantifying patterns, frequency-size distributions, clustering (persistence) in time, and self-affine time series. The talk is intended for both social and (non-expert) physical scientists, with ideas presented by way of numerous graphics, presentation (and discussion) of the power-law equation, and throughout a descriptive 'intuitive' discussion.

Dr Bruce Malamud Publications

Malamud, B., MG Pereira, MG., Trigio, RM (2011) 'The history and characteristics of the 1980–2005 Portuguese rural fire database', Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 11(12), pp. 3343-3358.

M Rossi, A Witt, F Guzzetti, BD Malamud, S Peruccacci (2010) ' Analysis of historical landslide time series in the Emilia‐Romagna region, northern Italy', Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 35(10), pp 1123-1137.