Chloé ArsonChlo√© Arson

I am an Associate Professor* in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). I earned a Master's in civil engineering (2006), a M.Sc. in geomechanics (2006) and a Ph.D. in geomechanics (2009) at Ecole des Ponts Paris Tech (France). I worked as an Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University between 2099 and 2012 before joining Georgia Tech, where I got tenured in 2016. I teach mechanics-focused classes (mechanics of materials at the undergraduate level, computational mechanics and theoretical geomechanics at the graduate level). With funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), I set up a program that allows American students to do a research internship in a French laboratory over the summer. I have chaired the CEE committee on international initiatives and I have co-founded and chaired the CEE committee on diversity and inclusion. Among several contributions, I have created a new course on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Civil and Environmental Engineering. I am also the CEE liaison to the Georgia Tech LGBTQ+ resource center and routinely speak at panels. I was elected to chair the EMI poromechanics committee from 2019 to 2021 and as such, I increased the participation of women in the committee, organized a mentoring program for junior members, contributed to an open access education platform created by other members and co-chaired the Biot-Bazant conference on engineering mechanics and physics of porous materials (in 2021).
* Associate Professor until 08/14/2022; Professor starting 08/15/2022

Research Topics

My expertise is damage and healing rock mechanics, micro-macro modeling of porous media, and computational geomechanics. My group develops numerical tools to assess the performance and environmental impacts of underground storage and rock fracturing, explain the formation of soil by rock weathering, and design sustainable bio-inspired geotechnical systems. Lately, I started investigating the use of artificial intelligence to optimize subsurface exploration and enhance multi-scale geomechanical models. Some recent and current projects include: deep learning strategies to enhance the homogenization theory with application to reactive flow in deformable porous media; homogenization models of damage and self-healing in polycrystals; multiscale modeling of damage induced by weathering, topographic stresses and regional stresses; numerical simulation of the propagation of fractures and their damaged zones; particulate mechanics model of grain fragmentation in confined particulate media; numerical modeling of burrowing processes; tunneling and subsurface exploration based on artificial intelligence; mechanical interpretation of root/soil interactions; bio-inspired network dynamics (using slime molds and leaf venations as analogs); bio-inspired excavation strategies (using mole rats and ants as analogs). I received two PhD research prizes in 2010, the NSF CAREER award in 2016, the Georgia Tech CEE inter-disciplinary research award in 2017 and the NSF BRITE award in 2021. In 2019, I delivered the early career keynote address of the American Rock Mechanics Association.

Why Open Geomechanics

I am committed to promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in STEM. One of the activities that I am vested in is accessibility to scientific knowledge in the broadest possible sense, be it physical, cultural or financial. Open Geomechanics addresses financial accessibility. I strongly believe that research articles written by authors for free and reviewed by experts for free should be... free of access. Publishers could follow a model close to major newspapers and offer more than electronic papers for the subscription fee that they request. There are many services that one could think of and that could justify paying for: podcasts; course material based on papers published; organized library of open access programs, and more. We, as a community, can already do better than what most journals do. Think about the combined use of Overleaf, GitHub  and Zenodo for generating printable versions of manuscripts and posting supplementary codes or other materials. Granted, the transition may take time. Ironically, one needs to publish in subscription-based journals and be visible enough to get the recognition required to serve on editorial boards. I am thankful that I was seen as someone who could contribute to the publication revolution that Open Geomechanics is aspiring to, and I invite all of you, all of us, to engage in the debate with major publishing companies and indexing platforms.

Statement of interests

I am on a nine-month salary. This means that Georgia Tech pays me 9 months out 12 to teach and advise students. My salary for the three months of the summer are covered by my research grants. Most of my research support comes from the U.S. National Science Foundation. I have also received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Georgia Department of Transportation, the American Association of Railroads, French IDEX programs, National Laboratories (Livermore, Oak Ridge and Idaho) and several companies (ConocoPhillips, Aramco, Haley & Aldrich).