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I make the best use of data to understand the Earth and beyond

Sheng Fan-min_1.png

Dr Sheng Fan is a scientist with geoscience, data science, and material science expertise. With an unwavering passion for unlocking the intricate wonders of the Earth and beyond, Dr Fan harnesses the power of data to illuminate its complex beauty.

In Dr Fan's daily pursuits, a diverse range of data takes centre stage. From capturing and scrutinizing microscale SEM images to tabulating geochemistry data and delving into the intricacies of kilometre-scale seismic, magnetic, gravity, and remote-sensing data, Dr Fan skillfully navigates a vast array of information. These datasets are meticulously processed using statistical and machine learning techniques, revealing the Earth's historical tapestry and enabling predictions for its future across multiple scales.

"Go for the messes―that's where the action is."

―Steven Weinberg

Ice is Hot


While it may feel cold to the touch,
ice on Earth is relatively hot. 
Understanding the micro-physics that drive deformation processes in strongly deformed ice, particularly in hot ice, very close to its melting temperature is crucial for understanding future sea-level rise.

Cool ice with hot properties

Nature Geoscience

Research Methodology


Laboratory Experiments

I am passionate about Ice and rock deformation experiments, which are the keys to understanding the physics of processes on Earth's surface and at Earth's interior.

Stress field dislocations.png

Analytical & Numerical Modelling

Analytical and numerical modelling are the key to predicting the future. The process of improving models is always satisfying. Image: simulated stress field of an edge dislocation. 


Field Investigation

I enjoy the physical and mental challenges during field investigation. Mother nature is very generous; she always provides gorgeous samples for me to understand her better.


Advanced Microscopy

Sessions for microscopes or micro-CT are always too short for me. I love developing advanced image analytic tools to unlock the potential of microscopic data.

Image by Google DeepMind

Data Science &

Machine Learning

We have produced too much data but their potential has not been fully released. Machine learning provides a powerful tool that makes my work on multi-dimensional data more efficient. 

Photo credit: Google DeepMind


Ice Core Study

Ice cores are memories of the Earth. By studying ice cores, I am able to communicate with the Earth, listen to her, and find solutions to protect her from global warming.

Research Network

Major Academic Collaborators


Prof. David Prior
(University of Otago)

Dr Travis Hager
(University of Pennsylvania)

Prof. David Wallis
(University of Cambridge)

Dr Chao Qi
(Chinese Academy of Sciences)

Prof. David Goldsby
(University of Pennsylvania)

Dr Harison Wiseman
(University of Cambridge)

Prof. John Wheeler
(University of Liverpool)

Dr Thomas Breithaupt
(University of Cambridge)

Prof. Sandra Piazolo
(University of Leeds)

Prof. Virginia Toy
(University of Mainz)

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