faculty spotlight

Ching-Yao Lai, Assistant Professor of Geosciences and Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS)

Research Summary:  Lai studies fundamental questions in fluid dynamics, climate science, and geophysics by integrating physical and machine-learned models with both experimental and observational data. Her research addresses challenges facing the world, such as advancing our scientific knowledge of ice dynamics under climate change.  Lai uses mathematical models, experiments, simulations, and machine learning tools to study the complex interactions between fluids and elasticity and their interfacial dynamics, such as multiphase flows, flows in deformable structures, and cracks. In particular, her recent work combines deep-learning and physics-based models to predict the disintegration of ice shelves in a warming climate.

Group: Lai Research Group


Yao Lai, Assistant Professor of Geosciences
Assistant Professor Ching-Yao Lai

Biography: Ching-Yao Lai is an Assistant Professor jointly appointed in Geoscience (GEO) and Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS). She is also an Associated Faculty of the High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI) and Affiliated Faculty of the Program in Statistics and Machine Learning (SML) at Princeton University. Yao did her undergraduate study (2013) in Physics at National Taiwan University, Ph.D. (2018) in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) at Princeton University, and postdoctoral research in earth science at Lamont Earth Observatory at Columbia University. She grew up in Taiwan.

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More recent articles

Tuesday, Jul 27, 2021
by Gabriel Popkin, Quanta Magazine
Before soil science settles on a new theory, there will doubtless be more surprises. One may have been delivered recently by a group of researchers at Princeton University including Xinning Zhang, Professor of Geosciences, who constructed a simplified artificial soil using microfluidic devices — essentially, tiny plastic channels for moving around...
Thursday, Jul 22, 2021

Assistant Professor of Geosciences and Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Ching-Yao Lai is now receiving support from the "Dean for Research Innovation Fund" for her research in predicting Antarctic ice dynamics with deep learning. 

Thursday, Jul 15, 2021
The High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI) has selected 11 Princeton University graduate students as 2021 recipients of the Walbridge Fund Graduate Award for Environmental Research. Nisson's will continue to analyze organic carbon and DNA discovered nearly two miles underground in a South African mine.
Thursday, Jul 8, 2021
Laure Resplandy, assistant professor of geosciences and the High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI), received a five-year, $654,000 CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation to examine the complexity of factors that lead to the formation and expansion of oxygen-depleted regions, or “dead zones,” in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Wednesday, Jul 7, 2021
by Seth Borenstein, AP News
An international team of 27 scientists, including climate scientist Gabriel Vecchi, calculated that climate change increased chances of the extreme heat occurring by at least 150 times, but likely much more.