Nichols-Fleming, Ph.D.

Earth & Planetary Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow

Center for Earth and Planetary Studies,
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC




I'm Fiona Nichols-Fleming, a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Emily Martin in the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the National Air and Space Museum. My research focuses on computational and analytical modeling of planetary geophysical systems to link internal evolution of bodies to their observable surfaces.

I received my PhD in 2023 from the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences at Brown University. For my PhD, I worked in the GHOSST Lab with Alex Evans and Brandon Johnson at Purdue University. From 2015 - 2019, I was an astronomy undergraduate at the University of Rochester and participated in summer REU programs at Cornell with Alex Hayes and at the SETI Institute with Cristina Dalle Ore.


Latest Publication

Moment of Inertia and Tectonic Record of Asteroid 16 Psyche May Reveal Interior Structure and Core Solidification Processes

The thermal and chemical evolution of (16) Psyche would have been influenced by the direction of core solidification and thickness of an outer (rocky) silicate layer. We model the thermal evolution and core solidification of Psyche for a range of outer silicate layer thicknesses and core sulfur contents to calculate the resulting radial contraction and moments of inertia. We generally find that increasing the thickness of the outer silicate layer by 10 km results in a ∼1-km reduction in total radial contraction. Additionally, we find that the timing of full core solidification, and thus...