Deborah Kilb

Project Scientist
Science Outreach Director, Sally Ride Science
Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics

Deborah Kilb is a project scientist at the Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics (IGPP) at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), University of California, San Diego. She also serves as the Science Outreach Director for Sally Ride Science (

Kilb’s primary research interest is in mainshock/aftershock sequences, with a focus on earthquake source mechanics and earthquake triggering processes. Her studies address questions such as: Do small and large earthquakes begin similarly? What are the underlying physics responsible for aftershock generation? How can we unravel the source, path, and site effects within earthquake source spectra?

Kilb plays an active role in education and outreach at Scripps, participating in more than 25 events each year. She cofounded the annual Scripps Graduate Student Visualization contest and founded the annual Teacher Earthquake Education workshop (now in its 12th year). When media request information about noteworthy earthquakes, locally and globally, Kilb is often the responding Scripps scientist.

Born in Schenectady, New York, Kilb received a B.A. in mathematics and computer science, with a minor in music, from UCSD. She received a master’s degree in applied mathematics from UCLA, and a Ph.D. from the University of Memphis, studying at the Center for Earthquake Research and Information (CERI) and specializing in seismology. She served as a graduate intern at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Calif., completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University, and then joined Scripps, initially as a postdoctoral fellow.

Before attending graduate school, Kilb worked as a software engineer at corporations such as Science Applications International Corporation, Mission Research Corporation, and Santa Barbara Research Center. Throughout her career she has also tutored mathematics students from grade school through graduate school.