R.Paul Young, Ph.D., C.Eng., FIMMM., FAAAS, FRSC

Professor Emeritus and Senior Fellow Massey College

W.M. Keck Chair of Seismology and Rock Mechanics Emeritus

Formerly Vice-President, Research and Innovation (2007-2014)
University of Toronto

Professor Paul Young


Paul Young
Dept. of Civil Engineering
University of Toronto
35 St. George St.
Toronto, Ontario
Canada, M5S 1A4

Email: paul.young followed by @utoronto.ca

Research Interests

Professor Young’s research group carries out fundamental and applied research at the interface between seismology and rock mechanics.  We are interested in rock fracture physics, earthquake processes, geophysics and geomechanics.  The group currently consists of post-doctoral researchers and PhD students.  The group has operated since the 1980s with  numerous alumni now NASA astronauts, academics, seismologists, rock mechanics and geotechnical engineers.  They work for government, natural radwaste agencies, mining and petroleum companies and are involved in fundamental science and engineering consulting.

Professor Young was interviewed by the International Innovation publication about Seismic Sounds. In this discussion, Prof Young describes how the sounds that different rocks make under stress enable him and his group to see the processes that lead to earthquakes as they unfold in the laboratory. To read the full interview with Prof Young click on the Following link:

Seismic sound


Research is conducted through laboratory experiments using state of the art rock testing and monitoring equipment, and through developing and using sophisticated geomechanical modelling computer software packages.  We also have extensive in situ microseismic datasets recorded at the Underground Research Laboratory in Canada where experiments were conducted to study induced fracturing and rock-fluid interactions.  Additionally, the group applies acoustic emission and ultrasonic monitoring techniques to concrete structures to further understand the load-induced failure process. For more information on research group resources and facilities.

Education, Awards and Honours

2016, FIMMM (Fellow, Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, UK)
2012, QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal, Canada
2011, FAAAS (Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, USA)
2009, Willet G. Miller Gold Medal, Royal Society of Canada
2007, FRSC (Fellow, Royal Society of Canada)
2005, John A. Franklin Award for Rock Mechanics by the Canadian Geotechnical Society
1986, C.Eng. (Chartered Professional  Engineer)
1983, FGS (Fellow, Geological Society of London)
1983, C. Geol. (Chartered Professional Geologist)
1981, Ph.D. (Council National Academic Awards, U.K.)
1976, Postrgraduate Cert. Ed. (University of London, U.K.)
1974, M.Sc. (University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, U.K.)
1973, B.Sc. Hons (University of London, U.K.)


Possible Research Topics

Prospective Ph.D. Students

I am not taking on any new graduate students at this time.

Possible Research Topics
  • Rock fracture dynamics: A combination of lab studies and numerical modelling to yield insights into brittle fracture processes
  • Induced seismicity: an investigation of relationships between rock damage, rock integrity and seismicity in-situ through active and passive acoustic studies and advanced data analysis and interpretation techniques
  • Earthquake and fault mechanics: Simulation of unstable stick-slip behaviour in the lab and on computers - accompanied by detailed micostructural analyses of fault zones
  • Rock damage: understanding the evolution of rock damage under different mechanical, thermal and hydraulic stress conditions using continuous acoustic recording and numerical simulations.

Rock Physics and Geomechanics Research Group

Current Members


To see the list of publications Please Click Here.


  • April 2018: Research Group attend and present papers at European Geophysical Union Meeting in Vienna
  • March 2018: Congratulations to Dr. Andrew Feustel (former Ph.D. Student) of NASA for being selected to be the flight engineer on Mission 55 and the Commander of Mission 56 to the International Space Station. He has previously flown two Shuttle Missions as Science Mission Specialist. He sets out for the ISS in March, 2018. Safe travels! (Link to the News)

  • December 2017: Research Group attend and present papers at the American Geophysical Meeting in New Orleans and organize a special session on Laboratory Earthquakes with colleagues from other institutions.
  • October 2017: SUMIT Consortium between Laurentian University, Queen’s University and University of Toronto report on the outcomes from a six-year collaborative research program aimed at investigating innovative technologies for rock engineering and energy optimization approaches in underground mining. (Link to the News)