Thanasi Athanassiadis, Comm Lab Fellow

Comm Lab Fellow

Thanasi is a Mechanical Engineering PhD student and Communication Fellow who helped to launch the MechE Comm Lab.

Driven by the desire to enable stronger data-driven science, engineering, and policy, Thanasi develops new systems and techniques for imaging and sensing. At UChicago, he studied the mechanical behavior of granular materials and built a 3D x-ray imaging system to improve laboratory measurements of these materials. During his masters thesis, he investigated the fluid mechanics behind a propulsion technique that could be used to precisely control the motion of small underwater vehicles and sensors.

Now, for his PhD, Thanasi is merging optics and acoustics to develop a new technique for underwater sensing. By using lasers to make tiny explosions in water, he is showing how to exploit the sound from these laser-driven ‘pops’ to remotely measure material properties for oceanography, underwater inspection, and port security.

Beyond his research, Thanasi has worked on science policy in Washington. He is involved in science education, outreach and communications projects, and is a founding contributor for the web content and podcast at At night, you can find him regularly playing clarinet at Greek & Turkish events around the Boston area.