Lectures: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session
These are exciting times for studies of the structure, composition, and evolution of Earth's deep interior. Seismic imaging, geodynamical modeling, and nobel gas analyses have provided spectacular new insight in the nature and scale of mantle convection. But despite the increased understanding and consensus within research groups there are significant outstanding issues, whose resolution requires cross-disciplinary study. For instance, geophysicists begin to concur on some form of whole mantle flow, whereas many geochemists favor a layered structure, with the lower and upper mantles separated from each other over long periods of geological time.
Each week faculty members of Harvard, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), or MIT will lecture on the basic physics and chemistry pertinent to the topic of that particular week. These lectures will be followed by literature discussions under leadership of (groups of) students. In this way we aim to cover the basic science as well as digest a substantial fraction of the pertinent literature; the group structure stimulates student interaction and helps reducing communication problems that often complicate cross-disciplinary discussion.
Students work together in small (less than 4 students) cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional teams in order to improve the understanding and communication of multidisciplinary topics. The groups participate in the following activities:
Grades will depend on quality of the mid-term and final assignments, the group presentations, the lecture notes, and general participation in the discussions, and they are determined in a final meeting of all staff responsible for the class.