Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

A collage of images overlapping a satellite picture of water currents and a coastline.

The department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences explores the the solid earth, fluid earth, the biosphere, and their interactions, as well as planetary science, solar system dynamics, and observational astronomy. (Images used with permission of: European Space Agency [background image], Tim Grove , Bob O'Connor, and Vicki McKenna [smaller images from right side, clockwise].)


Featured Courses

The intellectual interests of EAPS encompass the earth, its fluid envelopes, and its diverse neighbors throughout the solar system.

We seek to understand the fundamental processes defining the origin, evolution, and current states of these systems and to use this understanding to predict the future. The scope of our research and teaching is immense, ranging from the inaccessible depths of the terrestrial interior outward to the orbit of Pluto, and beyond. The objects and systems we study are tangible or visible to the general public and, as exemplified by climate and natural resources, are sometimes central to societal goals.

The phenomena under investigation are often vexingly complex, and they engage a large array of scientific disciplines: Geology, Geophysics, Geochemistry, Geobiology, Physical and Chemical Oceanography, Meteorology, Atmospheric Chemistry, and Planetary Science. EAPS operates world-class research and graduate educational programs in all of these disciplines, which makes it unique among earth and planetary science departments both nationally and internationally. Our undergraduate program offers options to study environmental science, geoscience, physics of the atmospheres and oceans, and planetary science and astronomy. The department takes pride in the fact that EAPS undergraduate students become actively involved in our research projects.


Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences Courses

Course # Course Title Level
12.000 Solving Complex Problems (Fall 2009) Undergraduate
12.000 Solving Complex Problems (Fall 2003) Undergraduate
12.001 Introduction to Geology Undergraduate
12.002 Physics and Chemistry of the Terrestrial Planets Undergraduate
12.003 Atmosphere, Ocean and Climate Dynamics Undergraduate
12.005 Applications of Continuum Mechanics to Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences Undergraduate
12.006J Nonlinear Dynamics I: Chaos Undergraduate
12.007 Geobiology Undergraduate
12.009 Theoretical Environmental Analysis Undergraduate
12.010 Computational Methods of Scientific Programming Undergraduate
12.085 Seminar in Environmental Science Undergraduate
12.086 Modeling Environmental Complexity (Fall 2011) Undergraduate
12.090 The Environment of the Earth's Surface Undergraduate
12.090 Introduction to Fluid Motions, Sediment Transport, and Current-Generated Sedimentary Structures Undergraduate
12.091 Basics of Analysis with Antineutrinos from Heat Producing Elements - K, U, Th in the Earth Undergraduate
12.091 Basics of Impact Cratering & Geological, Geophysical, Geochemical, Environmental Studies of Some Impact Craters of the Earth Undergraduate
12.091 Radon Research in Multidisciplines: A Review Undergraduate
12.091 Medical Geology/Geochemistry: An Exposure Undergraduate
12.091 Trace Element Analysis of Geological, Biological & Environmental Materials by Neutron Activation Analysis: An Exposure Undergraduate
12.097 Chemical Investigations of Boston Harbor Undergraduate
12.102 Environmental Earth Science Undergraduate
12.103 Science and Policy of Natural Hazards Undergraduate
12.103 Strange Bedfellows: Science and Environmental Policy Undergraduate
12.108 Structure of Earth Materials Undergraduate
12.109 Petrology Undergraduate
12.110 Sedimentary Geology (Spring 2007) Undergraduate
12.110 Sedimentary Geology (Fall 2004) Undergraduate
12.113 Structural Geology Undergraduate
12.114 Field Geology I Undergraduate
12.119 Analytical Techniques for Studying Environmental and Geologic Samples Undergraduate
12.141 Electron Microprobe Analysis Undergraduate
12.158 Molecular Biogeochemistry (Fall 2011) Undergraduate
12.163 Surface Processes and Landscape Evolution (Fall 2004) Undergraduate
12.201 Essentials of Geophysics (Fall 2004) Undergraduate
12.215 Modern Navigation Undergraduate
12.301 Climate Physics and Chemistry (Fall 2008) Undergraduate
12.307 Weather and Climate Laboratory Undergraduate
12.333 Atmospheric and Ocean Circulations Undergraduate
12.340 Global Warming Science Undergraduate
12.400 The Solar System Undergraduate
12.402J Introduction to Astronomy Undergraduate
12.409 Hands-On Astronomy: Observing Stars and Planets Undergraduate
12.425 Extrasolar Planets: Physics and Detection Techniques Undergraduate
12.458 Molecular Biogeochemistry (Fall 2011) Undergraduate
12.463 Surface Processes and Landscape Evolution (Fall 2004) Undergraduate
12.501 Essentials of Geophysics (Fall 2004) Undergraduate
12.586 Modeling Environmental Complexity (Fall 2011) Undergraduate
12.842 Climate Physics and Chemistry (Fall 2008) Undergraduate
12.S56 GPS: Where Are You? Undergraduate
12.S990 Quantifying Uncertainty Undergraduate
12.306 Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry (Spring 2006) Graduate
12.445 Oral Communication in the Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences Graduate
12.453 Crosby Lectures in Geology: History of Africa Graduate
12.472 Building Earth-like Planets: From Nebular Gas to Ocean Worlds Graduate
12.479 Trace-Element Geochemistry Graduate
12.480 Thermodynamics for Geoscientists Graduate
12.490 Advanced Igneous Petrology Graduate
12.491 Non-conventional Light Stable Isotope Geochemistry Graduate
12.491 Biogeochemistry of Sulfur Graduate
12.491 Advanced Seminar in Geology and Geochemistry: Organic Geochemistry Graduate
12.510 Introduction to Seismology Graduate
12.517 Dynamics of Complex Systems: Biological and Environmental Coevolution Preceding the Cambrian Explosion Graduate
12.517 Dynamics of Complex Systems: Ecological Theory Graduate
12.517 Dynamics of Complex Systems: Complexity in Ecology Graduate
12.520 Geodynamics Graduate
12.524 Mechanical Properties of Rocks Graduate
12.540 Principles of the Global Positioning System Graduate
12.570 Seminar in Geophysics: Thermal and Chemical Evolution of the Earth Graduate
12.570 Structure and Dynamics of the CMB Region Graduate
12.570 Seminar in Geophysics: Mantle Convection Graduate
12.571 Near-Surface Geophysical Imaging Graduate
12.581 Phase Transitions in the Earth's Interior Graduate
12.620J Classical Mechanics: A Computational Approach Graduate
12.740 Paleoceanography Graduate
12.742 Marine Chemistry Graduate
12.744 Marine Isotope Chemistry Graduate
12.746 Marine Organic Geochemistry Graduate
12.753 Geodynamics Seminar (Spring 2006) Graduate
12.753 Geodynamics Seminar (Spring 2005) Graduate
12.753 Geodynamics Seminar (Spring 2001) Graduate
12.757 Science and Communication Graduate
12.759 Marine Chemistry Seminar Graduate
12.800 Fluid Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Ocean Graduate
12.802 Wave Motion in the Ocean and the Atmosphere Graduate
12.802 Wave Motions in the Ocean and Atmosphere Graduate
12.803 Quasi-Balanced Circulations in Oceans and Atmospheres Graduate
12.804 Large-scale Flow Dynamics Lab Graduate
12.806J Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry (Spring 2006) Graduate
12.808 Introduction to Observational Physical Oceanography Graduate
12.810 Dynamics of the Atmosphere Graduate
12.811 Tropical Meteorology Graduate
12.812 General Circulation of the Earth's Atmosphere Graduate
12.815 Atmospheric Radiation (Fall 2008) Graduate
12.815 Atmospheric Radiation (Fall 2006) Graduate
12.820 Turbulence in the Ocean and Atmosphere (Spring 2007) Graduate
12.820 Turbulence in the Ocean and Atmosphere (Spring 2006) Graduate
12.822 Turbulence in the Ocean and Atmosphere (Spring 2006) Graduate
12.844J Modeling and Assessment for Policy Graduate
12.848J Global Climate Change: Economics, Science, and Policy Graduate
12.864 Inference from Data and Models Graduate
12.950 Parallel Programming for Multicore Machines Using OpenMP and MPI Graduate
12.950 Atmospheric and Oceanic Modeling Graduate
12.990 Prediction and Predictability in the Atmosphere and Oceans Graduate