Undergraduate Courses

Fall 2019

Global Geophysics
An introduction to the fundamental principles of global geophysics. Four parts, taught over three weeks each in an order allowing the material to build up to form a final coherent picture of (how we know) the structure and evolution of the solid Earth: 1. Gravity and 2. Magnetism: the description and study of the Earth's magnetic and gravitational fields. 3. Seismology: body waves, surface waves and free oscillations. 4. Geodynamics: heat flow, cooling of the Earth, and mantle convection. The emphasis is on physical principles including the mathematical derivation and solution of the governing equations.
Instructors: Frederik Jozef Simons
Data, Models, and Uncertainty in the Natural Sciences
No more being puzzled by dots on a graph! This course is for those who want to turn observations into models and subsequently evaluate their uniqueness and uncertainty. Three main topics are: 1. Elementary inferential statistics, 2. Heuristic time series analysis, and 3. Model parameter estimation via matrix inverse methods. While the instructor's and textbook examples will be derived mostly from the physical sciences, students are encouraged to bring their own data sets for classroom discussion. Problem sets and MATLAB computer programming exercises form integral parts of the course. Prior programming experience is helpful but not required.
Instructors: Benjamin Eli Schaffer, Frederik Jozef Simons

Freshman Seminar

Fall 2019

FRS 161 Earth: Crops, Culture, and Climate (in Italy)  STL (Th 1:30-4:20 PM)

INSTRUCTORS: Adam Maloof and Frederik Simons

In this Freshman Seminar, you will combine scientific field observations with modeling and interpretation in order to answer questions such as: How is the energy of Earth and the Sun harnessed in its various forms? What is the impact of agriculture and resource extraction on landscapes — and how do climate and topography influence what can be grown, what can be mined, where humans settle? How have civilizations through the ages reconciled opportunity and threat: of fertile volcanoes, powerful rivers, burning forests? How do we see societal issues through the lens of geology and geophysics? Most specifically, we will be measuring the influence of climate, topography, and geology on agricultural food production.

More details: Office of the Registrar