Here are just a few of our featured core classes that will get you started with hands-on training to understand the basic dynamical and physical forces which shape the natural world. The observational, analytical, and computational skills you will gain are the basis of a strong scientific foundation—a foundation which can carry over into any field.
INTRODUCTION TO GEOLOGY
Rock on with Intro to Geology, where you will study the structure, composition, and physical processes governing the formation and evolution of our rocky planet over vast time scales through laboratory exercises and measurements in the field.
INTRODUCTION TO GEOPHYSICS
AND PLANETARY SCIENCE
What governs the formation and orbital properties of terrestrial planets? Explore the influences of plate tectonics, impact cratering, gravity, magnetism, thermal structure, and core dynamics on rocky worlds.
INTRODUCTION TO ATMOSPHERE, OCEAN, AND CLIMATE DYNAMICS
Investigate the the processes which govern the atmosphere, oceans, and climate—including Earth’s radiation budget, convection and clouds, the circulation of the atmosphere and ocean, and climate change.
GEOBIOLOGY: HISTORY OF LIFE ON EARTH
Life: a geological agent of change. Discover the interactive nature of biology and the Earth system during the roughly 4 billion years since life first appeared—from the origin of the solar system and the early Earth atmosphere, to the origin and evolution of life and its influence on climate, the carbon cycle, and the problem of global warming.
ASTROBIOLOGY: ORIGINS AND EARLY EVOLUTION OF LIFE
Explore the timing, setting and conditions for the origin of life on the Hadean Earth with implications for the potential habitability of other bodies in our solar system and beyond—from the roles of planetary and extra-planetary processes to prebiotic chemistry, establishment of the genetic code, and the nature and evolution of the last common ancestor of life.
Discover how sediments and the sedimentary rock record preserve information about ancient climates, oceans, mass extinctions, including a required field trip to Death Valley.
Examine shape shifters—the processes of Earth’s evolving surface including glaciers, runoff, erosion, rivers, climate, and tectonics.
WEATHER AND CLIMATE LAB
Investigate the basic dynamical and physical principles which govern the general circulation of the atmosphere and the day-to-day sequence of weather events with hands-on projects, making real-time meteorological observations and studying fluid dynamics in the lab.
EXPERIMENTAL ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY
Breathe Easy. Explore the chemistry of climate change, air pollution, and the ozone layer—in the lab and in the field.
PEOPLE AND THE PLANET:
ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE AND SCIENCE
Scientific methodology has a critical role to play in developing sound governance solutions. With challenging, in-depth case studies, assess the complexities of environmental issues that have human and natural components using quantitative modeling, analysis, and policy exercises.
OF OPTICAL ASTRONOMY
Things are looking up. Explore the fundamentals of making optical astronomical measurements—including telescope design, astronomical coordinates, time, atmospheric interference, spectroscopy, with telescope time at Wallace Observatory.