|Über uns||EAPS at MIT is a community of scientists from multiple disciplines who collaborate to understand the Earth, Planets, Climate, and Origins of Life.|
The primary mission of our department is to educate students for a future in the earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences. Specifically, we prepare undergraduate students for advanced graduate work and for jobs in government and industry, and we prepare graduate students for careers in fundamental and applied research.
Our secondary mission is to provide students from other MIT departments with a basic education in the earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences. Experience in the field, proficiency in the laboratory, and familiarity with complex computer modeling are all essential to success in the EAPS research and instructional programs—and will serve all of our students well in their future careers.
The EAPS department is guided by an overarching mission to pursue strategic research in areas of strong societal interest that will ultimately lead to beneficial applications in the private and public sectors.
At MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS), we are driven by curiosity. How did life originate? Is it unique to Earth? When did the oceans and atmosphere form? What can 4.3 billion year-old rocks tell us about our past and future climate and its influence on life? We delve into questions about the fundamental forces shaping the natural world, spanning the full scale of space and time—from microscale structures of minerals and aerosols to the composition of massive planetary bodies light years away; from earthquakes which strike in a split second to the co-evolution of life and environmental systems over billions of years. Our work stands at the crossroads between basic theory—be it physics, biology, or chemistry—and practical applications to sustain life on Earth, allowing us to both benefit from and protect our planet.
The breadth of our research is unparalleled. In our pursuit of answers, EAPS students and faculty cross boundaries between disciplines, fostering interdepartmental collaborations unmatched by any other program. Geologists team with atmospheric scientists to understand how a model of changing precipitation trends can help predict landslides. DNA sequencing of extant organisms combined with isotopic dating of ancient rocks reveals the origins of animal life in sea sponges and the influence of tiny microbes on mass extinction. Ours is a truly interdisciplinary effort to understand nature in all of its forms.
We are explorers. We travel the globe, scouring the geologic record for evidence of ancient organic life. We partner with NASA to search distant space for signs of exoplanetary atmospheres. We examine how the forces tens, hundreds, or even thousands of kilometers below our feet influence the surface we live on. We survey the oceans, clouds, and ice caps to understand Earth’s dynamic climate, and even its implications for our environment and human health. Our pioneering research provides the facts that help inform the