Courses

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Undergraduate Courses

Fall 2021

Climate: Past, Present, and Future
Which human activities are changing our climate, and does climate change constitute a major problem? We will investigate these questions through an introduction to climate processes and an exploration of climate from the distant past to today. We will also consider the impact of past and ongoing climate changes on the global environment and on humanity. Finally, we will draw on climate science to identify and evaluate possible courses of action. Intended to be accessible to students not concentrating in science or engineering, while providing a comprehensive overview appropriate for all students.
Instructors: Daniel Mikhail Sigman
Climate: Past, Present, and Future
Which human activities are changing our climate, and does climate change constitute a major problem? We will investigate these questions through an introduction to climate processes and an exploration of climate from the distant past to today. We will also consider the impact of past and ongoing climate changes on the global environment and on humanity. Finally, we will draw on climate science to identify and evaluate possible courses of action. Intended to be accessible to students not concentrating in science or engineering, while providing a comprehensive overview appropriate for all students.
Instructors: Daniel Mikhail Sigman
Fundamentals of Solid Earth Science
A quantitative introduction to Solid Earth system science, focusing on the underlying physical and chemical processes and their geological and geophysical expression. Through the course we investigate the Earth starting from its basic constituents and continue though its accretion, differentiation and evolution and discuss how these processes create and sustain habitable conditions on Earth's surface. Topics include nucleosynthesis, planetary thermodynamics, plate tectonics, seismology, geomagnetism, petrology, sedimentology and the global carbon cycle. Two field trips included (depending on Covid).
Earth's Atmosphere
This course discusses the processes that control Earth's climate - and as such the habitability of Earth - with a focus on the atmosphere and the global hydrological cycle. The course balances overview lectures (also covering topics that have high media coverage like the 'Ozone hole' and 'Global warming', and the impact of volcanoes on climate) with selected in-depth analyses. The lectures are complemented with homework based on real data, demonstrating basic data analysis techniques employed in climate sciences.
Instructors: Stephan Andreas Fueglistaler
Environmental Chemistry: Chemistry of the Natural Systems
Covers topics including origin of elements; formation of the Earth; evolution of the atmosphere and oceans; atomic theory and chemical bonding; crystal chemistry and ionic substitution in crystals; reaction equilibria and kinetics in aqueous and biological systems; chemistry of high-temperature melts and crystallization process; and chemistry of the atmosphere, soil, marine and riverine environments. The biogeochemistry of contaminants and their influence on the environment will also be discussed.
Instructors: Satish Chandra Babu Myneni
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
Structural Geology
An introduction to the physics and geometry of brittle and ductile deformation in Earth's crust. Deformation is considered at scales from atomic to continental, in the context of mountain building, rifting, and the origin of topography.
Instructors: Blair Schoene
Introduction to Ocean Physics for Climate
The study of the oceans as a major influence on the atmosphere and the world environment. The contrasts between the properties of the upper and deep oceans; the effects of stratification; the effect of rotation; the wind-driven gyres; the thermohaline circulation.
Instructors: Sonya Allayne Legg, Gabriel Andres Vecchi
Fundamentals of the Earth's Climate System
The goal of the course is to provide students with an introductory overview of the broad factors that determine our current climate, as well as past and future climates. We first build a foundation for understanding the principal features of today's climate. This includes examining the Earth's energy and water cycles, the processes determining the principal atmospheric and ocean circulation features, climate feedback processes, and dominant modes of variability. We then use this framework to interpret observational records of past climates, including ice age cycles, and to examine projections of future climate change.
Instructors: Thomas L. Delworth

Graduate Courses

Fall 2021

Physics and Chemistry of Minerals
Concepts of solid state physics and inorganic chemistry relevant to the study of minerals with emphasis on the application to study of planetary interiors. Topics include: crystal chemistry, phase transitions, equations of state, dynamic and static compression, elasticity, lattice dynamics, and transport properties.
Instructors: Thomas S. Duffy
Fundamentals of the Geosciences II
A survey of fundamental papers in the Geosciences. Topics include present and future climate, biogeochemical processes in the ocean, geochemical cycles, orogenies, thermochronology, rock fracture and seismicity. This is the core geosciences graduate course.
Instructors: Jeroen Tromp
Rock Fracture
Application of fracture mechanics to a wide range of geologic processes, including dike and hydrofracture propagation, fault and joint growth and earthquake rupture. Topics include engineering fracture mechanics, analytic solutions for cracks in elastic media, numerical boundary element methods, and applications to geologic examples including observed fracture paths and patterns, small-scale structures associated with faults and dikes, and interpretation of geodetic data and seismological data.
Instructors: Allan Mattathias Rubin
Theoretical Geophysics
Geophysical applications of the principles of continuum mechanics; conservation laws and constitutive relations and tensor analysis; acoustic, elastic, and gravity wave propagation are studied.
Instructors: Jeroen Tromp
Earth's Atmosphere
This course discusses the processes that control Earth's climate - and as such the habitability of Earth - with a focus on the atmosphere and the global hydrological cycle. The course balances overview lectures (also covering topics that have high media coverage like the "Ozone hole" and "Global warming," and the impact of volcanoes on climate) with selected in-depth analyses. The lectures are complemented with homework based on real data, demonstrating basic data analysis techniques employed in climate sciences.
Instructors: Stephan Andreas Fueglistaler
Freshman Seminar

FRS 161 FALL 2021

How Green is Your Campus?

INSTRUCTORS: Adam Maloof and Frederik Simons

How green is Princeton’s campus? What is the total area of green space, and is all green space of equal quality? In nominally green areas, how diverse is the vegetation, how tall are the trees, how healthy are the leaves, and how permeable is the soil? Each student will be in charge of a square subregion of the campus where they will make a battery of measurements using a diversity of instruments. The ultimate group goal is to build a quantitative digital map of campus greenness. Individual student goals for final research papers can vary from tracking campus greenness through time (seasonally or over the past 90 years using available data sources), comparing Princeton’s campus to other universities (using satellite data where available), assessing the sustainability of Princeton’s expansion plans, or comparing this year’s observations with ongoing monitoring projects such as noise pollution or climate change.  READ MORE