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Course 12: Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
Fall 2024


Undergraduate Subjects

Core and General Science Subjects

12.00 Frontiers and Careers in Earth, Planets, Climate, and Life
______

Undergrad (Spring)
Prereq: None
Units: 2-0-0 [P/D/F]
______
Provides a broad overview of topics, technologies, and career paths at the forefront of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. Introduces the complex interplay between physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, and computational methods used to study processes associated with a changing Earth and climate, distant planets, and life. Sessions guided by faculty members discussing current research problems, and by EAPS alumni describing how their careers have evolved. Subject can count toward the 6-unit discovery-focused credit limit for first year students.
Staff

12.000 Solving Complex Problems
______

Undergrad (Fall)
Prereq: None
Units: 1-2-6
Add to schedule Lecture: TR2.30,F3 (55-109)
______
Provides an opportunity for entering freshmen to gain firsthand experience in integrating the work of small teams to develop effective solutions to complex problems in Earth system science and engineering. Each year's class explores a different problem in detail through the study of complementary case histories and the development of creative solution strategies. Includes exercises in website development, written and oral communication, and team building. Subject required for students in the Terrascope freshman program, but participation in Terrascope is not required of all 12.000 students. Students who pass 12.000 are eligible to participate in the Terrascope field trip the following spring. Limited to freshmen.
D. McGee, A. Epstein
No textbook information available

12.001 Introduction to Geology
______

Undergrad (Fall) Rest Elec in Sci & Tech
Prereq: None
Units: 3-4-5
Add to schedule Lecture: MWF1 (54-819) Lab: MWF2 (54-819)
______
Major minerals and rock types, rock-forming processes, and time scales. Temperatures, pressures, compositions, structure of the Earth, and measurement techniques. Geologic structures and relationships observable in the field. Sediment movement and landform development by moving water, wind, and ice. Crustal processes and planetary evolution in terms of global plate tectonics with an emphasis on ductile and brittle processes. Includes laboratory exercises on minerals, rocks, mapping, plate tectonics, rheology, glaciers. Two one-day field trips (optional).
T. Bosak, O. Jagoutz
No textbook information available

12.002 Introduction to Geophysics and Planetary Science
______

Undergrad (Spring) Rest Elec in Sci & Tech
Prereq: Calculus II (GIR) and Physics II (GIR)
Units: 3-1-8
______
Study of the structure, composition, and physical processes governing the terrestrial planets, including their formation and basic orbital properties. Topics include plate tectonics, earthquakes, seismic waves, rheology, impact cratering, gravity and magnetic fields, heat flux, thermal structure, mantle convection, deep interiors, planetary magnetism, and core dynamics. Suitable for majors and non-majors seeking general background in geophysics and planetary structure.
C. Cattania, G. Stucky de Quay

12.003 Introduction to Atmosphere, Ocean, and Climate Dynamics
______

Undergrad (Spring) Rest Elec in Sci & Tech
Prereq: Calculus II (GIR) and Physics I (GIR)
Units: 3-0-9
______
Introduces the dynamical processes that govern the atmosphere, oceans, and climate. Topics include Earth's radiation budget, convection and clouds, the circulation of the atmosphere and ocean, and climate change. Illustrates underlying mechanisms through laboratory demonstrations with a rotating table, and through analysis of atmospheric and oceanic data.
W. Kang

12.004 Introduction to Chemistry of Habitable Environments
______

Undergrad (Fall) Rest Elec in Sci & Tech
Prereq: Chemistry (GIR)
Units: 4-0-8
Add to schedule Lecture: TR10.30-12 (54-823)
______
Introduction to the central roles of chemistry and biology on Earth that underlie modern climate, climate history, and global elemental cycles. Topics include the interactions of chemistry and biology in atmospheric, aquatic, and terrestrial systems. Fundamental principles of redox, equilibria, and acid/base reactions are explored via their links in the Earth system and with respect to climate feedbacks and ecosystem dynamics, providing perspectives for the future of our planet and beyond.
A. Babbin, M. Follows
No textbook information available

12.006[J] Nonlinear Dynamics: Chaos
______

Undergrad (Fall)
(Same subject as 2.050[J], 18.353[J])
Prereq: Physics II (GIR) and (18.03 or 18.032)
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: TR9.30-11 (2-131)
______
Introduction to nonlinear dynamics and chaos in dissipative systems. Forced and parametric oscillators. Phase space. Periodic, quasiperiodic, and aperiodic flows. Sensitivity to initial conditions and strange attractors. Lorenz attractor. Period doubling, intermittency, and quasiperiodicity. Scaling and universality. Analysis of experimental data: Fourier transforms, Poincare sections, fractal dimension, and Lyapunov exponents. Applications to mechanical systems, fluid dynamics, physics, geophysics, and chemistry. See 12.207J/18.354J for Nonlinear Dynamics: Continuum Systems.
R. Rosales
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

12.007 Geobiology: History of Life on Earth
______

Undergrad (Spring)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Surveys the interactive Earth system: biology in geologic, environmental and climate change throughout Earth's history. Introduces the concept of "life as a geological agent" and examines the interaction between biology and the Earth system during the roughly 4 billion years since life first appeared. Topics include the origin of the solar system and the early Earth atmosphere; the origin and evolution of life and its influence on climate up through and including the modern age and the problem of global warming; the global carbon cycle; and astrobiology.
G. Fournier

12.009[J] Nonlinear Dynamics: The Natural Environment
______

Undergrad (Fall)
Not offered regularly; consult department
(Same subject as 18.352[J])
Prereq: Calculus II (GIR) and Physics I (GIR); Coreq: 18.03
Units: 3-0-9
______
Analyzes cooperative processes that shape the natural environment, now and in the geologic past. Emphasizes the development of theoretical models that relate the physical and biological worlds, the comparison of theory to observational data, and associated mathematical methods. Topics include carbon cycle dynamics; ecosystem structure, stability and complexity; mass extinctions; biosphere-geosphere coevolution; and climate change. Employs techniques such as stability analysis; scaling; null model construction; time series and network analysis.
D. H. Rothman

12.010 Computational Methods of Scientific Programming
______

Undergrad (Fall)
Prereq: Calculus II (GIR) and Physics I (GIR)
Units: 4-0-8
Add to schedule Lecture: TR2-3.30 (55-107)
______
Introductory subject exposes students to modern programming methods and techniques used in practice by physical scientists today. Emphasis on code design, algorithm development/verification, and comparative advantages/disadvantages of different languages (including Python, Julia and C/C++) and tools (including Jupyter, machine-learning from data or models, cloud and high-performance computing workflows). Students are introduced to and work with common programming tools, types of problems, and techniques for solving a variety of data analytic and equation modeling scenarios from real research: examination visualization techniques; basic numerical analysis; methods of dissemination and verification; practices for reproducible work, version control, documentation, and sharing/publication. No prior programming experience is required.
T. Herring, C. Hill
No textbook information available

12.011[J] Archaeological Science
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Social Sciences
(Same subject as 3.985[J], 5.24[J])
Prereq: Chemistry (GIR) or Physics I (GIR)
Units: 3-1-5
______
Pressing issues in archaeology as an anthropological science. Stresses the natural science and engineering methods archaeologists use to address these issues. Reconstructing time, space, and human ecologies provides one focus; materials technologies that transform natural materials to material culture provide another. Topics include 14C dating, ice core and palynological analysis, GIS and other remote sensing techniques for site location, organic residue analysis, comparisons between Old World and New World bronze production, invention of rubber by Mesoamerican societies, analysis and conservation of Dead Sea Scrolls.
J. Meanwell, M. Tarkanian

12.012 MatLab, Statistics, Regression, Signal Processing
______

Undergrad (Fall)
(Subject meets with 12.444)
Prereq: None. Coreq: 18.06
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: TR11-12.30 (55-107)
______
Introduces the basic tools needed for data analysis and interpretation in the Geosciences, as well as other sciences. Composed of four modules, targeted at introducing students to the basic concepts and applications in each module. MatLab: Principles and practice in its uses, script and function modules, basic approaches to solving problems. Statistics: Correlation, means, dispersion, precision, accuracy, distributions, central limit theorem, skewness, probability, Chi-Square, Gaussian and other common distributions used in hypothesis testing. Regression: Random and grid search methods, basic least squares and algorithms applicable to regression, inversion and parameter estimation. Signal Processing: Analog and digital signals, Z-transform, Fourier series, fast Fourier transforms, spectral analysis leakage and bias, digital filtering. Students taking the graduate version complete different assignments.
T. Herring, S. Ravela
No textbook information available

12.021 Earth Science, Energy, and the Environment
______

Undergrad (Fall)
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: Calculus I (GIR), Chemistry (GIR), and Physics I (GIR)
Units: 3-1-8
______
Provides understanding of the Earth System most relevant to production of our planet's natural energy resources, including the physics, chemistry, and biology of conventional and alternative energy sources. Includes a broad overview of traditional and alternative energy sources: hydrocarbons (conventional and unconventional), nuclear, geothermal, hydroelectric, and wind and tides, along with their potentials and limitations. Develops detailed knowledge of the formation, concentration, and production of fossil and nuclear fuels, as well as the waste products associated with their consumption. An examination of conventional and alternative energy sources includes the environmental issues associated with the exploitation of these resources, both regional and global.
B. Hager

12.031[J] Fundamentals of Ecology
______

Undergrad (Fall) Rest Elec in Sci & Tech
(Same subject as 1.018[J], 7.30[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 4-0-8
Add to schedule Lecture: MW11-12.30 (48-316) Recitation: M1 (48-316) or W1 (48-316) +final
______
Fundamentals of ecology, considering Earth as an integrated dynamic living system. Coevolution of the biosphere and geosphere, biogeochemical cycles, metabolic diversity, primary productivity, competition and the niche, trophic dynamics and food webs, population growth and limiting factors. Population modeling, global carbon cycle, climate change, geoengineering, theories of resource competition and mutualism, allometric scaling, ecological genomics, niche theory, human population growth. Applied ecology.
O. Cordero, D. McRose, C. Terrer
No textbook information available

12.080 Experiential Learning in EAPS
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer) Can be repeated for credit
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units arranged [P/D/F]
______
For Course 12 students participating in off-campus professional experiences related to their course of study. Before registering for this subject, students must have an offer from a company or organization, must identify an EAPS advisor, and must receive prior approval from their advisor. Upon completion of the experience, student must submit a letter from the company or organization describing what the student accomplished, along with a substantive final report from the student approved by the EAPS advisor. Consult departmental academic office.
EAPS Faculty

12.086 Modeling Environmental Complexity
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Fall)
(Subject meets with 12.586)
Prereq: 18.03
Units: 3-0-9
______
Introduction to mathematical and physical models of environmental processes. Emphasis on the development of macroscopic continuum or statistical descriptions of complex microscopic dynamics. Problems of interest include: random walks and statistical geometry of landscapes; percolation theory and transport in disordered media; fractals, scaling, and universality; ecological dynamics and the structure of ecosystems, food webs, and other natural networks; kinetics of biogeochemical cycles. Appropriate for advanced undergraduates. Beginning graduate students are encouraged to register for 12.586. Students taking the graduate version complete different assignments.
D. H. Rothman

12.090 Current Topics in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Fall, Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged
______
Laboratory or field work in earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences. Consult with department Education Office.
Fall: G. Fournier
Spring: D. Rothman

12.091 Current Topics in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (IAP) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged [P/D/F]
______
Laboratory or field work in earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences. Consult with department Education Office.
C. Hill, L. Milechin, J. Mullen

12.092 Current Topics in Geology and Geochemistry
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units arranged
______
Laboratory or field work in geology and geochemistry. Consult with department Education Office.
Staff

12.093 Current Topics in Geology and Geochemistry
______

Undergrad (Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged [P/D/F]
______
Laboratory or field work in geology and geochemistry. To be arranged with department faculty. Consult with department Education Office.
Staff

12.094 Current Topics in Geophysics
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged
______
Laboratory or field work in geophysics. Consult with department Education Office.
Staff

12.095 Current Topics in Geophysics
______

Undergrad (Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged [P/D/F]
______
Laboratory, data analysis, system modeling or field work in geophysics. To be arranged with department faculty. Consult with department Education Office.
Staff

12.096 Current Topics in Atmospheric Science and Oceanography
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged
______
Laboratory or field work in atmospheric science and oceanography. To be arranged with department faculty. Consult with department Education Office.
Staff

12.097 Current Topics in Atmospheric Science and Oceanography
______

Undergrad (Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged [P/D/F]
______
Laboratory or field work in atmospheric science and oceanography. To be arranged with department faculty. Consult with department Education Office.
Staff

12.098 Current Topics in Planetary Science
______

Undergrad (Fall) Can be repeated for credit
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged
______
Laboratory or field work in planetary science. To be arranged with department faculty. Consult with department Education Office.
Staff

12.099 Current Topics in Planetary Science
______

Undergrad (Fall) Can be repeated for credit
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged [P/D/F]
______
Laboratory or field work in planetary science. To be arranged with department faculty. Consult with department Education Office.
Staff

12.C25[J] Real World Computation with Julia
______

Undergrad (Fall)
(Same subject as 1.C25[J], 6.C25[J], 16.C25[J], 18.C25[J], 22.C25[J])
Prereq: 6.100A, 18.03, and 18.06
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: MW1-2.30 (4-149)
______
Focuses on algorithms and techniques for writing and using modern technical software in a job, lab, or research group environment that may consist of interdisciplinary teams, where performance may be critical, and where the software needs to be flexible and adaptable. Topics include automatic differentiation, matrix calculus, scientific machine learning, parallel and GPU computing, and performance optimization with introductory applications to climate science, economics, agent-based modeling, and other areas. Labs and projects focus on performant, readable, composable algorithms, and software. Programming will be in Julia. Expects students to have some familiarity with Python, Matlab, or R. No Julia experience necessary.
A. Edelman, R. Ferrari, B. Forget, C. Leiseron,Y. Marzouk, J. Williams
No textbook information available

Geology and Geochemistry

12.100 Plate Tectonics and Climate
(New)
______

Undergrad (Fall)
(Subject meets with 12.475)
Prereq: 12.001 or permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-6
Add to schedule Lecture: TR11-12.30 (54-915)
______
Explores plate tectonics and the fundamental relationship between tectonic systems and global climate. Provides an in-depth study of plate tectonics, encompassing sea floor spreading, continental rifting, mountain and basin formation, and subduction. Examines the profound effects of tectonic activity on global climate, emphasizing the critical links between solid earth processes and long-term climate change and offering a holistic view of our planet's intricate systems. Regional case studies present examples of the complex interconnections along Earth's long history. An optional weekend field trip brings concepts encountered in class into tangible, real-world context. Expectations differ for students taking graduate version.
O. Jagoutz, L. H. Royden, K. Bergmann
No textbook information available

12.104 Geochemistry of Natural Waters
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring)
(Subject meets with 12.494)
Prereq: Calculus II (GIR)
Units: 3-2-7
______
Equips students with the fundamental skills to identify major controls on the chemistry of waters on the Earth. Students examine key concepts, theories and practical tools (e.g., pH, Eh, alkalinity, surface charge, speciation, and carbonate equilibrium) and apply them as tools to understand and make predictions for the biogeochemical cycles of the Earth systems. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
S. Ono

12.108 Earth Materials: Minerals and Rocks
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Spring)
Prereq: Chemistry (GIR)
Units: 3-4-5
______
Provides an integrated survey of rocks and rock-forming minerals. Introduces the fundamentals of crystal structure and mineral chemistry and explore mineral and rock formation mechanisms across Earth and planetary surfaces and interiors. Links mineral assemblages to the chemical compositions of rocks within the Earth's crust and upper mantle and to specific tectonic environments. Students investigate the chemistry and physics of rock formation mechanisms, crust and mantle melting dynamics, and the geochemical and mineralogical signatures of igneous rocks and metamorphic processes. Laboratory component includes both specimen-level work and petrography.
N. Nie

12.110A Sedimentary Environments
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Spring) Partial Lab; first half of term
(Subject meets with 12.465A)
Prereq: 12.001 or 12.11
Units: 2-1-3
______
Covers the basic concepts of sedimentation from the properties of individual grains to large-scale basin analysis. Lectures cover sediment textures and composition, fluid flow and sediment transport, and formation of sedimentary structures. Depositional models, for both modern and ancient environments are a major component and are studied in detail with an eye toward interpretation of depositional processes and reconstructing paleoenvironments from the rock record. Satisfies 6 units of Institute Laboratory credit. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
K. Bergmann

12.110B Sedimentology in the Field
______

Undergrad (Spring) Partial Lab Can be repeated for credit; second half of term
(Subject meets with 12.465B)
Prereq: 12.110A
Units: 2-2-5
______
Examines the fundamentals of sedimentary deposits and geological reasoning through first hand fieldwork. Students practice methods of modern geological field study off-campus during a required trip over spring break making field observations, measuring stratigraphic sections and making a sedimentological map. Relevant topics introduced are map and figure making in ArcGIS and Adobe Illustrator and sedimentary petrology. Culminates in an oral and written report built around data gathered in the field. Field sites and intervals of geologic time studied rotate annually and include Precambrian, Phanerozoic and Modern depositional environments. Satisfies 6 units of Institute Laboratory credit. May be taken multiple times for credit. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
K. Bergmann

12.113 Structural Geology
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Fall)
Prereq: 12.001
Units: 3-3-6
URL: http://web.mit.edu/12.113/www/
______
Introduces mechanics of rock deformation. Discusses recognition, interpretation, and mechanics of faults, folds, structural features of igneous and metamorphic rocks, and superposed deformations. Introduces regional structural geology and tectonics. Laboratory includes techniques of structural analysis, recognition and interpretation of structures on geologic maps, and construction of interpretive cross sections.
Staff

12.115 Field Geology
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (IAP) Partial Lab
Prereq: 12.113
Units: 0-9-0
______
Introduction to the methods of modern geological field study off-campus during an intensive two-week experience. Exercises include geological and geomorphological mapping on topographic and photographic base maps of a wide variety of bedrock and surficial rocks. Where feasible, geochemical and geophysical field measurements are corrrelated with geology. Location is usually in the western US. Contact department regarding travel fee and resources for funding opportunities. Meets with 12.482 when offered concurrently. Satisfies 9 units of Institute Laboratory credit.
O. Jagoutz, K. Bergmann

12.116 Analysis of Geologic Data
______

Undergrad (Spring) Partial Lab
Prereq: 12.115
Units: 0-2-4
______
Includes in-depth laboratory analysis of samples, interpretation of geological data, and where possible, geophysical and geochemical data. Includes the preparation of reports based on the field studies conducted in 12.115 during January; report generally exceeds 30 pages in length and includes one major revision and rewrite. Instruction in writing techniques provided. Contact department regarding travel fee and resources for funding opportunities. Satisfies 3 units of Institute Laboratory credit.
O. Jagoutz

12.117A Field Geobiology I
______

Undergrad (Spring); first half of term
Not offered regularly; consult department
(Subject meets with 12.487A)
Prereq: None. Coreq: 12.001 or 12.007
Units: 2-1-3
______
Examines basic biological processes that operate in sediments. Lectures cover biological, physical and chemical processes that influence the formation and stabilization of sediments, including biomineralization, weathering, erosion, the formation of sedimentary structures and interactions with sediments, flow, and the cycles of nutrients. Lab covers analytical methods used to examine microbial processes, bioinformatic methods used to analyze microbial communities, and techniques used to analyze sediment grain sizes and chemistry. Readings and discussions provide preparation for the 12.117B field trip to a modern sedimentary environment. Enables students to interpret processes in modern sedimentary environments, reconstruct similar processes in the rock record, collect appropriate samples in the field, and analyze microbiological data. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
T. Bosak

12.117B Field Geobiology II
______

Undergrad (Spring) Can be repeated for credit; second half of term
Not offered regularly; consult department
(Subject meets with 12.487B)
Prereq: 12.117A
Units: 2-2-5
______
Teaches fundamentals of field observations and reasoning in geobiology/sedimentology during a required trip to a modern sedimentary environment over spring break, followed by laboratory analyses of collected samples. Students make observations, develop hypotheses, collect samples required to test their hypotheses and interact with lecturers and students investigating the sedimentology of the site. Upon return to MIT, students work on field samples to characterize the sediments, use the preliminary data to develop an understanding of the field site, and write research reports. Students taking graduate version write proposals that present a research question based on the field observations and subsequent analyses. Meets with 12.110B and 12.465B when those subjects examine modern sedimentary environments.
T. Bosak

12.119 Harnessing Power from Environmental Microbes and Chemical Gradients
______

Undergrad (Spring)
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: Biology (GIR), Chemistry (GIR), or 12.007
Units: 2-2-5
______
Provides practical instruction on how to make living batteries. Lectures cover the basics of marine and freshwater chemistry and biogeochemistry (pH, redox potential, organic loading, free energy for growth, chemical profiles, sampling and measurement methods). Students explore sediment biogeochemistry by analyzing mineral types and grain sizes, setting up microbial enrichment cultures, and sampling and characterizing microbes and environmental chemistry by microscopy, chemical assays of pore fluids, and bioinformatics tools. Subsequent lab activities teach students to develop and use electrochemical tools to build microbial batteries that can power light sources and instruments. Discussion and reading cover real-world applications of microbial fuel cells.
T. Bosak, S. Ono

12.12 Nature's Sandbox: The History of Ancient Environments, Climate, and Life
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Spring); second half of term
Prereq: None
Units: 1-1-1 [P/D/F]
______
Series of field adventures to survey Earth's history and landscape through a combination of online and in-person instruction, with virtual field trips to Svalbard, Norway, the Death Valley area and Northern Minnesota. In these key sites, students explore the interactions between Earth's surface environments and life, and critical transitions in each. Includes weekly in-class paper discussions and experiential exercises. Three optional one-day field trips provide opportunity to explore the amazing sedimentary record preserved close to MIT. Subject can count toward the 6-unit discovery-focused credit limit for first year students.
K. Bergmann

12.141 Electron Microprobe Analysis
______

Undergrad (IAP)
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units: 1-1-4 [P/D/F]
______
Introduction to the theory of x-ray microanalysis through the electron microprobe including ZAF matrix corrections. Techniques to be discussed are wavelength and energy dispersive spectrometry, scanning backscattered electron, secondary electron, cathodoluminescence, and x-ray imaging. Lab sessions involve use of the electron microprobe.
Staff

12.163 Geomorphology
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Fall)
(Subject meets with 12.463)
Prereq: (Calculus I (GIR), Physics I (GIR), and 12.001) or permission of instructor
Units: 3-3-6
______
Quantitative examination of processes that shape Earth's surface. Introduction to fluvial, hillslope, and glacial mechanics. Essentials of weathering, soil formation, runoff, erosion, slope stability, sediment transport, and river morphology. Landscape evolution in response to climatic and tectonic forcing. Application of terrestrial theory to planetary surfaces. Additional instruction in geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing analysis, field measurement techniques, and numerical modeling of surface processes. Students taking the graduate version complete different assignments.
T. Perron

12.170 Essentials of Geology
______

Undergrad (Fall)
Not offered regularly; consult department
(Subject meets with 12.470)
Prereq: (Calculus II (GIR) and Physics II (GIR)) or permission of instructor
Units: 4-0-8
______
Studies the geology of planetary interiors and surfaces, including plate tectonics, as a unifying theory of terrestrial geology, surface processes, and the Earth's interior. Covers igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary processes associated with tectonic settings and the typical rock suites created; mineral and rock identification; and causes of compositional differences on many scales (mineral grains, rocks, regions of the Earth, different planets). Also addresses conditions required for melting and melting processes; rock structure and field techniques; and Earth history. Treatment of these topics includes discussions of the geochemical, petrologic, geochronological, experimental, or field techniques used to investigate them; the limitations of current geological techniques and geological controversies; and major geological expeditions, experiments, and studies from the past, along with their premises and results. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
Staff

12.177 Astrobiology, Origins and Early Evolution of Life
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Fall)
(Subject meets with 12.477)
Prereq: Biology (GIR), Chemistry (GIR), or permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
Provides an understanding of major areas of research into the problem of the origin of life on the early Earth from an astrobiological perspective. Topics include the timing, setting and conditions for the origin of life on the Hadean Earth; roles of planetary and extra-planetary processes; defining life; prebiotic chemistry; origins of nucleic acids and peptides; evolution of cellularity, replication, metabolism, and translation; establishment of the genetic code; biogenesis vs. ecogenesis; the nature of the last common ancestor of life; conceptualizing the "tree of life;" and the early evolution of the ancestors of bacteria, archaeal, and eukaryal lineages. Students taking graduate version complete an extra project.
G. Fournier

12.178 The Phylogenomic Planetary Record
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Fall)
(Subject meets with 12.478)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: TR11-12.30 (54-1623)
______
Introduces the tools of sequence-based phylogenetic analysis and molecular evolution in the context of studying events in Earth's deep past that have been preserved by genomes. Topics include basic concepts of cladistics, phylogeny and sequence evolution, construction of phylogenetic trees of genes and microbial lineages, molecular clocks, dating, and ancestral sequence reconstruction. Special attention to the evolutionary history of microbial metabolisms and their relationship to global biogeochemical cycles across Earth's history. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
G. Fournier
No textbook information available

Geophysics

12.201 Essentials of Global Geophysics
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Fall)
(Subject meets with 12.501)
Prereq: Physics II (GIR) and 18.03
Units: 4-0-8
Subject Cancelled Subject Cancelled
______
Overview of basic topics in solid-earth geophysics, such as the Earth's rotation, gravity and magnetic field, seismology, and thermal structure. Formulation of physical principles presented in three one-hour lectures per week. Current applications discussed in an additional one-hour tutorial each week. Students taking graduate version complete different assignments.
R. van der Hilst

12.202 Flow, Deformation, and Fracture in Earth and Other Terrestrial Bodies
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Fall)
(Subject meets with 12.502)
Prereq: Calculus II (GIR) and Physics I (GIR)
Units: 3-2-7
______
Covers fundamentals of deformation and fracture of solids and the flow of viscous fluids. Explores spatial scales from molecular to planetary, and time scales from fractions of a second to millions of years, to understand how and why natural materials on Earth and other terrestrial bodies respond to applied forces. Fundamental concepts include the principles of continuum mechanics, tensor representation of physical properties, forces, tractions, stresses, strain theory, elasticity, contact problems, fracture and friction, and viscous flow and rheological models (plasticity, viscosity, viscoelasticity, elasto-plasticity). Students gather, analyze and interpret data using existing theoretical models. Includes a significant laboratory component that provides practical experience with experimental measurements and tests students' acquired theoretical knowledge. Students taking graduate version complete different assignments.
B. Minchew, M. Pec

12.203 Mechanics of Earth
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring)
(Subject meets with 12.503)
Prereq: Calculus II (GIR) and Physics I (GIR)
Units: 3-2-7
______
Covers topics in the deformation and fracture of solids and the flow of viscous fluids. Explores spatial scales from molecular to planetary, and time scales from fractions of a second to millions of years, to understand how and why natural materials on Earth and other terrestrial bodies respond to applied forces. Introduces anelasticity, granular mechanics, poroelasticity, rate-and-state friction, transport properties of Earth materials (Darcy's law, Fick's law), brittle-ductile transitions, creep of polycrystalline materials, stored energy and dissipation, and convection. Prepares students to gather, analyze and interpret data using existing theoretical models. Through a significant laboratory component, students obtain practical experience with experimental measurements and test their acquired theoretical knowledge. Students taking graduate version complete different assignments.
B. Minchew, M. Pec

12.207[J] Nonlinear Dynamics: Continuum Systems
______

Undergrad (Spring)
(Same subject as 1.062[J], 18.354[J])
(Subject meets with 18.3541)
Prereq: Physics II (GIR) and (18.03 or 18.032)
Units: 3-0-9
______
General mathematical principles of continuum systems. From microscopic to macroscopic descriptions in the form of linear or nonlinear (partial) differential equations. Exact solutions, dimensional analysis, calculus of variations and singular perturbation methods. Stability, waves and pattern formation in continuum systems. Subject matter illustrated using natural fluid and solid systems found, for example, in geophysics and biology.
Staff

12.210 Introduction to Seismology
(New)
______

Undergrad (Fall)
(Subject meets with 12.510)
Prereq: 18.075 or 18.085
Units: 3-1-8
Add to schedule Lecture: WF1.30-3.30 (54-209) Lab: M1-3 (54-209)
______
A basic study in seismology and the utilization of seismic waves for the study of Earth's interior. Introduces techniques necessary for understanding of elastic wave propagation in stratified media and for calculation of synthetic seismograms (WKBJ and mode summation). Ray theory; interpretation of travel times. (e.g., tomography); surface wave dispersion in layered media; Earth's free oscillations; and seismicity, (earthquake locations, magnitude, moment, and source properties). Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
W. Frank
No textbook information available

12.211 Field Geophysics
______

Undergrad (IAP)
(Subject meets with 12.511)
Prereq: 12.214 or permission of instructor
Units: 1-4-1
______
Covers practical methods of modern geophysics, including the global positioning system (GPS), gravity, and magnetics. Field work is conducted in western US and includes intensive 10-day field exercise. Focuses on measurement techniques and their interpretation. Introduces the science of gravity, magnetics, and the GPS. Measures crustal structure, fault motions, tectonic deformations, and the local gravity and magnetic fields. Students perform high-precision measurements and participate in data analysis. Emphasizes principles of geophysical data collection and the relevance of these data for tectonic faulting, crustal structure, and the dynamics of the earthquake cycle. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
Staff

12.213 Alternate Energy Sources
______

Undergrad (IAP) Can be repeated for credit
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units: 1-4-1 [P/D/F]
______
Explores a number of alternative energy sources such as geothermal energy (heat from the Earth's interior), wind, natural gas, and solar energy. Includes a field trip to visit sites where alternative energy is being harvested or generated. Content and focus of subject varies from year to year.
Staff

12.214 Essentials of Field Geophysics
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Fall)
(Subject meets with 12.507)
Prereq: Physics II (GIR), 6.100A, and 18.03
Units: 3-3-6
______
Introduces students to the practical field application of various geophysical methods to studying Earth's near-surface and prepares students to undertake fieldwork that uses these methods. Methods covered include but are not limited to measuring seismic waves, gravity, precise positions (commonly referred to as GPS but formally known as GNSS), and topography using drones. Lab time involves local fieldwork to gain experience with the methods being taught. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
W. Frank, B. Minchew

12.225 Mechanisms of Faulting and Earthquakes
(New)
______

Undergrad (Fall)
(Subject meets with 12.525)
Prereq: 12.002 and (12.010, 12.012, 18.C25, (6.100A and 6.100B), or permission of instructor)
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: TR11-12.30 (54-824)
______
Explores the fundamental mechanics of faulting and earthquakes from four related perspectives: seismology, geodesy, geodynamics, and rheology. Topics to be covered include: the physical processes that control the rheology of faults, including friction and fracture; how these rheological processes are manifest in faulting and earthquakes in the earth from a geodynamics perspective; and how the mechanics of faulting and earthquakes are constrained by seismological and geodetic observations. Features both continental and oceanic examples of faulting and earthquakes. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
C. Cattania
No textbook information available

Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate

12.300[J] Global Change Science
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Fall)
(Same subject as 1.071[J])
(Subject meets with 1.771)
Prereq: 18.03
Units: 3-0-9
______
Introduces the basic principles and concepts in atmospheric physics, and climate dynamics, through an examination of: greenhouse gases emissions (mainly CO2), global warming, and regional climate change. Case studies are presented for the regional impacts of climate change on extreme weather, water availability, and disease transmission. Introduction to regional and global environmental problems for students in basic sciences and engineering. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
E. Eltahir

12.301 Climate Science
______

Undergrad (Fall)
(Subject meets with 12.842)
Prereq: Chemistry (GIR), 18.03, or permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: MW1.30-3 (54-517)
______
Introduction to climate studies, including beginnings of the solar system, time scales, and climate in human history; methods for detecting climate change, including proxies, ice cores, instrumental records, and time series analysis; physical and chemical processes in climate, including primordial atmosphere, ozone chemistry, carbon and oxygen cycles, and heat and water budgets; internal feedback mechanisms, including ice, aerosols, water vapor, clouds, and ocean circulation; climate forcing, including orbital variations, volcanism, plate tectonics, and solar variability; climate models and mechanisms of variability, including energy balance, coupled models, and global ocean and atmosphere models; and outstanding problems. Students taking the graduate version complete different assignments.
A. Fiore, P. O'Gorman, D. McGee
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

12.306 Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry
______

Undergrad (Spring)
(Subject meets with 10.571[J], 12.806[J])
Prereq: (18.075 and (5.60 or 5.61)) or permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
Introduction to the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere including experience with computer codes. Aerosols and theories of their formation, evolution, and removal. Gas and aerosol transport from urban to continental scales. Coupled models of radiation, transport, and chemistry. Solution of inverse problems to deduce emissions and removal rates. Emissions control technology and costs. Applications to air pollution and climate. Students taking the graduate version complete different assignments.
R. G. Prinn

12.307 Weather and Climate Laboratory
______

Undergrad (Spring) Institute Lab
Prereq: Calculus II (GIR) and Physics I (GIR)
Units: 1-4-7
______
Engages students in projects involving rotating tank laboratory experiments, analysis of data on the sphere, and report writing and presentation. Project themes explore fundamentals of climate science and make contact points with major contemporary environmental challenges facing mankind. Examples include heat and moisture transport in the atmosphere; weather and weather extremes; aerosols, dust, and atmospheric pollution; ocean circulation and transport and plastics in the ocean. Develops skills for how to deal with noisy, imperfect data. Provides instruction and practice in written and oral communication.
T. Tamarin-Brodsky, J. Marshall

12.310 An Introduction to Weather Forecasting
______

Undergrad (IAP)
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: Calculus I (GIR) and Physics I (GIR)
Units: 1-1-4 [P/D/F]
______
Basic principles of synoptic meteorology and weather forecasting. Analysis of hourly weather data and numerical weather prediction models. Regular preparation of weather forecasts.
EAPS Faculty

12.314[J] Ocean Chemistry Change Laboratory
(New)
______

Undergrad (Spring) Partial Lab; first half of term
(Same subject as 5.009[J])
Prereq: Chemistry (GIR)
Units: 1-3-2
______
Introduces marine chemistry and explores how human activity is aggressively modifying Earth's climate system. Familiarizes students with instrumentation, techniques, and concepts utilized to investigate the ocean. Through lab work, students apply general chemistry principles to marine systems and develop new understanding of specific research problems within ocean chemistry and biogeochemistry. Satisfies 3 units of Institute Laboratory credit.
Staff

12.315 Atmospheric Radiation and Convection
______

Undergrad (Spring)
(Subject meets with 12.815)
Prereq: 12.390 or permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
Introduction to the physics of atmospheric radiation, remote sensing, and convection, including use of computer codes. Radiative transfer equation including emission and scattering, spectroscopy, Mie theory, and numerical solutions. Physics of dry and moist convection, including moist thermodynamics. Radiative-convective equilibrium. Solution of inverse problems in remote sensing of atmospheric temperature and composition. Students taking graduate version complete different assignments.
T. Cronin

12.318 Introduction to Atmospheric Data and Large-scale Dynamics
______

Undergrad (Fall)
(Subject meets with 12.818)
Prereq: None. Coreq: 12.390
Units: 3-3-6
Add to schedule Lecture: TR1.30-3 (54-1623) Lab: TBA
______
Provides a general introduction to meteorological data and analysis techniques, and their use in the MIT Synoptic Laboratory to study the phenomenology and dynamics of large-scale atmospheric flow. Illustrates balance concepts as applied to the dynamics of frontal and synoptic scales, using real-time upper-air and surface station data and gridded analyzed fields. Uses advanced meteorological software packages to access, manipulate, and graphically display the data. Students taking graduate version complete different assignments.
L. Illari
No textbook information available

12.320A[J] Introduction to Hydrology and Water Resources
______

Undergrad (Fall); first half of term
(Same subject as 1.070A[J])
Prereq: 1.060A; Coreq: 1.061A and 1.106
Units: 2-0-4
Add to schedule Ends Oct 18. Lecture: TR10.30-12 (48-308)
______
Water in the environment; Water resource systems; The hydrologic cycle at its role in the climate system; Surface water and energy balance; evaporation and transpiration through vegetation; Precipitation formation, infiltration, storm runoff, and flood processes; Groundwater aquifers, subsurface flow and the hydraulics of wells.
D. Entekhabi
No textbook information available

12.320B[J] Introduction to Hydrology Modeling
______

Undergrad (Fall); second half of term
(Same subject as 1.070B[J])
Prereq: 1.070A
Units: 2-0-4
Add to schedule Begins Oct 21. Lecture: TR10.30-12 (48-308)
______
Develops understanding of numerical modeling of aquifers, groundwater flow and contaminant transport, as well as uncertainty and risk analysis for water resources.
D. Entekhabi
No textbook information available

12.330[J] Fluid Physics
______

Undergrad (Spring)
(Same subject as 1.066[J], 8.292[J])
Prereq: 5.60, 8.044, or permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
A physics-based introduction to the properties of fluids and fluid systems, with examples drawn from a broad range of sciences, including atmospheric physics and astrophysics. Definitions of fluids and the notion of continuum. Equations of state and continuity, hydrostatics and conservation of momentum; ideal fluids and Euler's equation; viscosity and the Navier-Stokes equation. Energy considerations, fluid thermodynamics, and isentropic flow. Compressible versus incompressible and rotational versus irrotational flow; Bernoulli's theorem; steady flow, streamlines and potential flow. Circulation and vorticity. Kelvin's theorem. Boundary layers. Fluid waves and instabilities. Quantum fluids.
L. Bourouiba

12.335 Experimental Atmospheric Chemistry
______

Undergrad (Fall) Institute Lab
(Subject meets with 12.835)
Prereq: Chemistry (GIR)
Units: 2-4-6
Add to schedule Lecture: TR1.30-3 (54-209)
______
Introduces the atmospheric chemistry involved in climate change, air pollution, and ozone depletion using a combination of interactive laboratory and field studies and simple computer models. Uses instruments for trace gas and aerosol measurements and methods for inferring fundamental information from these measurements. Provides instruction and practice in written and oral communication. Students taking the graduate version complete different assignments.
R. Prinn, S. Ono
No textbook information available

12.336[J] Air Pollution and Atmospheric Chemistry
______

Undergrad (Fall)
Not offered regularly; consult department
(Same subject as 1.085[J])
(Subject meets with 1.855)
Prereq: 18.03
Units: 3-0-9
______
Provides a working knowledge of basic air quality issues, with emphasis on a multidisciplinary approach to investigating the sources and effects of pollution. Topics include emission sources; atmospheric chemistry and removal processes; meteorological phenomena and their impact on pollution transport at local to global scales; air pollution control technologies; health effects; and regulatory standards. Discusses regional and global issues, such as acid rain, ozone depletion and air quality connections to climate change. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments. Recommended for upper-level undergraduate students.
C. Heald

12.338 Aerosol and Cloud Microphysics and Chemistry
______

Undergrad (Spring)
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: 1.085, 12.335, or permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
Focuses on understanding how aerosol particles form droplets or ice crystals during several atmospheric processes: determining Earth's radiative balance; heterogeneous chemistry and acid rain; understanding where, when and how much precipitation occurs. Provides tools for understanding the physics of aerosol and cloud element motion; the interaction of particles with water vapor, including phase changes and droplet and ice nucleation; the chemical composition of particles and the effect on cloud formation processes; and the effect of cloud processing on aerosol chemistry. Discusses relevant topics of contemporary interest, e.g., geoengineering and weather modification and volcanic effects. Students taking the graduate version complete different assignments.
Staff

12.346[J] Global Environmental Negotiations
______

Undergrad (Fall)
Not offered regularly; consult department
(Same subject as IDS.062[J])
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 2-0-4
______
Practical introduction to global environmental negotiations designed for science and engineering students. Covers basic issues in international negotiations, such as North-South conflict, implementation and compliance, trade, and historical perspective on global environmental treaties. Offers hands-on practice in developing and interpreting international agreements through role-play simulations and observation of ongoing climate change negotiating processes. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
N. E. Selin

12.348[J] Global Climate Change: Economics, Science, and Policy
______

Undergrad (Spring)
Not offered regularly; consult department
(Same subject as 15.026[J])
Prereq: (Calculus II (GIR), 5.60, and 14.01) or permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-6
______
Introduces scientific, economic, and ecological issues underlying the threat of global climate change, and the institutions engaged in negotiating an international response. Develops an integrated approach to analysis of climate change processes, and assessment of proposed policy measures, drawing on research and model development within the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. Graduate students are expected to explore the topic in greater depth through reading and individual research..
Staff

12.349 Mechanisms and Models of the Global Carbon Cycle
______

Undergrad (Spring)
(Subject meets with 12.849)
Prereq: Calculus II (GIR) and Physics I (GIR)
Units: 3-0-9
______
Addresses changes in the ocean, terrestrial biosphere and rocks modulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide on timescales from months to millions of years. Includes feedbacks between carbon cycle and climate. Combines hands-on data analysis with the formulation of simple models rooted in basic physical, chemical and biological principles. Students create individual "toy" global carbon cycle models. Students taking graduate version complete different assignments.
M. Follows

12.372 Elements of Modern Oceanography
______

Undergrad (Fall)
(Subject meets with 12.702)
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Meets at WHOI. Clark 271. TBA.
______
Examines a series of crosscutting topics that exemplify current directions in interdisciplinary oceanography. Focuses on current themes in oceanography, their interdisciplinary nature, and the role of ocean sciences in society. Introduces core concepts across the disciplines of biological, physical, and chemical oceanography as well as marine geology. Emphasizes the interdisciplinary aspects of these core concepts, the kinds of approaches and modes of thinking common to all of the disciplines, and the technological developments underpinning current advances. Students taking graduate version complete different assignments.
J. Pineda, M. Andres
No textbook information available

12.373 Field Oceanography
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring) Institute Lab
(Subject meets with 12.777)
Prereq: Biology (GIR), Chemistry (GIR), and permission of instructor
Units: 3-7-5
______
Provides an introduction to the biogeochemistry of the ocean, and the field techniques and methods used in its study. Emphasizes biogeochemistry and the interrelated nature of elemental cycling, but also examines physical transport and air-sea gas exchange. Covers multiple aspects related to field instrumentation and measurements, including nutrients, oxygen, the carbon system, temperature, and salinity. Presents microbial analyses, such as metagenomics. Includes a mandatory spring break field trip aboard a research vessel; opportunities for funded travel available. Students work in groups to propose a project over the week-long voyage that utilizes the field time to collect samples. During the second half of the term, students analyze and synthesize the data, and present it in a publication-quality manuscript. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments. Enrollment limited.
A. R. Babbin

12.377 The History of Earth's Climate
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Spring)
(Subject meets with 12.707)
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
Studies the climate history of the Earth, from the formation of the early atmosphere and ocean to the present. Evaluates geochemical, sedimentological, and paleontological evidence for changes in ocean circulation, global temperatures, and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Covers theories and models of Phanerozoic climate change. Provides a long-term history of the global carbon cycle. Students taking graduate version complete different assignments.
D. McGee

12.384[J] Living Dangerously: Environmental Problems from 1900 to Today
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities Communication Intensive HASS
(Same subject as STS.055[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Historical overview of the interactions between people and their environments in the past 100 years. Focuses on the accelerating human impact on Earth, starting in the late 19th century and continuing to the present day. Covers case studies showing how people have become aware of their impacts on the environment, and, in turn, the environment's impacts upon human society and what humans have done to mitigate damages. Topics include: food safety and security, industrial agriculture, pesticides, nuclear energy and warfare, lead, smog, ozone depletion, and climate change. Limited to 18.
S. Solomon, K. Brown

12.385 Science, Politics, and Environmental Policy
______

Undergrad (Fall)
(Subject meets with 11.373[J], 12.885[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: F2-5 (14E-310)
______
Examines the role of science in US and international environmental policymaking. Surveys the methods by which scientists learn about the natural world; the treatment of science by experts, advocates, the media, and the public and the way science is used in legislative, administrative and judicial decision making. Through lectures, group discussions, and written essays, students develop a critical understanding of the role of science in environmental policy. Potential case studies include fisheries management, ozone depletion, global warming, smog, and endangered species. Students taking the graduate version complete different assignments. Limited to 22.
S. Solomon, J. Knox-Hayes
No textbook information available

12.386[J] Environment and History
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Social Sciences Communication Intensive HASS
Not offered regularly; consult department
(Same subject as 21H.185[J], STS.031[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Focusing on the period from 1500 to the present, explores the influence of climate, topography, plants, animals, and microorganisms on human history and the reciprocal influence of people on the environment. Topics include the European encounter with the Americas, the impact of modern technology, and the current environmental crisis. Enrollment limited.
Staff

12.387[J] People and the Planet: Environmental Governance and Science
______

Undergrad (Fall)
(Same subject as 15.874[J], IDS.063[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-6
Add to schedule Lecture: F10-1 (56-169)
______
Introduces governance and science aspects of complex environmental problems and approaches to solutions. Introduces quantitative analyses and methodological tools to analyze environmental issues that have human and natural components. Demonstrates concepts through a series of in-depth case studies of environmental governance and science problems. Students develop writing, quantitative modeling, and analytical skills in assessing environmental systems problems and developing solutions. Through experiential activities, such as modeling and policy exercises, students engage with the challenges and possibilities of governance in complex, interacting systems, including biogeophysical processes and societal and stakeholder interactions.
A. Siddiqi
No textbook information available

12.390 Fluid Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Ocean
______

Undergrad (Fall)
(Subject meets with 12.800)
Prereq: 12.003
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: MW10.30-12 (54-823) +final
______
Introduction to fluid dynamics. Students acquire an understanding of some of the basic concepts of fluid dynamics that are needed as a foundation for advanced coursework in atmospheric science, physical oceanography, ocean engineering, climate science, etc. Emphasizes fluid fundamentals, with an atmosphere/ocean twist. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
A. Mahadevan, C. Cenedese
No textbook information available

12.391 Current Topics in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences
______

Graduate (IAP) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged [P/D/F]
______
Laboratory or field work in earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences. Consult with department Education Office.
Staff

12.396[J] Leadership and Professional Strategies & Skills Training (LEAPS), Part I: Advancing Your Professional Strategies and Skills
______

Graduate (Spring); second half of term
(Same subject as 5.961[J], 8.396[J], 9.980[J], 18.896[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 2-0-1 [P/D/F]
______
Part I (of two parts) of the LEAPS graduate career development and training series. Topics include: navigating and charting an academic career with confidence; convincing an audience with clear writing and arguments; mastering public speaking and communications; networking at conferences and building a brand; identifying transferable skills; preparing for a successful job application package and job interviews; understanding group dynamics and different leadership styles; leading a group or team with purpose and confidence. Postdocs encouraged to attend as non-registered participants. Limited to 80.
A. Frebel

12.397[J] Leadership and Professional Strategies & Skills Training (LEAPS), Part II: Developing Your Leadership Competencies
______

Graduate (Spring); first half of term
(Same subject as 5.962[J], 8.397[J], 9.981[J], 18.897[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 2-0-1 [P/D/F]
______
Part II (of two parts) of the LEAPS graduate career development and training series. Topics covered include gaining self awareness and awareness of others, and communicating with different personality types; learning about team building practices; strategies for recognizing and resolving conflict and bias; advocating for diversity and inclusion; becoming organizationally savvy; having the courage to be an ethical leader; coaching, mentoring, and developing others; championing, accepting, and implementing change. Postdocs encouraged to attend as non-registered participants. Limited to 80.
D. Rigos

Planetary Science and Astronomy

12.400 Our Space Odyssey
______

Undergrad (Spring) Rest Elec in Sci & Tech
Prereq: Physics I (GIR)
Units: 3-0-9
______
Traces historical and scientific advancement of our understanding of Earth's cosmic context. Introduces basic physical principles by which planets form and create their associated features of rings, satellites, diverse landscapes, atmospheres, and climates. Includes the physics of asteroids and comets and their orbital characteristics and links to meteorites. Considers one of the most fundamental questions - whether or not we are alone - by detailing the scientific exploration goals to be achieved at the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
J. de Wit

12.402[J] Introduction to Astronomy
______

Undergrad (Spring) Rest Elec in Sci & Tech
(Same subject as 8.282[J])
Prereq: Physics I (GIR)
Units: 3-0-6
______
Quantitative introduction to the physics of planets, stars, galaxies and our universe, from origin to ultimate fate, with emphasis on the physics tools and observational techniques that enable our understanding. Topics include our solar system, extrasolar planets; our Sun and other "normal" stars, star formation, evolution and death, supernovae, compact objects (white dwarfs, neutron stars, pulsars, stellar-mass black holes); galactic structure, star clusters, interstellar medium, dark matter; other galaxies, quasars, supermassive black holes, gravitational waves; cosmic large-scale structure, origin, evolution and fate of our universe, inflation, dark energy, cosmic microwave background radiation, gravitational lensing, 21cm tomography. Not usable as a restricted elective by Physics majors.
Staff

12.409 Hands-On Astronomy: Observing Stars and Planets
______

Undergrad (Spring)
Prereq: None
Units: 1-3-2 [P/D/F]
______
Background for, and techniques of, visual observation and electronic imaging of the Moon, planets, satellites, stars, and brighter deep-space objects. Weekly outdoor observing sessions using 8-inch diameter telescopes when weather permits. Indoor sessions introduce skills necessary for observation. Introduction to contemporary observational astronomy including astronomical computing, image and data processing, and how astronomers work. Student must maintain a careful and complete written log which is graded. Consumes an entire evening each week; 100% attendance at observing sessions required to pass. Enrollment limited; priority to first-year students.
M. Person

12.410[J] Observational Techniques of Optical Astronomy
______

Undergrad (Fall) Institute Lab
(Same subject as 8.287[J])
Prereq: 8.282, 12.409, or other introductory astronomy course
Units: 3-4-8
Add to schedule Lecture: MWF2 (4-231) Lab: M EVE (7-9 PM) (37-294)
______
Fundamental physical and optical principles used for astronomical measurements at visible wavelengths and practical methods of astronomical observations. Topics: astronomical coordinates, time, optics, telescopes, photon counting, signal-to-noise ratios, data analysis (including least-squares model fitting), limitations imposed by the Earth's atmosphere on optical observations, CCD detectors, photometry, spectroscopy, astrometry, and time variability. Project at Wallace Astrophysical Observatory. Written and oral project reports. Limited to 18; preference to Course 8 and Course 12 majors and minors.
M. Person, R. Teague
No textbook information available

12.411 Astronomy Field Camp
______

Undergrad (IAP) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: 12.410
Units: 0-6-3 [P/D/F]
______
Individual research projects in planetary science and astrophysics, involving supervised work at Teide Observatory on the island of Tenerife, Spain. Projects may include observations made using observatory telescope facilities. Project topics and objectives vary from year to year. Written and oral reports required. Limited to 6.
M. Person

12.412 Meteorites, Cosmochemistry, and Solar System Formation
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Fall)
(Subject meets with 12.612)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
A broad introduction to cosmochemistry, the study of the solar system formation from a geochemical perspective. Examines how the current meteorite records are used to gain information on the processes that happened in the early solar system. Topics include the origin of elements and isotopes, chemical fractionations of them during different processes, meteorite records, pre-solar grains, cosmochemical models for the solar system formation, chronology of planetary bodies from radioactive isotopes, and analytical techniques commonly used in cosmochemistry. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
N. X. Nie

12.420 Essentials of Planetary Science
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Fall)
(Subject meets with 12.601)
Prereq: (8.03, 12.002, and 18.03) or permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: WF10-11.30 (54-1623)
______
Advanced applications of physical and chemical principles to the study of the solar system. Topics include terrestrial and giant planets, meteorites, asteroids, comets, Kuiper belt objects, rings, impact craters, interiors, surfaces, atmospheres, geomagnetism, cosmochemistry, remote sensing, formation and evolution of the solar system.
B. Weiss, J. de Wit
No textbook information available

12.421 Physical Principles of Remote Sensing
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Fall)
(Subject meets with 12.621)
Prereq: Physics II (GIR) and 6.100A
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: TR10-11.30 (54-819)
______
Introduction to the physics of remote sensing with applications to the study of the Earth, Moon, planets and other solar system bodies, as well as to emerging fields, such as autonomous navigation. Includes the principles of optical, thermal, radar and lidar remote sensing. Covers fundamental properties of electromagnetic waves; principles of electromagnetic scattering from real and idealized materials, including various types of surfaces and vegetation; interaction of electromagnetic radiation with the atmosphere; and thermal and microwave emission from various media. Discusses past, present, and future remote sensing platforms along with the fundamentals of orbital mechanics and data processing tools and methods. Assignments require students to write simple computer programs and plot mathematical functions. Students taking graduate version complete different assignments.
B. Minchew
No textbook information available

12.422 Planetary Atmospheres
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Fall)
(Subject meets with 12.622)
Prereq: 12.003 or permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
Provides a basic understanding of the physics and chemistry of planetary atmospheres. Explores the formation and evolution of atmospheres, their structure and dynamics, and what is known about their chemical composition. Pays particular attention to their energy balance. Also presents the current state of understanding of exoplanet atmospheres. Students taking graduate version complete an additional research project.
J. de Wit

12.425[J] Extrasolar Planets: Physics and Detection Techniques
______

Undergrad (Fall) Rest Elec in Sci & Tech
(Same subject as 8.290[J])
(Subject meets with 12.625)
Prereq: 8.03 and 18.03
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: TR10.30-12 (54-517)
______
Presents basic principles of planet atmospheres and interiors applied to the study of extrasolar planets. Focuses on fundamental physical processes related to observable extrasolar planet properties. Provides a quantitative overview of detection techniques. Introduction to the feasibility of the search for Earth-like planets, biosignatures and habitable conditions on extrasolar planets. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
S. Seager
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

12.43[J] Space Systems Engineering
______

Undergrad (Spring)
(Same subject as 16.83[J])
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 3-3-6
______
Design of a complete space system, including systems analysis, trajectory analysis, entry dynamics, propulsion and power systems, structural design, avionics, thermal and environmental control, human factors, support systems, and weight and cost estimates. Students participate in teams, each responsible for an integrated vehicle design, providing experience in project organization and interaction between disciplines. Includes several aspects of team communication including three formal presentations, informal progress reports, colleague assessments, and written reports. Course 16 students are expected to complete two professional or concentration subjects from the departmental program before taking this capstone. Offered alternate fall and spring terms.
K. Cahoy

12.431[J] Space Systems Development
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring) Institute Lab
(Same subject as 16.831[J])
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 2-10-6
______
Students build a space system, focusing on refinement of sub-system designs and fabrication of full-scale prototypes. Sub-systems are integrated into a vehicle and tested. Sub-system performance is verified using methods of experimental inquiry, and is compared with physical models of performance and design goals. Communication skills are honed through written and oral reports. Formal reviews include the Implementation Plan Review and the Acceptance Review. Knowledge of the engineering design process is helpful.
K. Cahoy, G. Lordos

Independent Research Subjects

12.UAR[J] Climate and Sustainability Undergraduate Advanced Research
______

Undergrad (Fall, Spring) Can be repeated for credit
(Same subject as 1.UAR[J], 3.UAR[J], 5.UAR[J], 11.UAR[J], 15.UAR[J], 22.UAR[J])
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 2-0-4
Add to schedule Lecture: MW4 (48-316)
______
Provides instruction in effective research, experiential projects, internships, and externships, including choosing and refining problems, surveying previous work and publications, industry best practices, design for robustness, technical presentation, authorship and collaboration, and ethics. Supporting content includes background and context pertaining to climate change and sustainability, as well as tools for sustainable design. Focus for project work includes research topics relevant to the MIT Climate & Sustainability Consortium (MCSC). Students engage in extensive written and oral communication exercises, in the context of an approved advanced research project. A total of 12 units of credit is awarded for completion of the spring and subsequent fall term offerings. Application required; consult MCSC website for more information.
Fall: D. Plata
Spring: D. Plata
No textbook information available

12.UR Undergraduate Research
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: None
Units arranged [P/D/F]
Add to schedule TBA.
______
Undergraduate research opportunities in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.
A. Greaney-Williams
Textbooks arranged individually

12.URG Undergraduate Research
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: None
Units arranged
Add to schedule TBA.
______
Undergraduate research opportunities in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.
A. Greaney-Williams
Textbooks arranged individually

12.IND Independent Study
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: None
Units arranged
Add to schedule TBA.
______
Independent reading, laboratory, or fieldwork in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences. To be arranged by student and an appropriate EAPS faculty member. A written report may be required at the discretion of the advisor. Units arranged should reflect the project requirements.
A. Greaney-Williams
No textbook information available

12.TIP Thesis Preparation
______

Undergrad (Fall, Spring)
Prereq: None
Units: 2-0-4
Add to schedule TBA.
______
Definition of and early-stage work on the thesis project. Students develop a written research proposal and begin writing the supporting text of the thesis concurrent with conducting research for the thesis project. Supervision of the writing continues into the spring term which concludes with an oral presentation of the research results.
J. Abbott
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

12.THU Undergraduate Thesis
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: 12.TIP
Units arranged
Add to schedule TBA.
______
Program of research leading to the writing of a thesis; to be arranged by the student and an appropriate MIT faculty member.
A. Greaney-Williams
Textbooks arranged individually


left arrow | 12.00-12.439 plus UROP, IND, TIP, THU | 12.44-12.599 plus THG | 12.600-12.999 | right arrow



Produced: 22-JUL-2024 05:10 PM