The Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences traces its origins to the establishment of MIT by the eminent geologist William Barton Rogers in 1861. Before distinguishing himself as the University’s founder and first president, Rogers was a professor of natural philosophy and chemistry. He also served as State Geologist of Virginia, which explains why geology courses have been taught at MIT for more than a century.
In 1983, EAPS was formed through the merger of two MIT departments: the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, which grew out of the geology courses taught since the beginning of the Institute, and the Department of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, which had as its roots the meteorology courses that first emerged at MIT in 1941.
Today, the EAPS department offers an expansive range of scientific study unlike any other in the country. We seek to understand the fundamental workings of natural systems by examining physical, chemical, and biological processes occurring across a vast spectrum of time and space. Our highly integrated research requires direct observation as well as modeling, and we thrive on interdisciplinary ventures that open new avenues of exploration.