EAPS News

EAPS department members are world-renowned experts in their fields. Not only do our professors and researchers comment on the news, they make the news. Read about their latest findings and make plans to attend one of our informative EAPS events.

  

Featured Stories

Dating Dinosaurs, Reading Rocks

The EAPS Department Fall Field Trip provides an opportunity to get up close and personal with the geology of central Massachusetts.

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Where time stands still, ideas travel generations

The traditions of chalkboard mathematics, mentorship, and ample time to think make the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics program at WHOI a summer school like no other.

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Wrinkles in Time

EAPS professor Tanja Bosak and postdoc Giulio Mariotti report that ripples in ancient rock may be signs of early life.

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Mind the Gap

After tracking seismic shifts, researchers Rob Reilinger and Mike Floyd in EAPS say a major quake may occur off the coast of Istanbul.

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Observing @ MIT

Around 40 people joined EAPS planetary science lecturer Amanda Bosh, ably aided by postdoc David Polishook and EAPS sophomore Robbie Romero on the roof of building 37 Friday to bask in the unseasonably warm early fall night and look at the sky with the help of two 8-inch-diameter Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes.

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Back to School

MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences welcomes 21 new graduate students.

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Classroom Earth: DEAPS Yellowstone 2014

Basic earth science from the nature and causes of volcanic eruptions to the origin and diversity of microbial life in hot springs, to what we can tell about past climates from the fossil record: DEAPS Yellowstone brings freshmen up to speed fast.

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Classroon Earth: DEAPS Extreme Weather and Climate 2014

Falling fruit, scintillating stargazing, magnificent Mt Washington: All this plus a very EAPS take on the ALS ice bucket challenge.

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Snowfall in a warmer world

Work by Paul O'Gorman finds big snowstorms will still occur in the Northern Hemisphere following global warming.

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Study: Cutting emissions pays for itself

Noelle Selin and co-authors report savings from healthier air can make up for some or all of the cost of carbon-reduction policies.

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An Astrophysicist in Search of E.T.

The Wall Street Journal interviews Professor Sara Seager about her research and her search for extraterrestrial life. "We haven't been able to find the true Earth twin yet because it's so very hard to find. It's like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack," says Seager. 

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Solving the polar climate conundrum

According to researchers in the Marshall Group, ocean circulation explains why the Arctic feels the effects of global warming much more than the Antarctic.

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Broadening the ‘scope’ of microbial oceanography

With an infusion of private funds, EAPS' Mick Follows together with collaborators from CEE, will break new ground in the study of marine microbes at the legendary field site Station ALOHA.

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Rise of the Dinosaurs

New evidence from researchers in the Bowring Lab raises questions about when dinosaurs evolved in North America.

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Two New AGU Fellows

Congratulations to EAPS' Professors Glenn Flierl and Dan Rothman on their election as Fellows of the American Geophysical Union

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Climate change and air pollution will combine to curb food supplies

A new study led by Colette Heald finds ozone and higher temperatures can combine to reduce crop yields, but effects will vary by region.

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Seeing Beyond the Clouds

Researchers In the Aerosol and Cloud Lab at MIT are perfecting ice cloud chamber methodology for future generations. A new instrument, the SPectrometer for Ice Nuclei (SPIN), will ultimately clarify how humans are changing the chemistry of the atmosphere.

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Searching for Life

Sara Seager on extraterrestrial life: A discovery within reach?

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Phytoplankton Diversity versus Productivity in the Ocean

An ocean ecosystem model from Vallina, Follows, Dutkiewicz and coauthors solves the mysterious relationship between diversity and productivity of marine phytoplankton. 

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New Faculty

Introducing Greg Fournier who joins EAPS as an Assistant Professor of Geobiology.

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Perron wins 2014 AGU Macelwane Award

Cecil and Ida Green Assistant Professor of Geology Taylor Perron has been awarded a James B. Macelwane Medal in recognition of "significant contributions to the geophysical sciences by an outstanding young scientist".

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Did Neanderthals eat their vegetables?

Study by researchers in Roger Summons' Lab provide first direct evidence of plants in the Neanderthal diet.

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Tech Day 2014

Alumni took a big drink from the firehose on Saturday, June 7th, 2014 at the annual Tech Day program in Kresge Auditorium. This year's theme: The Future of Planet Earth.

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Advocating for U.S. investment in science and technology

MIT Vice President for Research and the E.A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics Maria Zuber makes the case for funding basic research.

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Meet EAPS' New Development Officer

Angela Ellis joins the EAPS Headquarters Team July 1.

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Degrees Awarded

Congratulations to all our graduates. Here are all the degrees EAPS students have been awarded during the 2013/2014 academic year.

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2014 Senior Thesis Presentations

Friday, May 16th, was EAPS' annual senior thesis presentation day. From asteroids to stromatolites, paleomagnetism to correcting GPS measurements, volcanic aerosols to air pollution, discover what EAPS class of 2014 has been working on.

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Solving the puzzle of ice age climates

Researchers look to the Southern Ocean for an explanation of the “Last Glacial Maximum.”

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Forecasting temperature extremes with ozone

MIT study co-authored by graduate student Justin Bandoro, advisor Professor Susan Solomon, postdoc Aaron Donohoe and others, finds that springtime ozone levels are good predictors of summertime temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere.

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A Visit from the “Dragon” of Rapid Ice Sheet Collapse

Richard Alley's 14th Annual Henry W. Kendall Memorial Lecture “Ice Sheets and Sea Level: Is the Long Tail Attached to a Dragon?" 

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2014 EAPS Student Awards

A roll-call of this year's Excellence in Teaching, Crosby, and Goetze Award recipients presented at last Friday's Student Recognition Dinner

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Dangerous storms peaking further north, south than in past

Powerful, destructive tropical cyclones are now reaching their peak intensity farther from the equator and closer to the poles, according to a new study co-authored by EAPS' Kerry Emanuel.

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First Annual William F. Brace Lecture

If you missed the inspiring presentation by NASA Curiosity Rover Chief Scientist John Grotzinger "Exploring Mars with the Curiosity Rover: The Search for Ancient Habitable Environments" here is a recording from this special EAPS event together with background about the new lecture series.

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MIT announces new initiative on environment

Multidisciplinary program, to be led by EAPS' Susan Solomon, will encourage collaborations among researchers in different fields.

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Three EAPS Faculty Awarded Tenure

EAPS congratulates professors Tanja Bosak, Paul O'Gorman, and Taylor Perron, each of whom has been awarded tenure.

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Uncovering the Ocean's Biological Pump

Recent MIT-WHOI Joint Program graduate Dan Ohnemus sat down with WHOI's Oceanus Magazine recently to talk about his research which seeks to reveal the hidden movements of particles and chemicals in the sea.

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Tim Grove elected to the National Academy of Sciences

EAPS congratulates Timothy Grove, Associate Department Head and Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Geology, who has just been elected to the American National Academy of Sciences.

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Rwandan President Visits EAPS

President Kagame and his delegation, together with Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research and EAPS Professor of Geophysics, and Philip Khoury, associate provost, toured the laboratory of Professor Ronald Prinn, who leads the Rwanda-MIT Climate Change Observatory Project.

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EAPS Department Head Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Seven MIT faculty members, including EAPS Department Head Rob van der Hilst, are among 204 leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities and the arts elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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Ocean microbes display remarkable genetic diversity

Mick Follows, working with CEE colleague Sallie Chisholm and co-authors, have discovered unexpectedly large genetic diversity among even small populations of marine microbes living in a few drops of water.

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Goodbye, USA; Sawubona, South Africa!

A reflection on this year's Terrascope trip, led by EAPS Sam Bowring in collaboration with Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University professor Maarten de Wit, where students were able to witness firsthand the complexity of water security in South Africa.

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Flight path: Into the volcanic plume

EAPS Principal Research Scientist Sai Ravela is using small unmanned aircraft systems to better understand environmental phenomena, such as dangerous volcanic plumes.

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An Arctic ozone hole? Not quite

EAPS' Professor Susan Solomon's research finds that the extremes in Antarctic ozone holes have not been matched in the Arctic.

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Study Tests Theory that Life Originated at Deep Sea Vents

EAPS postdoc Eoghan Reeves and MIT-WHOI Joint Program graduate student Jill McDermott among authors exploring possible origins of life on the ocean floor.

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Little-Studied Man-Made Gases have Big Warming Potential

A new study from AGAGE investigators Matt Rigby, Ron Prinn, Diane Ivy and others suggests, without additional limits on their use, synthetic green house gases introduced to replace ozone depleting chlorofluorocarbons could result in increased warming outweighing the climate benefits gained thus far from phasing down CFCs.

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Ancient whodunit may be solved: The microbes did it!

Fossil remains show that sometime around 252 million years ago, about 90 percent of all species on Earth were suddenly wiped out. But pinpointing the culprit has been difficult, and controversial. Now, a team of MIT researchers may have found enough evidence to convict the guilty parties — but you’ll need a microscope to see the killers

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Thank You for Going the Extra Mile for EAPS

School of Science recognises Michael Richard, EAPS administrative officer, with an Infinite Mile Award 

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Image credit: Vicki McKenna

Terrascope students take the stage in South Africa

Over spring break, MIT and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University students are studying regional and global water issues as part of Terrascope Mission 2017. On Tuesday, students from the two schools engaged in a debate on whether a sustainable solution to water security exists. Follow their trip.

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Of the River and Time

Britta Voss, an EAPS MIT-WHOI Joint Program chemical oceanographer, talks about the Fraser River in western Canada and how it's flowing with tiny time capsules. Inside them is a fascinating history of Earth’s landscape and climate.

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Small is Beautiful

Prof. Kerri Cahoy and her group recently delivered MicroMAS, the weather nanosatellite they built in collaboration with MIT Lincoln Laboratory, to the launch provider.

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How the ocean reins in global warming

Oceanographers in the Marshall Group show how a better understanding of ocean heat uptake can improve long-term climate predictions.

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Postcards from Pluto

Amanda Zangari Phd '13 is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) working with NASA’s New Horizons Mission scheduled to get to Pluto in July 2015. In a new blog she shares all the different tasks, from Pluto science, to testing software, to encounter planning, her job as a postdoc with the mission involves.

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Detours on the Oceanic Highway

Within the ocean, there’s a global highway system of currents. It transports heat across the planet, from the equator to the poles. If not for these currents, the equatorial ocean would be a scalding hot tub and the polar regions would freeze solid: MIT-WHOI Joint Program graduate student Isabela LeBras examines leaks from a great deep-sea current.

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A Great Place to Study Earth Science

MIT’s graduate program in earth sciences ranked No. 2. in this year's U.S. News rankings. 

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Measuring the Migration of a River

Researchers in Taylor Perron's group at MIT and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) have developed a mapping technique that measures how much a river network is changing, and in what direction it may be moving. Their results are published in this week’s issue of Science.

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3D Maps Reveal a Lead-Laced Ocean

About 1000 meters down in a remote part of the Atlantic Ocean sits an unusual legacy of humanity’s love affair with the automobile. It’s a huge mass of seawater infused with traces of the toxic metal lead, a pollutant once widely emitted by cars burning leaded gasoline.

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A Gold Medal in Oceanography

John Marshall, Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Oceanography, recently accepted the 2014 Sverdrup Gold Medal of the American Meteorological Society for his “fundamental insights into  water mass transformation and deep convection and their implications for global climate and its variability.”

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Water in the Climate System

Lorenz Center's first workshop, at Endicott House earlier this month, brings climate-science leaders together around the theme of water.

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Seeking a Break in a 252 Million-Year-Old Mass Killing

According to science writer Carl Zimmer in the New York Times, while Sam Bowring is officially a geologist at MIT, unofficially, he’s a homicide detective trying to solve the ultimate cold case.

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Study: Volcanoes contribute to recent warming ‘hiatus’

Climate scientist Susan Solomon and coauthors find models must account for volcanic eruptions to accurately predict climate change.

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A Brave New Ocean World II

Real phytoplankton adapt to new environments in complex physiological ways, but current computer models do not resolve the small-scale fluid dynamical environments that constrain phytoplankton biology. Darwin Project member David Talmy, a post doc in EAPS, will use a new high resolution global simulation to explore how submesoscale processes impact phytoplankton biology.

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A Brave New Ocean World I

Arguably 20 years in the making, the new floor to ceiling posters on the 15th foor of the Green Building are more than just a stunning picture: They are a detailed representation of ocean behavior from the output of the highest-ever resolution run of a global ocean model, EAPS own Massachusetts Institute of Technology General Circulation Model, MITgcm.

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The Dark and Stormy Side of Science-Policy Mixology

IAP course explored the science, economics, and policy of climate change.

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Hager 2013 Lehmann Medal: A Citation and a Response

Bradford Hager won the 2013 Lehmann Medal of the American Geophysical Union, receiving his award at the Fall 2013 AGU meeting in San Francisco this past December. Here: Jerry X. Metrovica's award citation and Professor Hager's response.

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Faculty Promotions

EAPS Congratulations: Benjamin Weiss to be promoted to Full Professor; Oliver Jagoutz to be promoted to Associate Professor.

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An Extinction in the Blink of an Eye

EAPS researchers Professor Sam Bowring and graduate student Seth Burgess find that the end-Permian extinction happened in 60,000 years — much faster than earlier estimates.

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From Pollutants to Smart Policy

Noelle Eckley Selin’s work to cut urban air pollution: Attracting attention of environmental policy makers across the world.

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Weathering the 2014 IAP

It’s been a bone-chilling two weeks here in Cambridge during MIT’s Independent Activities Period (IAP), and thanks to Course 12.310 ‘An Introduction to Weather Forecasting,’ twenty new amateur forecasters can tell you that the northwest winds behind last week’s stubborn Arctic cold front kept temperatures bitterly low and look for signs of warmer weather to come.

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Bridging the Gender Gap

Graduate student Neesha Schnepf was a panelist at the 2014 Northeastern Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) earlier this month.

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‘Rogue’ asteroids may be the norm

A new map of the solar system’s asteroids from researchers at MIT and the Paris Observatory shows more diversity than previously thought.

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Global black carbon emissions double previous estimates

MIT, Singapore researchers Jason Cohen (PhD '10) and Senior Research Scientist Chien Wang use a new method to find that black carbon emissions are much higher than majority of global air-pollution studies.

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Faculty Award

EAPS congratulations to Assistant Professor of Engineering Systems and Atmospheric Chemistry Noelle Selin for her appointment to the Global Young Academy.

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Reading Ocean Waves to Predict Ground Shaking in Earthquakes

Seismologist Germán Prieto and co-authors show a rupture of the San Andreas Fault could generate three times more shaking in Los Angeles than surrounding regions.

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EAPS in the Field: St. Lucia Edition

EAPS senior Kathryn Materna has been in St Lucia over IAP, part of a geophysics field project looking for underground rocks containing groundwater that could be used as a source of fresh water. Find out more in her blog.

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When Science, Politics and Environmental Policy Meet

What’s the difference between climate change, the Northern spotted owl, and acid rain? 

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Peter Molnar - Awarded The Crafoord Prize in Geosciences 2014

Congratulations to former EAPS Professor and Senior Research Scientist Peter Molnar.

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MITx Course injects Science into the Global Warming Debate

12.340x (Global Warming Science) focuses on teaching students academic rigor, not rhetoric. Learn about the new online course from co-teacher Kerry Emanuel.

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EAPS Goes to AGU 2013

Between talks and posters, researchers from MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences contributed to over one hundred presentations at the 2013 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting this past December.

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Earth's greatest killer finally caught, thanks to geology gumshoes

Geology is partly detective work, and scientists now have enough evidence to book a suspect in the biggest environmental catastrophe in Earth's history. Graduate students Seth Burgess and Ben Black talk to NBC News.

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Senior Researcher News

EAPS congratulations to Patrick Heimbach and Adam Schlosser, both recently promoted to the rank of Senior Research Scientist.

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Faculty Award

Professor Emeritus Fred Frey awarded GSA career achievement award

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Ahoy! First ocean vesicles spotted

EAPS' Florence Schubotz and Roger Summons, together with researchers in the Civil and Environmental Engineering and Biology Departments, discover extracellular vesicles produced by ocean microbes. 

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Predicting the future of global water stress

Senior Research Scientist Adam Schlosser and other JPSPGC researchers find that by 2050 more than half the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas and about a billion or more will not have sufficient water resources.

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Looking Back at a Year in Papers

All over the Earth, inside and out, and off into the Solar System and beyond. Fowards in time, backwards in time, stretching nano-seconds, shrinking millennia: Here is a selection of peer-reviewed papers authored or co-authored by EAPS faculty and investigators in 2013.

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Faculty Award

EAPS congratulations to Edward Boyle, Professor of Ocean Geochemistry and Director of the MIT-WHOI Joint Program, who has been awarded the 2014 Urey Medal of the European Association of Geochemistry.

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