EAPS Seminars and Special Offerings

Interested in cross registration and need more information? Visit our Cross-Registration page for a summary of useful links.

PLEASE NOTE:  Subjects listed on this page are being taught under a Special Problems number, used for one time only classes. The title and description that you will see on the Registrar's and pre-registration sites will NOT match what you see here. They will list the general info that applies to all terms and years. Register for the right number, and you will be in the class you want.

SPRING 2018 | IAP 2018 | FALL 2017 | SPRING 2017


12.S489  Seminar on Dynamics of Melt Migration
Units: 3

Melting and melt extraction from Earth’s interior influence much of the chemical exchange between the mantle, crust and the atmosphere and contribute to the differentiation of our planet. Melting of rocks commences at the grain scale whenever the rocks cross their solidus. Understanding of the mechanical and transport properties of the resulting mixture solid grains and liquid melt is an outstanding challenge in Earth Sciences.
In this seminar, we will review current research on the dynamics of partially molten regions in the crust and mantle from several perspectives. We will discuss seminal papers tackling the deformation behavior of solid-liquid composites, current geophysical observations of partially molten regions, the chemical signature of melt-rock interactions and geological evidence of melt migration. This is a graduate level seminar for students with background in rock physics, structural geology, seismology and petrology. Instructor: M. Pec

IAP 2018

12.S591   Image Analysis in the Geosciences
Units: 12
Schedule:  Week 3, 9:00am - 5:00pm

The aim of the workshop is to familiarize participants with a number of image processing and analysis methods which will allow them to derive quantitative measurements from images. We will focus on the analysis of rock microstructures from sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks. We will cover the topics of image segmentation, area and volume estimation, size and shape analysis and much more. The workshop consist of morning lectures and afternoon hands-on practice. The participants are encouraged to bring their own images of samples they would like to analyze. Participants taking the course for credit will be required to finish a short project. Instructor: M. Pec

12.091/ 12.S593   Origin of Life Seminar Series
Units:  3
Schedule:  1/8/2018 - 2/2/2018 TBA

A series of hosted lectures from leaders in the Origin of Life community, focusing on various dimensions of one of the most challenging problems in the biological and planetary sciences.  Topics will include the origin of cells, metabolism, replication and proteins, as well as the geochemical conditions on the Early Earth that led to prebiotic and early biotic systems.  Enrolled students will attend 4-5 seminars during IAP, actively engage in Q & A sessions with invited speakers in a panel format, and collaborate on creating an Origins of Life online blog resource highlighting the work of invited speakers. Instructor: G. Fournier

Fall 2017

12.S490   Microbes and minerals
Units: 3-0-6
Schedule: MW 9:30-11, E25-605
Microbe-mineral interactions occur at the scale of microbial cells and can leave a macroscopic record in sediments. This graduate-level bi-weekly seminar class examines classic and recent studies of microbe-mineral interactions and trains students to critically read the literature and examine arguments in Earth sciences. Students examine analytical tools, experimental approaches and field observations used to connect microbial processes at the molecular level to fossil preservation and the formation of the sedimentary record. The class is also open to undergraduates interested in Geobiology who have taken 12.007 and Biology GIR or Chemistry GIR. Instructor: Bosak

12.090/12.S492   The Phylogenomic Planetary Record
Undergraduate and Graduate numbers
Units: 3-0-9
Schedule: TR 2:00-3:30PM (14-0637)
There are only two records of events in Earth's deep past, that preserved within rocks, and that preserved within genomes.  This course introduces the tools of sequence-based phylogenetic analysis and molecular evolution in the context of studying this genomic record.  Topics will 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 will be given to the evolutionary history of microbial metabolisms, and their relationship to global biogeochemical cycles across Earth's history.  Coursework will include lectures, paper discussions, and hands-on computer lab training in bioinformatics and molecular evolution data analysis. Instructor: Fournier

12.S493   The Forensics of Food
Units: 6
Schedule: T 4-6pm, E25-602
This will be a weekly reading group/seminar.
Instructor: Summons

12.093/12.S491   Newfoundland Geology
Undergraduate and Graduate numbers
Units: 2
Schedule: TBA
For those studnents wishing to obtain credit for participation in the Newfoundland field trip.
Instructor: Bergmann

12.S592 Machine Learning for Natural Systems
Units: 9
Schedule: F 9-11, 54-1623
Follow on subject to the Spring class on Machine Learning that enables one to design Learning-based approaches for geophysical applications. Topics from the following areas are studied, based on class interest: Non-Parametric Bayesian Inference, Graphical Models, Trees and Forests, Kernel Machines, Ensemble Learning, Manifold Learning, Transfer Learning, and Recurrent and Deep Learning. See subject website for more information.
Instructor: Ravela

Spring 2017

12.092/12.S492   Astrobiology: Origins and Early Evolution of Life

Undergraduate and Graduate numbers
Units: 3-0-9
Schedule: MWF 1-2, 54-819
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.
Will be a permanent subject with the numbers 12.177/12.477 starting in the 2018 academic year. Instructor: Fournier

12.S590 Geoinformatics for Natural Hazards Monitoring
Units: 3-0-9
Schedule: TR 2-3:30, 54-824
Algorithmic principles and machine learning for natural hazard detection and monitoring. Data processing, feature detection, computer-aided discovery in time series and images acquired from sensor networks, satellites, UAVs. Fundamentals of interferometric processing. Principles of geoscience sensor networks and fault-tolerance. Data fusion, provenance tracking, metadata models and inference tools & techniques. Lectures will be accompanied by individual and small-group projects in Python with hands-on access to data repositories at NASA, NOAA, USGS, UNAVCO, and other sources. Instructors: Herring and Pankratius

12.S592 Machine Learning Foundations with Geophysical Application-I 
Units: 12
Schedule: MWF 9:30-10:30, 54-1827
The first course of an advanced two-semester sequence in Machine Learning that enables one to design Learning-based approaches for geophysical applications. Topics from the following areas are studied, based on class interest: Non-Parametric Bayesian Inference, Graphical Models, Trees and Forests, Kernel Machines, Ensemble Learning, Manifold Learning, Transfer Learning, and Recurrent and Deep Learning. See subject website for more information. Instructor: Ravela

12.098/12.S990   Planetary Atmospheres 
Undergraduate and Graduate numbers
Units: 3-0-9
Schedule: T,R 9:30-11, 54-1623
Provides a basic understanding of the physics and chemistry of planetary atmospheres. Atmospheres have now been observed both within our solar system and inferred for exoplanets. Atmospheres with different properties exist around the rocky planets and gas giants as well as Saturn’s moon Titan and the dwarf planet Pluto. Explores the formation and evolution of atmospheres, their structure and dynamics, and what is known about their chemical composition. Particular attention is paid to their energy balance. The current state of understanding of exoplanet atmospheres is also presented.
Will be a permanent subject with the numbers 12.422/12.622 starting in the 2018 academic year. Instructor: Cziczo

12.S992   Submesoscale Ocean Processes 
Units: 9
Schedule: R 10:30-12:30
Discussions of seminal papers that illustrate the fundamental dynamics of submesoscale turbulence in the atmosphere and ocean. In the atmosphere the submesoscale turbulence is characterized by the warm and cold fronts that develop at the edges of high and low pressure systems and are often associated with the most dramatic weather. Similarly, ocean submesoscale turbulence is characterized by density fronts at the sea surface at the edges of ocean eddies. The last third of the class will focus on papers that explore the impact of submesoscale turbulence on ocean biology, a very active area of research. The students will present the papers and work on a project of their choice that they will present toward the end of the class. Students may register using the Gradate P-D-F option. Instructor: Ferrari and Mahadevan