A New Era of Climate Research and Environmental Innovation

Building the Future of Earth and Environmental Sciences at MIT

Earth. Planets. Climate. Life.

At MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS), in the School of Science, we are driven to answer profound questions about the natural world and our place in the universe, as well as to address some of the greatest environmental challenges of our time. What causes climate change and how can we predict and mitigate its impacts? How do we quantify natural hazard and risk—can we predict earthquakes? How did life evolve on Earth and can we detect life on distant planets? How fast is the environment changing—are we facing another mass extinction?

We draw on fundamental research to guide policy and train the next wave of thought leaders who will help safeguard our future. EAPS shares the goal of attaining a more sustainable world with the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography and MIT’s Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI)—which brings together faculty and students from across the Institute to learn and to develop innovative solutions to today’s pressing environmental problems. To achieve our joint mission, we need modern, shared facilities and dynamic spaces to attract and unite the world’s best scholars and students.



Postdoctoral researcher Cheryl Zurbrick uses a mass spectrometer in the Boyle Lab to measure lead isotopes in seawater from the South Pacific.

New Space for Earth and the Environment

As MIT works toward a better world, the renovation and expansion of the iconic Cecil and Ida Green Building (Building 54) represents a unique opportunity to establish a central beacon for climate research and environmental innovation on campus. Home to EAPS for more than 50 years, the towering Green Building will be transformed to create a new hub for MIT’s Earth and environment programs, bringing together EAPS, ESI, and the MIT-WHOI Joint Program to inspire powerful action. The creation of the Earth and Environment Pavilion, along with new EAPS climate science labs in Building 4, will:

• advance MIT’s mission to understand complex Earth and environmental systems and inform policy about climate change, pollution, and energy resources;
• accelerate campus-wide efforts to address today’s environmental challenges and the risks they pose to sustainable human life on Earth;
• enhance campus and student life with LEED-certified labs, classrooms, and meeting spaces to support the nexus of environmental innovation and learning; and
• keep MIT at the vanguard of Earth systems and climate science research.

MIT’s Commitment to the Planet

MIT is mobilizing its efforts to understand and address challenges around issues of climate, environment, and sustainability. The decision to establish a major hub for Earth and environmental sciences and world-class laboratory space to support cutting-edge climate research in EAPS reflects MIT’s commitment to improve the health of the planet and create a better world for its inhabitants.

“The new facilities for EAPS will accelerate our search for knowledge about climate and the natural world,” says Robert van der Hilst, the Schlumberger Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences and head of EAPS. “And our partnership with WHOI and the Environmental Solutions Initiative will create exciting new synergies, catalyzing efforts to both advance scientific knowledge and to bring MIT’s extraordinary talent together to address today’s urgent environmental challenges.”

An Investment in the Future

We call on MIT’s friends and supporters to join us in advancing the Institute’s global leadership in research into the Earth, planets, climate and life. Together, we can ensure that MIT continues to play a critical role in exploring the Earth, its evolving climate and life, and the planets in and beyond our solar system. With your help, MIT can accelerate its search for collaborative solutions to some of the planet’s most urgent environmental problems and help ensure a sustainable future for human life on Earth.

For more information about the Earth and Environment Pavilion,
or to make a contribution, please contact: 
Angela Ellis, EAPS Senior Development Officer 
617 253 5796 | aellis@mit.edu