Message from the Chair

Jim Brophy
Dr. James Brophy (left) with Dr. Jackson Njau at Olduvai, Tanzania.

Welcome to the website of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Indiana University, Bloomington. I hope that you will find these pages informative about who we are, what we do, and how we fulfill our mission in research and teaching.

The current research activities of students and faculty in our Department reflect an interdisciplinary tradition of enquiry. Our investigations strive to advance the fundamental understanding of geological phenomena utilizing combinations of analytical, experimental, computational, and observational tools to build knowledge of geologic materials and processes, elucidate the evolutionary progression of life, interpret records of Earth’s history and climate, characterize its natural resources, and assess the environmental impact of human activities. The focus of these efforts spans the enormity of geological time from the Archaean to the Holocene, explores spatial scales that vary from atomic to global, and addresses geographical realms that range from the tropics to both polar regions, from continents to oceans, from Earth's surface to deep beneath it, and extends to the Moon and to Mars.

Our Department offers B.S. and B.A. baccalaureate degree programs, an honors undergraduate program, M.S. and Ph.D. graduate degrees centered on research dissertations, and partners with other programs in the B.S. degree in Environmental Sciences. The breadth of our undergraduate and graduate teaching both fosters geoscience education and provides exceptional learning opportunities, encompassing foundation courses in core aspects of geological sciences that are complemented by specialized training in evolving subdisciplines. Many of our courses include fieldwork, most notably those that are taught at the Judson Mead IU Geologic Field Station, which serves as our permanent field campus in Montana.

We support our majors and graduate students through scholarships, fellowships, research grants, travel awards, and other sponsored activities that enhance student experiences in geology, especially field trips. These expenditures are sustained by our endowment funds, which represent an invaluable legacy that derives from the generosity of our alumni. The diverse mix of our graduate student populations is enriched by international students, and benefits from active recruitment of our graduates to positions in the energy and minerals industry, in environmental services, at government agencies and research institutions, and in all levels of academia, both public and private.

Our Department is currently housed in the Geology Building, but the major expansion of research science laboratories on the IU Bloomington campus includes an adjacent building (Multidisciplinary Science Building II) that houses analytical laboratories for biogeochemistry, aqueous geochemistry, and environmental sciences, and accommodates future enhancements of our instrumental facilities.

I hope that your visit to our website is fruitful, informative, and stimulating. Please contact us with any questions about the Department and we will gladly try to answer them.

James Brophy

Professor and Chair of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences