A Message from the Chair

Jim Wright

Welcome to the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Rutgers University.  We do love our rocks beyond their spectacular beauty because they are the books that tell us about the last 4.5 billion years of Earth’s history.  Earth and Planetary scientists combine physics, chemistry, and biology to understand how our planet works, its place in our solar system, why Earth has remained habitable for 4 billion years, and the evolutionary changes that produced dinosaurs and ultimately our species. 

Our faculty study a broad range of topics spanning the Earth, moons, and planets and their physical, chemical, and biotic evolution through time.  We study climate change and are key contributors to the IPCC reports.  We have experts on geo-hazards and are consulted when earthquakes occur, and volcanoes erupt.  We are looking at the origins of life and what spurred human evolution and the migration out of Africa.  We have faculty studying Mars, teasing out the secrets of the earliest moments of our solar system held in meteorites, and working at NASA on lunar samples collected during the Apollo missions.  Our faculty are studying the origins of the solar system and the building blocks of planets, moons, and ultimately life itself. 

If you are a high school or undergraduate student, our majors end up in many different fields.  Graduates with BS degrees in Earth Sciences are highly sought after by environmental and hydrological firms with good starting salaries.  Students in our graduate program have many options including faculty and research positions, employment in energy fields, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and working with the geo-environmental firms.  

Every day you interact with our planet in many ways.  Earth scientists play a critical role in addressing our energy needs, not only through conventional resources, but also by providing alternate energy solutions. Understanding the risks of hurricanes along our shore and geo-hazards of earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis and globally require geological investigations.  Decisions affecting our future depend critically on understanding our past and how our planet responds to change. 

We offer many courses that cover a range of subjects that might interest you.  Our colloquium series now has some evening lectures that can be accessed online and are appropriate the non-specialist.  Please check out the “Current Colloquium” series in our website.

I encourage to explore our department by continuing to browse our website.  

Best regards,

Jim Wright
EPS, Chair