Geophysics and Planetary Sciences



Earth is the best known of all planetary bodies and it serves as a reference for exploring the rest of the Solar System. Geophysics, Space Physics and Planetary Geology share much of the same “remote” way or gathering data and analyzing information on their respective targets. Geophysics uses and applies the basic principles of physics to the study of the Earth. Geophysical investigations provides clues to the distribution of physical properties at distance – for example surface measurements provide a better understanding of how the Earth’s interior varies laterally or vertically or over the geological past. Geophysical techniques can be applied to a wide variety of fields such as ocean exploration, detection of resources in the subsurface, and monitoring of environmental changes.

Based on the deeper knowledge on Earth and the rapidlly growing one of other bodies, Comparative Planetology studies processes acting on different Solar System bodies (and potentially beyond), observing the evolution of those objects and the processes acting on them through time. Planetary Science is a inter- and transdisciplinary field by definition, as it involves a very close interconnection of disciplines such as: Geology, Chemistry, Biology, Engineering, Physics and Astronomy. The basic physical background, approach, the techniques and methods used by both planetary science and geophysics are essentially the same – remote sensing (either optical, acoustic or electromagnetic), that might be associated with field activities or to other types of “ground-truth” such as in-situ experiments of different kind.

Geophysics and Planetary Sciences is one of the specialization areas of the study program Earth and Space Sciences (ESS) at Jacobs University. The ESS staff involved in this specialzation area include: Prof. Vikram Unnithan, Prof. Joachim Vogt, Dr. Angelo Pio Rossi. Active external collaborations include researchers from Italy, Canada, US, Spain, Germany, Argentina, South Africa, Romania. Within Jacobs University, strong cooperation ties exist with colleagues from Computer Science and Physics in the areas of data and image processing, analysis, interpretation, and modeling. Earth and Space Sciences students specializing in Geophysics and Planetary Sciences will gain experience in areas such as remote sensing, geophysical exploration data acquisition, processing and modeling, planetary surface processes, Geographic Information Systems.