California Institute of Technology

In the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences (GPS), faculty and students study the earth and other planets in order to understand their origin, composition, and development. Their approach to these problems relies heavily on fundamental science and on interdisciplinary collaborations with colleagues from across Caltech, as well as at the U.S. Geological Survey and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

GPS’s seamless integration of both earth and planetary sciences within one division gives it a unique perspective on our world and our universe, providing its researchers with the opportunity to apply lessons learned from the earth’s geological past to the study of other planets throughout the solar system, and vice versa.

Ever since the division’s beginnings in 1926, its researchers and faculty have worked at the forefront of their fields, shaping how we view and interact with our world as well as with other worlds. Their work has led to a greater understanding of subjects ranging from earthquake mechanics and analysis to geological dating and history, climate science, atmospheric physics, and the origin of planetary surfaces and atmospheres, among other areas.

Currently, GPS offers programs of study and research in environmental science and engineering, geobiology, geochemistry, geology, geophysics, and planetary science. GPS’s academic environment supports close collaboration between faculty and students, allows for interdisciplinary studies within and between different divisions, and provides a curriculum that gives graduate students the flexibility and opportunity to join GPS with degrees in biology, chemistry, engineering, and physics.