Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 2 hours / session

Course Description

This term's theme is geoengineering – the deliberate large-scale manipulation of the environment to counter the effects of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Topics include: geology, geochemistry and the politics of nuclear waste disposal; responsible environmental practices for planetary exploration; responsible coastal land-use policy; international regulations for protecting the open-ocean environment; the ecological impact of environmental change; and effective policy for dealing with natural hazards near major cities.

Student Assignments

Students are required to read and discuss scientific literature, assemble and analyze relevant data, formulate and criticize quantitative theories, and provide weekly oral reports on their progress. They are also required to provide weekly written summaries of approximately one page, accompanied by a list of references. At the end of the term, each student has to present a synthesis of their work to the group, both orally and in a written report of approximately 10-15 pages.


Environmental Earth Science Field Course (12.120), and Strange Bedfellows: Science and Environmental Policy (12.103), or permission of instructor


Class participation 33%
Weekly reports 33%
Final report 34%