IA Earth Sciences

Eruption at Mt Etna ©SJ CollinsThe Earth we live on is changing right under our eyes and does so very rapidly. Much of this is induced by the activities of human beings, but major change, global change, is not new to our planet, having marked its entire history. At the same time, the study of the earth is also changing, through the geological revolution that brought us plate tectonics and confirmed the drift of continents, and through the present revolution that is turning the Earth Sciences into a fully interdisciplinary field with ample room for geologists, biologists, physicists, climatologists, chemists, mathematicians and many others.

Understanding the Earth is important, not only for those who hope to practise it as a profession or those who know that essentials such as oil, gas, minerals come this way, but for all who wish to be educated in the natural sciences and understand that this is a vast and essentially indivisible subject.

Therefore the course is designed to introduce to the science of the Earth a broad range of students, most of whom are untutored in geology and many who do not intend to become geologists. It is a general introduction to the Earth, an overview of what we know and think we do understand. Some of the material can be appreciated by anyone entering the Natural Science Tripos at Cambridge, other parts require some special preparation. In the series, the four first lectures are, in a sense, a catalogue, a synopsis of the subject matter that the course as a whole will subsequently deal with. These lectures will help understand why a basic working knowledge of minerals, rocks and geological maps is needed, and will show what the rewards are that follow.


Part IA Earth Sciences is taught within the Natural Sciences Tripos. We assume that students have a good background in science, but do not assume any specific prior knowledge of either geology, or geography

Course components

Last updated on 04-Feb-11 14:28