Planetary Science and Cosmochemistry

Rebecca  A. Fischer

Rebecca A. Fischer

Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Accretion, core formation, and composition of the deep interiors of Earth and other terrestrial planets. She combines high-pressure, high-temperature mineral physics experiments with planetary-scale modeling.

Fischer received a B.A. in Earth and Planetary Sciences and Integrated Science from Northwestern University in 2009, and a Ph.D. in Geophysical Sciences from the University of Chicago in 2015.

Research Group Coordinator: Summer Smith

Office location: Geological Museum 204C
Mailing address: 20 Oxford St., Cambridge, MA 02138
p: 617-384-6992
Jerry X. Mitrovica

Jerry X. Mitrovica

Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science

Jerry X. Mitrovica joined Harvard in 2009 as a Professor of Geophysics.His work focuses on the Earth's response to external and internal forcings that have time scales ranging from seconds to billions of years. He has written extensively on topics ranging from the connection of mantle convective flow to the geological record, the rotational stability of the Earth and other terrestrial planets, ice age geodynamics, and the geodetic and geophysical signatures of ice sheet melting in our progressively warming world. Sea-level change has served as the major theme of these studies, with particular emphasis on critical events in ice age climate and on the sea-level fingerprints of modern polar ice sheet collapse.

Mitrovica is the Frank B. Baird, Jr., Professor of Science at Harvard University. He is a former Director of the Earth Systems Evolution Program of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and J. Tuzo Wilson Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Toronto, where he also received his Ph.D. degree. He is the recipient of the Arthur L. Day Medal from the Geological Society of America, the W.S Jardetsky Medal from Columbia University, the A.E.H. Love Medal from the European Geosciences Union and the Rutherford Memorial Medal from the Royal Society of Canada. He is also a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Geological Society of America, as well as a past Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Research Group Coordinator: Marisa Reilly

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Office location: Geological Museum 203B
Mailing address: EPS, 20 Oxford St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
p: 617-496-2732, f: 617-495-8839
Andrew H. Knoll

Andrew H. Knoll

Fisher Professor of Natural History and Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Andy Knoll is the Fisher Professor of Natural History at Harvard University. He received his B.A. in Geology from Lehigh University in 1973 and his Ph.D., also in Geology, from Harvard in 1977.... Read more about Andrew H. Knoll

Harvard University Botanical Museum
26 Oxford St.
Cambridge MA 02138

Office location: Botanical Museum Room 50
p: 617-495-9306, f: 617-495-5667
Photo of Jeremy Bloxham

Jeremy Bloxham

Mallinckrodt Professor of Geophysics

Planetary magnetic fields, dynamo theory, structure and dynamics of the earth's core and lower mantle, inverse theory, mathematical geophysics.

Research Group Coordinator: Elizabeth Busky
20 Oxford St.
Cambridge, MA 02138

Office Location:Geomuseum 201
p: 617-495-9517 f: 617-496-1240
Daniel W,E. Green

Daniel W. E. Green

Daniel Green is Director of the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams and he is involved in research of small bodies of the solar system — particularly comets and meteors, but also minor planets.  He collects and archives/publishes data on comets from observers around the world, and these data are published in the International Comet Quarterly (the world’s largest journal devoted solely to comets, which he edits) and posted at the Cometary Science Archive on its computers at EPS.  He also directs the acquisition of CCD images of comets on a nightly basis using telescopes in Tibet, and those images are analyzed, measured, and archived; searching for new comets and near-earth asteroids.  He is a member of the International Astronomical Union’s 13-member Committee on Small Body Nomenclature, which approves names for comets and minor planets (including trans-Neptunian objects) and their satellites.  He is a member of Harvard’s Origins program, with an interest in how observational data of comets can help in the study of their origins and in the origins of the solar system.  Green obtained his Ph.D. in physics and astronomy from the University of Durham (U.K.), his thesis focusing on analysis of old astronomical data in the historical literature using modern techniques, to extend our archive of useful data by centuries.

Michael Volk

Post-doctoral Fellow
Fu Group

Originally from Germany, I finished my doctorate at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich in 2016. I am interested in how magnetic fields evolve with time, especially in the early solar system during planet formation. So far, my research is focused on the fundamentals of remanence acquisition and can be broadly divided into three main themes. (1) the magnetic properties of materials associated with meteorites, (2) the effect of high pressure on magnetic properties of minerals and (3) the rock magnetism of ultra-fine particles. By understanding these fundamental recording processes, we will be able to have a more robust interpretation of the magnetic signals that are retained in meteorites. At Harvard, I will be able to combine my interests and work on the fascinating and complicated paleomagnetic record of Mars.

Hoffman 106
2018 Aug 30

Special Seminar with Marzia Parisi: The gravity fields of gas giants and their icy moons from Juno and Cassini

12:00pm to 2:15pm


McKinstry Room, Geological Museum 204

This talk provides an overview of the scientific discoveries that can be made through gravity experiments onboard interplanetary missions. One application of radio science to the field of planetary geodesy is the determination of the gravitational potential of planets and satellites, by means of precise Doppler tracking of an orbiter. Gravity science investigations can be used to study the complex interiors of gas giants, for a better understanding of the origin and formation of our Solar System. The Juno spacecraft entered a 53-day orbit around Jupiter on July 5, 2016. Doppler...

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Dr. Ursula B. Marvin 1921 - 2018

February 20, 2018

We are sad to note the recent passing of our colleague, Ursula B. Marvin.  Dr. Marvin recieved her PhD in geology from Harvard in 1969 and worked in our department for many years researching the mineralogy of meteorites and lunar samples.

Notably, decades before receiving her PhD, she was the first female research assistant in Harvard's Geology Department.  Quoting from a Smithsonian web page: "Geology lit a fire. I fell in love with it the first week." Considered an unacceptable profession for women, when Dr. Marvin approached her (Tufts) geology professor...

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