Discover EAPS: Yellowstone National Park
Aug 19 – Aug 26 all-day

DEAPS Yellowstone is an eight-day immersion in the geologic wonders of Yellowstone and its surroundings. Through a rigorous itinerary of daily visits, hikes, and drive-bys throughout the Yellowstone/ Grand Teton NPs, you can look forward to an expert grounding in basic earth science from the nature and causes of volcanic eruptions to the origin and diversity of microbial life in hot springs, to what we can tell about past climates from the fossil record: A window on the uniquely broad and interdisciplinary science that exemplifies so much research in EAPS.

You may not have studied Earth science since grade-school, but this trip will introduce you to the fundamentals of geology, including the lexicon of different rock types and geologic eras, the concepts of absolute time and the complete rock record; plate tectonics; how to read topographic and geologic maps; and processes large and small, fast and slow, inherent to hotspots, of which the Yellowstone caldera, with its diverse collection of more than 10,000 thermal features, including hot springs, bubbling mudpots, and steaming fumaroles, provides such a superb example.

What Will I Do?
» You will study the volcanic history of the Yellowstone area
» Camp in Yellowstone National Park
» Hear informal lectures by faculty and staff
» See geysers and hot springs
» Learn about life in extreme environments
» Study the detailed chemistry and biology of hot springs
» See evidence of earthquakes and volcanoes
» See a fossil forest that is approximately 50 million years old

But, perhaps more than all of this, DEAPS Yellowstone will provide you with an incredible kick-off experience as you start your undergraduate career at the Institute.

DATES: Saturday, August 19th through Saturday, August 26th. All students must arrive on Friday, August 18th and will depart for Montana as a group early in the morning on the 19th. No exceptions will be made.
PLACE: Montana, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park
SUPPLIES: All students are asked to bring a daypack, tent and/or sleeping bag and pad. Gear will be provided for those who do not have it. On most days there will be hikes of moderate difficulty at elevations considerably above sea level.
COST: Each participant will be required to contribute $500.00 towards the cost of the trip. The Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences will cover all other costs. A limited number of scholarships are available – find out more by contacting Vicki McKenna, Education Director

Discover EAPS: Extreme Weather and Climate
Aug 23 – Aug 27 all-day

DEAPS Extreme Weather is a five-day exploration of the science of the Earth at MIT and at Mt Washington in New Hampshire, covering examples of extreme weather, hurricanes and blizzards, and current topics of climate research. What have we learned from the past climate, what do we know of the present, and what can we say about the future?

Lectures by experts in the field are accompanied by rotating fluid laboratory experiments, intended to illustrate the behavior of fluids on the rotating earth. Students have the opportunity to work in small groups and get their hands wet, discussing their results with faculty, graduate students and peers.

What Will I Do?
» You will study extreme weather examples, such as hurricanes and blizzards
» Perform rotating fluid experiments to illustrate how fluids behave on the rotating earth
» Learn about current issues of climate research in informal lectures by faculty and staff
» Explore MIT campus and nearby Cambridge
» Explore the habitat at Mt Washington with meteorology, geology and flora activities
» Visit the Mt Washington Observatory, where extreme weather is the norm
» Observe the stars at Wallace Observatory and at Mt Washington

The last two days of the program are spent on a trip to the Mt Washington Observatory in New Hampshire. The 6288 ft mountain peak is known as the place where “extreme weather” is the norm. Here students are exposed to the challenges of observational meteorology together with a direct experience of the mountain environment.

DATES: Wednesday, August 23rd through Sunday, August 27th.
PLACE: EAPS – MIT Campus, Green Building (Building 54) plus 2 days in New Hampshire with an overnight stay.
SUPPLIES: All students should bring good walking shoes, a waterproof jacket, a backpack, and a water bottle. Hiking at the top of Mt Washington is optional.
COST: The Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences will cover all costs.

Fall Field Trip: Newfoundland
Aug 28 – Sep 4 all-day

We are pleased to announce an EAPS field trip to Newfoundland. The trip is open to all EAPS undergraduates and graduate students. Flights, lodging, and food will be included. The trip will run from August 28th – September 4th. During the trip we will be staying at hotels and motels as opposed to camping.

The trip will focus on the geology of Newfoundland and will cross three ancient continents with stops along the way including world-famous Ediacaran fossils, ophiolites and suture zones, Snowball Earth deposits, Quaternary glacial valleys and fjords.

Prior to the field trip each participant will be responsible for preparing materials on a particular topic and will present during the trip. There will be a 3 credit course everyone will enroll in for the Fall 2017 semester.

All undergraduates are particularly encouraged to join the trip and will have first priority on available spaces.

Faculty Instructors: Kristin Bergmann, Taylor Perron, Greg Fournier
Graduate Student Organizing Committee: Marjorie Cantine, Maya Stokes and Sam Goldberg


Fall Term Registration Day
Sep 5 all-day
Orientation for new EAPS graduate students
Sep 5 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm

11am-Noon in 54-915: **Mandatory** Orientation for new EAPS graduate students (the nuts and bolts for beginning your graduate program). This is an introduction to your cohort of new students, continuing students, faculty, and administration.
Noon-1pm in 54-923: Lunch with faculty
1pm-2pm in 54-915: **Mandatory** Orientation for new MIT-WHOI Joint Program graduate students.
1pm-3pm: EAPS lab tours are given by current students. This is an opportunity to find out about research in a variety of fields within the department and to talk directly with students about their work. (note: if joint-program students are interested in lab tours, they will join at 2pm)

Fall Term Classes Begin
Sep 6 all-day
Reporting for the Pellestrina Research Camp & Internship @ 54-915
Sep 8 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

During the faculty-led Pellestrina Research Camp: Reinventing Places, a group of MIT and Università Iuav di Venezia students worked on solutions to the various issues Venice faces due to rising sea levels. The students split into three groups led by Professor Andrew Whittle (MIT CEE), Professor Laura Fregolent (IUAV Urban Planning), and Professor Paola Rizolli (MIT EAPS).

Join us for presentations of results from the Pellestrina Research Camp: Reinventing Places:

1) Poster presentations from the two week intensive Summer School

2) Presentations of Summer Activities

Followed by lunch to celebrate a successful summer in Venice. MORE INFO

PAOC Colloquium: David McGee (MIT) @ Ida Green Lounge
Sep 11 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
EAPS Postdoc Appreciation Dinner @ 54-915
Sep 12 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

The department would like to hold a dinner for our postdocs to get together with our Head of Department, Rob van der Hilst & Associate Department Head, Tim Grove.

Whitehead Connects: Kathleen “Kate” Rubins
Sep 12 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

David C. Page, MD, Director
Whitehead Institute

Maria T. Zuber, PhD, Vice President for Research and E. A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Kathleen “Kate” Rubins, PhD, NASA Astronaut

For more information, contact Meg Breithaupt at or 617-258-5489.

Speaker Bios

Kathleen “Kate” Rubins, NASA Astronaut
Dr. Kathleen “Kate” Rubins conducted her undergraduate research on HIV-1 integration in the Infectious Diseases Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. She analyzed the mechanism of HIV integration, including several studies of HIV-1 Integrase inhibitors and genome-wide analyses of HIV integration patterns into host genomic DNA. She obtained her Ph.D. from Stanford University and, with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rubins and colleagues developed the first model of smallpox infection. She also developed a complete map of the poxvirus transcriptome and studied virus-host interactions using both invitro and animal model systems.

Dr. Rubins then accepted a Fellow/Principal Investigator position at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research (MIT/Cambridge, Massachusetts) and headed a lab of 14 researchers studying viral diseases that primarily affect Central and West Africa. She traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo to conduct research and supervise study sites. Work in the Rubins Lab focused on poxviruses and host-pathogen interaction as well as viral mechanisms for regulating host cell mRNA transcription, translation and decay. In addition, she conducted research on transcriptome and genome sequencing of filoviruses (Ebola and Marburg) and Arenaviruses (Lassa Fever) and collaborative projects with the U.S. Army to develop therapies for Ebola and Lassa viruses. Dr. Rubins has published and presented her work in numerous papers at international scientific conferences and in scientific journals.

Rubins was selected in July 2009 as 1 of 14 members of the 20th NASA astronaut class. Her training included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in International Space Station systems, spacewalks, robotics, physiological training, T 38 flight training and water and wilderness survival training.

Expeditions 48 and 49 (July 2016 through October 2016.)On July 7th, 2016, Dr. Rubins launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station aboard the first test flight of the new Soyuz MS spacecraft. Together the international crew of Expeditions 48 and 49 conducted or participated in more than 275 different scientific experiments including research in molecular and cellular biology, human physiology, fluid and combustion physics, Earth and space science and technology development. Dr. Rubins was the first person to sequence DNA in space, eventually sequencing over 2 billion base pairs of DNA during a series of experiments to analyze sequencing in microgravity. Dr. Rubins also grew heart cells (cardiomyocytes) in cell culture, and performed quantitative, real-time PCR and microbiome experiments in orbit.

Dr. Rubins conducted two spacewalks totaling 12 hours, 46 minutes. During her first spacewalk, Rubins and Jeff Williams installed the first International Docking Adapter, a new docking port for U.S. commercial crew spacecraft. During the second, they performed maintenance of the station external thermal control system and installed high-definition cameras, enabling never-before seen images of the planet and space station. Jeff Williams and Rubins successfully captured SpaceX Dragon commercial resupply spacecraft and then returned science experiment samples to earth. During Expedition 49, Rubins and crewmate Takuya Onishi grappled Orbital ATK’s Cygnus resupply spacecraft, providing several tons of supplies and research experiments for future work on the orbital outpost.

Rubins has logged 115 days in space and 12 hours and 46 minutes of spacewalk time.


Maria T. Zuber, Vice President for Research and E. A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics, MIT
Maria T. Zuber is the E. A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics and Vice President for Research at MIT, where she is responsible for research administration and policy. She oversees MIT Lincoln Laboratory and more than a dozen interdisciplinary research laboratories and centers, including the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, MIT Energy Initiative, MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative, Plasma Science and Fusion Center, Research Laboratory of Electronics, Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, and Haystack Observatory. Vice President Zuber is also responsible for intellectual property and research integrity and compliance, as well as research relationships with the federal government.

Professor Zuber’s research bridges planetary geophysics and the technology of space-based laser and radio systems. Since 1990, she has held leadership roles associated with scientific experiments or instrumentation on nine NASA missions, most notably serving as Principal Investigator of the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory or GRAIL mission. Additional information about her research is available at

Vice President Zuber has won numerous awards including the MIT James R. Killian Jr. Faculty Achievement Award, the highest honor the MIT faculty bestows to one of its own. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and American Philosophical Society, and is a fellow for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Geological Society and the American Geophysical Union.

Vice President Zuber is the first woman to lead a science department at MIT and the first to lead a NASA planetary mission. In 2004 she served on the Presidential Commission on the Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy. In 2002 Discover magazine named her one of the 50 most important women in science and, in 2008, she was named to the USNews/Harvard Kennedy School List of America’s Best Leaders. In 2013 President Obama appointed her to the National Science Board, and in 2016 she was elected Board Chair.