New Atmospheric Chemistry Minor at MIT (starting Fall 2013)

Find more information here

1.080 Environmental Chemistry
Prereq: Chemistry GIR
U (Spring)

Covers basic environmental chemistry with a focus on understanding the principles governing the function of both natural systems and systems perturbed or engineered by humans. Emphasizes the key processes that act on chemical species in the atmosphere, natural waters, soils and sediments, allowing for the prediction of chemical concentrations and fates. Topics include acid-base chemistry, metal complexation, mineral dissolution and precipitation, oxidation/reduction reactions, photolysis, phase partitioning including bioaccumulation, and radiochemistry. Concurrent enrollment in 1.083 and 1.107 recommended.

Instructors: Jesse Kroll and Phil Gschwend


1.107 Environmental Chemistry
Prereq: None; Coreq: 1.080
U (Spring)

Laboratory and field techniques in biogeochemistry and environmental engineering and their application to the understanding of natural and engineered ecosystems. Exercises demonstrate data acquisition and modeling suited to identifying and quantifying physical, chemical, and biological processes that govern the effects of human activity on the functioning of natural systems and/or the efficacy of engineered approaches to environmental problems. Applications include chemical and biological remediation, measurement of contaminants, and detection of biogeochemical activity in natural environments. An independently designed final project is required. 1.018 and 1.061 strongly recommended. Enrollment limited; preference to 1-E students.

Instructors: Jesse Kroll and Phil Gschwend


1.085/12.336: Air Pollution
Prereq: 18.03

U (Fall)
Units: 3-0-9

Provides a working knowledge of basic air quality issues, with emphasis on a multidisciplinary approach to investigating the sources and effects of pollution. Topics include emission sources; atmospheric chemistry and removal processes; meteorological phenomena and their impact on pollution transport at local to global scales; air pollution control technologies; health effects; and regulatory standards. Discusses regional and global issues, such as acid rain, ozone depletion and air quality connections to climate change.

Instructor: Colette Heald


12.104 Geochemistry of the Earth and Planets
Prereq: Calculus II (GIR)

U (Fall)
Units: 3-1-8

Focuses on the processes that create chemical variability in the solid and fluid Earth, the moon, and meteorites. Includes nucleosynthesis, cosmochemistry, and basic geochemical concepts. Thermodynamics and phase equilibria are introduced and applied to problems of melting solid planetary interiors and the evolution of the Earth’s hydrosphere. Radiogenic and stable isotopic systems are used to document the timing of planetary formation and differentiation, formation, and evolution of volcanoes and continental crust, and to understand interactions between the solid and fluid Earth.

Instructor: Shuhei Ono


12.306 Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry
Prereq: 5.61, 18.075, or permission of instructor

U (Spring)
Units: 3-0-9

Introduction to the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere including experience with computer codes. Aerosols and theories of their formation, evolution, and removal. Gas and aerosol transport from urban to continental scales. Coupled models of radiation, transport, and chemistry. Solution of inverse problems to deduce emissions and removal rates. Emissions control technology and costs. Applications to air pollution and climate. Students taking the graduate version complete different assignments.

Instructor: Ron Prinn


12.335 Experimental Atmospheric Chemistry
Prereq: Chemistry (GIR)

U (Fall)
Units: 2-4-6

Introduces the atmospheric chemistry involved in climate change, air pollution, and ozone depletion using a combination of interactive laboratory and field studies and simple computer models. Uses instruments for trace gas and aerosol measurements and methods for inferring fundamental information from these measurements. Provides instruction and practice in written and oral communication. Students taking the graduate version complete different assignments.

Instructors: Ron Prinn, Shuhei Ono and Dan Cziczo


12.385: Environmental Science and Society
Prereq: 12.806, 12.807, or permission of instructor
U (Fall, new in 2012, meet with 12.885)
Units: 3-0-9

Stresses integration of central scientific concepts in environmental science and their connections to societal actions. Places emphasis on identifying and intercomparing the scientific foundation of environmental problems and proposals for their solution. Through lectures, independent study, group discussions, and periodic research reports, students produce an in-depth overview and critique of case studies in environmental problems and human actions. Illuminates commonalities and differences between past and present successes and impediments in dealing with environmental decisions. Potential topics include ozone depletion, global warming, acid rain, and smog. Students taking the graduate version complete different assignments.

Instructor: Susan Solomon


12.338: Aerosol and Cloud Microphysics and Chemistry
Prereq: permission of instructor

U (Spring)
Units: 3-0-9

Focuses on understanding how aerosol particles form droplets or ice crystals during several atmospheric processes, such as: determining Earth’s radiative balance, heterogeneous chemistry and acid rain, and understanding where, when and how much precipitation occurs. Provides tools for understanding: the physics of aerosol and cloud element motion, the interaction of particles with water vapor including phase changes and droplet and ice nucleation, the chemical composition of particles and the effect on cloud formation processes, and the effect of cloud processing on aerosol chemistry. Relevant topics of contemporary interest, for example geoengineering and weather modification and volcanic effects, are discussed. Students taking the graduate version complete different assignments.

Instructor: Dan Cziczo


12.340: Global Warming Science
Prereq: Physics I (GIR),Calculus I (GIR), or permission of instructor; Coreq: 5.60

U (Spring)
Units: 3-0-9

Provides students with a scientific foundation of anthropogenic climate change and an introduction to climate models. Focuses on fundamental physical processes that shape climate (e.g. solar variability, orbital mechanics, greenhouse gases, atmospheric and oceanic circulation, and volcanic and soil aerosols) and on evidence for past and present climate change. Discusses material consequences of climate change, including sea level change, variations in precipitation, vegetation, storminess, and the incidence of disease. Examines the science behind mitigation and adaptation proposals.

Instructor: Kerry Emanuel, Sarah Seager, Dan Cziczo

12.346 Global Environmental Science and Politics
Prereq: None

U (Fall, odd years)
Units: 3-0-6

Practical introduction to the international environmental political arena, particularly designed for science and engineering students whose work is potentially relevant to global environmental issues. Covers basic issues in international politics, such as negotiations, North-South conflict, implementation and compliance, and trade. Emphasizes the roles and responsibilities of experts providing scientific assessment reports and in technical advisory bodies. Term projects focus on organizing and presenting scientific information in ways relevant for ongoing global policymaking. Students taking the graduate version complete different assignments.

Instructor: Noelle Selin