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Organizational Structure

Each individual faculty member carries out a broad program of research and teaching, and numerous informal interactions with other members and with the national and international community exist. These interleaving individual programs are becoming rapidly more responsive to the pressing requirements of the science, the instruction of graduate and undergraduate students in the associated departments, the application of the science and instruction to socio-economic problems, and the more organic integration of the research staff into the Institute activities. An important avenue to these complementary and mutually reinforcing requirements has been to structure the Institute into centers, by area of application, rather than by traditional scientific discipline. Three centers (listed below in lexicographic order of the initials) are currently active:

Planetary Science (CPS)

Earth Systems (CESR)

Space Physics (SPC)

CPS was formed in September 1993 to refocus the Instituteís traditional interest in planetary physics and chemistry. Its membership now includes ten faculty members and ten researchers. It spans the spectrum from experimental high-temperature geochemistry and high-pressure geophysics to the theoretical foundations of our disciplines in geophysical fluid dynamics and continuum thermodynamics.

CESR began in October 1989 with one research scientist and three faculty members who saw an opportunity to capitalize on existing strengths by providing leadership and supporting growth in Global Climate Change studies. It now has five faculty members and ten research scientists, plus many postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. The Center serves as a campus-wide consortium on global change and its regional environmental impacts. Members do research on the fluid envelope of the Earth and its interaction with the land surface underneath and the rarefied interplanetary medium above, as well as the biota within. The research includes observational, theoretical, numerical, and laboratory studies on the chemistry, dynamics, and physics of the atmosphere, oceans, and cryosphere.

SPC, with six faculty members and thirteen researchers is the oldest organized structure within the IGPP. The first director of the SPC was the Nobel Laureate W. Libby. The areas of interest within the SPC include space plasma simulation, planetary plasma physics and space physics. Members of SPC carry out investigations of the solar wind, and the magnetospheres, ionospheres and atmospheres of the Earth and planets. The SPC supports scientific research in the United States and throughout the world by providing scientists with access to high quality data through the NASA Planetary Data System. Members of the SPC are active in teaching physics and space physics both in the classroom and through the development of multimedia aids to education. The Space Physics Center is active in the development of technology for space research, data management and education.