GEOFFREY A. BLAKE
Division of Geological & Planetary Sciences
California Institute of Technology
Mail Stop 150-21
Pasadena, CA 91125

   

 

gab@gps.caltech.edu

   

 

 

Phone: (626)-395-6296
Fax:     (626)-585-1917


  • TEACHING EXPERIENCE

    Ch21b. The Physical Description of Chemical Systems. Quantum mechanics (Ch21a, V. McKoy); atomic and molecular spectroscopy (Ch21b); thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and chemical kinetics (Ch21c, M. Okumura).

    Ge104/5. Geochemistry. An introduction to geochemical principles and techniques, with an emphasis on the composition of global reservoirs and the mechanisms and time scales for coupling between them. Origin of the elements and their classification; origin of the terrestrial planets. Partitioning of major and trace elements in the Earth; geochemical cycles. Isotope geochemistry of stable and radiogenic nuclides; geothermometry, and geochronology. Geochemical modeling of environmental pollution.

    Ch/Ge 128. Cosmochemistry. The chemistry of the interstellar medium, of protostellar nebulae, and of primitive solar system objects with a view towards establishing the relationship of chemical evolution of atoms in the interstellar radiation field to complex molecules and aggregates in the early solar system. Emphasis is placed on identifying the physical conditions in various objects, time scales for physical and chemical change, chemical processes leading to change, observational constraints, and various models which attempt to describe the chemical state and history of cosmological objects in general and the early solar system in particular.

    Ch 130. Spectroscopy. Discussion of various topics in modern spectroscopy, concentrating on the use of lasers in chemistry. Group and permutation-inversion theory with applications to molecular structure and spectroscopy.

    Ay/Ge 132. Atomic and Molecular Processes in Astronomy and Planetary Science. Fundamental aspects of atomic and molecular spectra that enable one to infer physical conditions in astronomical, planetary, and terrestrial environments. Topics include the structure and spectra of atoms, molecules, and solids; transition probabilities; photoionization/recombination; collisional processes; gas-phase reactions; and isotopic fractionation. Each topic will be illustrated with applications in astronomy and planetary science, ranging from the early universe to dense interstellar clouds and the solar system.

    Ay/Ge 133. The Formation and Evolution of Planetary Systems. Review current theoretical ideas and observations pertaining to the formation and evolution of planetary systems. Topics to be covered include low-mass star formation, the protoplanetary disk, accretion and condensationin the solar nebula, the formation of gas giants, meteorites, the outer solar system, giant impacts, extrasolar planetary systems.

    These courses are aimed primarily at the advanced undergraduate and/or first year graduate level. Ch/Ge 128, Ay/Ge 132, and Ge 104/105 are ``new'' courses, in that they were not taught before my arrival. Student feedback has consistently been quite positive. I firmly believe that as a faculty member it is important to be involved with educational opportunities at all levels in the Institute and the local community, and as such devote a that fraction of my time to teaching consistent with leading a world class research effort. For example, I have regularly participated in a variety of Division field courses, both to learn about the geological sciences and to interact with students in a unique setting. I have also served as a Resident Faculty member of Avery House for two years. In addition, I have attended Frosh Camp on several occasions, and have served as a science professional in the Project SEED/CAPSI program for the past decade.

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