GRADUATE PROGRAM IN
GEOPHYSICAL FLUID DYNAMICS
ADMINISTERED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF SCIENTIFIC COMPUTING AND THE GEOPHYSICAL FLUID DYNAMICS INSTITUTE (GFDI)
COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
The Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (GFD) Program leads to a degree in Computational Sciences with a major in either GFD or Fire Dy-namics. It is an interdisciplinary field of study whose primary goal is an improvement in our basic understanding of fluid flows that occur naturally, including such diverse topics as climate and paleoclimate, biogeochemical processes, hydrology and Karst dynamics, air-sea interaction, wild fire dynamics, double diffusive processes, and hurricane dynamics with strong links to the Applied Mathematics Pro-gram. The approach to this understanding is through quantitative analysis of observational records and theoretical, mathematical, numer-ical, and experimenting modeling. A geophysical fluid dynamicist must have a firm grasp of the fundamental principles of classical phys-ics, knowledge of the techniques of applied mathematics, and an interest in the natural sciences. It follows that the course of study leading to a degree in geophysical fluid dynamics is a rewarding one in which the student gains an overview of the geophysical sciences not available from study in a single discipline.
The interdepartmental graduate program of study leads to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree; there is no master’s degree offered. The program is administered by the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Institute and has its own separate degree requirements. It differs from the regular departmental offerings in the earth sciences mainly by its interdisciplinary approach and emphasis on the fundamentals of mathematics, physics, and fluid dynamics, with less emphasis on descriptive material from any one discipline.
A major factor in the success of this PhD program is the strong support provided by the Departments of Earth, Ocean and Atmos-pheric Science (EOAS), Mathematics, Physics, Scientific Computing, and Statistics, and the College of Engineering. In particular, these departments offer a wide range of courses from which the student in geophysical fluid dynamics constructs an individualized curriculum. Faculty members of various departments who have an active research interest in geophysical fluid dynamics form the heart of the pro-gram by serving as advisors and instructors for the students in the program.
Facilities are situated in the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Institute, whose primary function is to support and foster those theoreti-cal, experimental, numerical, and observational studies of natural environmental fluid flows that transcend the traditional departmental disciplines.
These facilities include a large modern laboratory for hydrodynamics experiments, a colloquium room and reading room (furnished with books and periodicals in fluid dynamics, classical physics, applied mathematics, geophysical sciences, and astrophysical sciences), a photographic and illustrations laboratory, a large modern machine shop, a precision instrument-makers laboratory, and faculty and stu-dent offices. Institute facilities also include several precision rotating turntables, a six-meter water channel, convection tanks, tempera-ture controlling systems, general and digital photographic systems, multi-channel data acquisition systems, laser facilities, various ma-chine tools, and other electronic equipment. The institute houses a facility for measuring ocean turbulence as well.