Stanford University
Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park


Understanding Earth. Benefitting Society.

About Us

Howard Zebker
Howard Zebker, Professor of Geophysics and Electrical Engineering

Welcome from the Geophysics Department Chair

These are exciting times for Geophysics. Our research is in high demand as it is central to addressing challenges humanity faces in hazards, energy, and the environment. Our work ranges from the purely theoretical to the deeply practical, and from planetary-scale to pore-scale. We encourage research at the boundaries of traditional areas that cross disciplines.


Our department comprises regular and affiliated faculty members, research scientists, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students. Our student cohort includes those enrolled in the Department of Geophysics as well as students from other Stanford programs who choose to pursue research in the Earth Sciences. Each year, we host visiting scholars from around the world. We also maintain close ties with many government research laboratories and global private industry.


Our diversity, and the breadth of our research and teaching provide a collegial and nurturing environment. And we’re always open to ways to improve and be more inclusive of under-represented groups. If you want to know more, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

~Howard Zebker, Geophysics Chair

Geophysics is a field that integrates geology, mathematics, and physics in order to understand how the Earth works. Geophysicists study Earth processes through a combination of laboratory experiments, computational and theoretical modeling, remote imaging, and direct observation. Research in the Geophysics Department at Stanford has both fundamental and strategic elements, addressing basic scientific and critical societal needs. This balance is a unique strength of our department - one that is strategically important for us to preserve, and one that that we express in our vision and mission statements. Our students benefit from this breadth of exposure and are highly sought after for rewarding careers in academia, industry, and government.


Our Department is leading research in many areas where geophysical expertise will be increasingly important for coping with challenges that humanity faces in the 21st century as the finiteness of energy and water resources becomes critical, as the world's growing population puts increasing demands on the environment, and as populations and complex infrastructure continue to expand in areas exposed to a spectrum of natural and human-induced hazards. Our role in advancing knowledge in these societally vital areas build upon our basic science advancing fundamental understanding of complex geosystems on Earth and other planets and satellites in the Solar system.

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Vision: Understanding Earth. Benefiting Society.

Mission: To develop, apply and catalyze the adoption of advanced geophysical methods to further understanding of complex Earth systems and processes; and to train students to become future leaders in their fields. The research and training we do aspires to address critical societal as well as scientific challenges.

Diversity on Campus

The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) coordinates diversity programs within the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (SES), facilitates partnerships between SES and private industry, and forms community alliances with Stanford and other universities.

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