Scientists in the Division of Physical Sciences study the origin and evolution of galaxies, stars, and planets with particular emphasis on planet Earth. Our research is grounded in collections of minerals and gems, rocks of all kinds, telescopic observations and the results of theoretical modeling. We make use of cutting-edge instruments to study Earth materials and extraterrestrial rocks at the finest scales, and to study light from distant sources at the largest possible scale, the observable universe.


In the Department of Astrophysics, we conduct astrophysical research and provide scientific support for outreach activities and exhibits in the Museum.

Earth and Planetary Sciences

Members of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences curate the museum's world renowned collections of minerals and gems, meteorites, ores, rocks, and xenoliths, and conduct research that explores the nature of terrestrial and planetary processes.

REU Internship

Summer undergraduate research opportunities in Astrophysics and Earth and Planetary Sciences.