ESE 166. State-of-the-art Instrumentation in Environmental Sciences

This course will showcase how novel technologies have allowed fascinating new insights into key aspects of our environment that are of high societal importance. Students will gain both an understanding of topics such as climate change and air pollution as well as detailed knowledge of the design and underlying principles of environmental instrumentation, especially via the hands-on laboratory sessions.

The development of novel instrumentation, driven by technological advances, is transforming observations and revolutionizing the environmental sciences. For example, they introduce new observables and extend the spatial and temporal coverage and resolution of (Earth) observations. This course will highlight how state-of-the-art instrument design has enabled these fascinating advances by focusing on the engineering as well as physics and chemistry principles that are central to this success. A central component of the course consists of laboratory sessions that provide hands-on experience on important aspects of analytical instrumentation, ranging from data acquisition, instrument control software, basic electronic filtering all the way to learning design concepts and operation of spectroscopic and mass-spectrometric instrumentation. There will also be a tour of some of the laboratories using state-of-the-art environmental instrumentation at Harvard. The course and especially the laboratory experiments contain aspects from various engineering disciplines including environmental, electronic and mechanical engineering.

Prerequisites: Math 1a, b; PS 11 or equivalent; PS 12a, b (or Physics 15a, b or AP 50a, b).








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Engineering Sciences

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  • [Course titles in brackets] indicate that the course is not scheduled to be taught during the 2019-2020 academic year, but may be offered in an alternate year.
  • An asterisk (*) before a course number indicates that a student must obtain the instructor's permission in order to enroll in the course.

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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