Caltech is one of the world leaders in geobiology, and an exciting place to study this interdisciplinary science. The aim of our academic program is to provide comprehensive training in geobiology through coursework and active research. Our community of students is composed of individuals from several Caltech Divisions: Geological and Planetary Sciences, Environmental Science and Engineering, and Biology. Students entering the program arrive with diverse interests and backgrounds in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and geology.
A minor in Geobiology, or a general Geological and Planetary Sciences (GPS) minor, are intended for non-GPS undergraduates to supplement a major degree with knowledge of earth and planetary science.
Geobiology Coursework at a Glance
Ge/Ay 159. Astrobiology. We approach the age-old questions "Why are we here?" and "Are we alone?" by covering topics in cosmology, the origins of life, planetary habitability, the detection of biosignatures, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, and humanity's future in space. Specific topics include: the emergence of life at hydrothermal vents; the habitable zone and the Gaia hypothesis; the search for ancient habitable environments on Mars; icy satellites like Europa, Enceladus, and Titan as astrobiological prospects; and the hunt for atmospheric biosignatures on exoplanets.
Geobiology is really asking very systematic questions about the coevolution of Earth and life. We're merging our understanding of geologic processes in the past with modern approaches in molecular microbiology and using state-of-the-art geochemistry to explore the links between these disciplines.