A Welcome from EOAS' Director

Dr. Robert Kopp, EOAS Director

Humanity’s role on our small planet is rapidly changing. The scientific and industrial revolutions of the past centuries have brought about the wealthiest and most peaceful time in the history of our species. But, as a byproduct of this great transformation, there is almost nowhere on Earth’s surface today — whether on land, in the oceans or in the air — that is untouched by our global civilization. As human population has exploded, we have claimed an ever-growing fraction of our planet’s biological productivity. We have remixed ecosystems that plate tectonics had sundered for tens of millions of years. We have altered our planet’s atmosphere and shifted our climate from a gradually cooling trajectory to a rapidly warming one.

One of the greatest challenges of the 21st century is to employ our civilization’s newfound powers in a way that maintains peace and prosperity, sustains the natural capital on which these depend, and manages the risks created by the way we live upon the Earth. To tackle this challenge requires that we, as a society, engage in a vigorous program of Earth system science that informs civic literacy and planetary governance.

Rutgers University, a land-grant university with a public mission grounded in New Jersey but global in extent, is ready to take a leadership role.

Building upon a quarter-century legacy of leadership by the Rutgers Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, the Rutgers Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS) was created in 2014 to advance Rutgers’ leadership in understanding the Earth and informing environmental governance: a dual mission summarized in our 2018 strategic plan as planetary exploration and planetary stewardship.

From investigating the origins of life to tracking ecological change from Antarctica to Borneo, from reconstructing past environmental changes to assessing future climate and ecological risks, from plumbing the origins of the Moon to monitoring the global ocean – EOAS’s breadth and depth are among Rutgers’ greatest strengths.

The Institute exists to integrate the strengths across Rutgers’ campuses, to catalyze new research, education, and public and policy engagement that break down disciplinary silos and link Rutgers science to the needs of local and global communities.

Together with the other members of our leadership team, I look forward to working with the faculty, staff, postdocs, students, and supporters of the Rutgers Earth system science community to advance this mission. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.


Robert Kopp,

Director, Institute of Earth, Ocean, & Atmospheric Sciences