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Sciences

Although in most places science is taught as different disciplines, actually, it's all connected! In order to do research in the Earth and space sciences - also sometimes called the "geosciences", you need to have a strong background in all the sciences, as well as in mathematics, too. In this section, we have brought together information related to the Earth and space sciences from across our website on the different scientific disciplines. Explore these links to find out more about geology, physics, chemistry, and biology.
Although we humans have never experienced fast <a href="/earth/climate/climate.html&dev=1">global
warming</a>, our
planet has. And our planet keeps records of what happened. The oldest
records that the
<a href="/earth/earth.html&dev=1">Earth</a> keeps
are in its
<a href="/earth/geology/sed_intro.html&dev=1">rocks</a>.
In this image, <a href="/headline_universe/olpa/methane_28may08.html&dev=1">geologists Chris von der Borch and Dave
Mrofka</a> collect
sediment samples in South Australia. These rocks hold clues to help
explain why climate changed abruptly 635 million years ago.<p><small><em>                    Courtesy of Martin Kennedy, UCR</em></small></p>Everything you see around you is made of tiny particles called <a href="/physical_science/physics/atom_particle/atom.html&dev=1">atoms</a>. There are many different types of atoms, each with a special combination of <a href="/physical_science/physics/atom_particle/proton.html&dev=1">protons</a>, <a href="/physical_science/physics/atom_particle/neutron.html&dev=1">neutrons</a> and <a href="/physical_science/physics/atom_particle/electron.html&dev=1">electrons</a>. These different types of atoms are called <a href="/physical_science/element.html&dev=1">elements</a>.<p><small><em>              L.Gardiner/Windows to the Universe</em></small></p>The Pompeii worm, the most heat-tolerant animal on Earth, lives in the deep ocean at <a href="/earth/Water/life_deep.html&dev=1">hydrothermal vents</a>. The worm's back is covered in bacteria adapted for living in <a href="/earth/extreme_environments.html&dev=1">extreme environments</a>. The bacteria also grows on the surfaces of the chimneys where hot liquids spew from below the sea floor.<p><small><em>Courtesy of the University of Delaware</em></small></p>How did life evolve on <a href="/earth/earth.html&dev=1">Earth</a> during the <a href="/earth/past/Archean.html&dev=1">Archean</a>, when the <a href="/sun/sun.html&dev=1">Sun</a> was about 25% weaker than today?  The Earth should have been <a href="/earth/polar/cryosphere_glacier1.html&dev=1">glaciated</a>, if <a href="/earth/climate/earth_greenhouse.html&dev=1">greenhouse</a> gas concentration was the same as today.  <a href="http://www.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/news/display/?id=10798">Researchers</a> studying the <a href="/physical_science/physics/atom_particle/isotope.html&dev=1">isotopic</a> signatures of Earth's early atmosphere in <a href="/earth/geology/rocks_intro.html&dev=1">rocks</a> from Northern Australia have ruled out high levels of <a href="/physical_science/chemistry/nitrogen_molecular.html&dev=1">nitrogen</a> as a possible way to increase warming from <a href="/earth/Atmosphere/overview.html&dev=1">atmospheric</a> <a href="/physical_science/chemistry/carbon_dioxide.html&dev=1">carbon dioxide</a>.<p><small><em>Image courtesy of Manchester University</em></small></p>Scientists at the University of Michigan have found that <a href="/earth/polar/cryosphere_permafrost1.html&dev=1">permafrost</a> in the <a href="/earth/polar/polar_north.html&dev=1">Arctic</a> is extremely sensitive to sunlight.  Exposure to sunlight releases carbon gases trapped in the permafrost, including <a href="/earth/climate/earth_greenhouse.html&dev=1">climate-warming</a> <a href="/physical_science/chemistry/carbon_dioxide.html&dev=1">carbon dioxide</a>, to the <a href="/earth/Atmosphere/overview.html&dev=1">atmosphere</a> much faster than previously thought.<p><small><em>George Kling, The University of Michigan</em></small></p>A <a href="http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024035/article">study</a> of over 40,000 written entries in Irish Annals and ice core measurements shows a strong correlation between <a href="http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/interior/eruptions.html">volcanic eruptions</a> and extreme cold weather in Ireland over a 1200 year period, from 431 to 1649.  During this time up to 48 volcanic eruptions were identified in Greenland ice core records through deposition of volcanic sulfate in annual layers of ice. Find out more about <a href="http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/climate/geosphere_volcanoes_influence_on_climate.html">volcanoes and climate</a>.<p><small><em>Image Courtesy of Marco Fulle</em></small></p>

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF