Alumna Hyejung “Hazel” Lee honed her lab skills at USC Dornsife, and now she uses them at Beyond Meats, a maker of meat substitutes.
Atmospheric rivers have long affected the West Coast
The recent downpours affecting California are just the latest of their kind. In this 2020 story, a USC Dornsife history scholar described one of the state’s most destructive series of winter storms carried in by an atmospheric river, leading to catastrophic flooding more than 150 years ago.
The Energy Issue
As we face the challenges of climate change, the energy choices we make now have never been more crucial. In this issue of USC Dornsife Magazine, we look at energy through the diverse lenses of our scholars’ research — from finding nature-inspired solutions to meet our future energy needs to weighing the pros and cons of nuclear power. We report how ancient technology is shaping advances in cooling technology, we explore natural and esoteric energy, and we delve into the unique demands of our own “body electric.”
Earth scientists bridge the gap between our planet and the cosmos. The geological expertise they have is crucial in studying extraterrestrial conditions, and exploring the enduring question of life beyond Earth.
Meet some of our alumni at the top of their fields:
W. Bruce Banerdt ’83, who dreamed of becoming an astronaut as a child, studied the Earth as a geological sciences PhD student at USC Dornsife. A fateful summer internship studying the moon kicked off a remarkable career at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
• “To use the skills and knowledge I had acquired in physics and geology but in connection to space, well, it seemed too good to be true,” says Banerdt.
• During his 45-year career at JPL, he worked on projects investigating Mars, Venus and Jupiter’s satellites.
• Banerdt directed the Mars InSight Mission, which designed, built and landed a seismometer on Mars.
In his words: “The same tools we use to study Earth can be used to study other planets and, similarly, we can use the study of other planets to inform our understanding of Earth.”
Maya Yanez, a PhD candidate in Earth sciences, studies Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, one of our solar system’s most Earth-like bodies.
• Studying Titan as it is now provides insights into what Earth might have been like eons ago.
Two USC Dornsife Earth sciences alumni, Laurie Barge ’09 and Scott Perl ’19, lead JPL’s Origins and Habitability Lab, which explores the origin of life on Earth as well as if — and how — life could have started on other worlds.
Professor of Earth sciences Frank Corsetti receives funding from NASA for his research into the evolution of life on Earth and the necessary parameters to create and sustain life.
• His work supports the search for signs of life on Mars.
Image description: An artist’s rendition of the view of Saturn from its moon Titan. A large moon with rings glows over a rocky, placid sea. Text: Earth sciences isn’t just for Earth.
Think it’s a story about sainthood? Think again.
Toxic masculinity in the Roman empire? Closer.
About Chaucer birdwatching? Now you’re getting hot.
USC Dornsife historian Lisa Bitel unravels the absurd history of Valentine’s Day.
The world’s largest Ice Age fossil site? It’s in Los Angeles.
A quick primer from Dr. Emily Lindsey of La Brea Tar Pits and USC Dornsife.
Ice Age in Los Angeles: Fossil Library
Los Angeles is home to the world’s richest site for Ice Age fossils. More than 100 asphalt seeps found around the La Brea Tar Pits and Hancock Park have preserved now extinct Ice Age animals and their ecosystems. Scientists have excavated more than 3.5 millions fossils and counting!
Researchers and students from all over the world visit the La Brea Tar Pits to access its extensive library. The museum is located a few miles from USC’s main campus and is an incredible resource for Dornsife students who are studying Earth Sciences.