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Xinning Zhang, assistant professor of geosciences and the Princeton Environmental Institute, was among nine scientists nationwide to receive a three-year 2019 Simons Early Career Investigators in Marine Microbial Ecology and Evolution Award from the Simons Foundation. An environmental microbiologist, Zhang’s research focuses on understanding how microbial metabolism influences biogeochemical cycling and climate in modern and ancient environments.
Seismologists use waves generated by earthquakes to scan the interior of our planet, much like doctors image their patients using medical tomography. Earth imaging has helped us track down the deep origins of volcanic islands such as Hawaii, and identify the source zones of deep earthquakes. “Imagine a radiologist forced to work with a CAT scanner that is missing two-thirds of its necessary sensors,” said Frederik Simons, a professor of geosciences at Princeton.
In the freshman seminar, "Earth's Environments and Ancient Civilizations," students study how to use global positioning systems (GPS), archaeological and geological data, geophysical technology, and computer programs to seek and examine the buried remnants of lost civilizations. The course included a trip to Cyprus, where students collected data for final presentations about how ancient civilizations altered the landscape and changed the environment — and vice versa.