A.B. (Harvard College), PhD (Massachussetts Institute of Technology)
Halley Professor of Physics

Academic Background

Undergraduate degree in Physics (A.B) from Harvard College. Graduate degree (PhD) in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachussetts Institute of Technology. Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques (Republic of France). PhD honoris causa in the faculty of science, Stockholms Universitet. Kung Carl XVI Gustav Visiting Chair in Environmental Science (Stockholm 2014/15). Have held faculty positions at MIT (Atmospheric Science), Princeton (Geological Science) and University of Chicago (Dept. of the Geological Sciences).

Undergraduate Teaching Areas

Earth paleoclimate, Planetary climate, Applied mathematics (Dynamical systems), Object oriented programming (especially Python) for problems in mathematics and the physical sciences.

Much of my teaching draws from my textbook, “Principles of Planetary Climate” (see PlanetaryClimateBook.org), and from my in-progress book on Python for mathematicians and physical scientists.

Graduate Teaching Areas

Essentially the same as the undergraduate areas, but in more depth and using more advanced mathematics.

Research Interests

My work deals with the physics of climate of the Earth and other planets, ranging over the past 4 billion years to the next several billion years, and extending from the Solar System out to the newly discovered exoplanets. This includes questions of near-term interest, such as the nature and impact of climate disruption that will result from human-associated emissions of carbon dioxide (the “Global Warming” problem), and extends even to such things as the effect of agricultural practices on climate change.

Other Interests

Hiking, especially in Northern Sweden and Finland; Swedish literature; Folk music of many sorts (especially Nordic and Irish, but I can play more or less anything): primarily accordion (chromatic button and diatonic), recorder, whistle and ukulele. I will be playing fairly regularly at the Scandi session which meets at the James St. Tavern.


See Prof Pierrehumbert's website.