Dean of Natural Science, Professor of Earth and Environmental Science
Professor Roof's teaching and research focus on environmental issues such as climate change, pollution, and land conservation. He and his students travel frequently to Death Valley and the Southwest for climate change field research. Professor Roof also coordinates a climate change research program in the High Arctic for undergraduate students called the "Svalbard REU."
He consciously integrates the scientific, political, and social aspects of environmental problems in his classes and projects. He teaches and supervises projects in geology, climate change, resource conservation, land use planning, geographic information systems, environmental chemistry, and the evolution of scientific thought.
Did a meteorite wipe out the dinosaurs? Will increases in "greenhouse" gases cause global warming? Do continents really drift across the face of Earth? How do scientists come up with these theories anyway? In this course, we will read primary literature about past and present geological controversies to learn how scientists develop, test, and modify scientific hypotheses. We will see how scientific ideas are shaped by academic debates at meetings and in scientific journals and the influence of social and political values of the times. We will also gain an appreciation of the analytical and creative skills exemplified by past and present successful scientists from different cultures. Students will research in depth two controversies of their choice and share written and oral presentations with the class.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are evolving computerized tools that greatly facilitate describing, modeling, and managing our natural resources. In this course, we will learn GIS tools, specifically ArcGIS and Google Earth, necessary to map and analyze natural resources, focusing on the Hampshire College campus. We will learn about making and using maps, using technology ranging from counting footsteps to satellite navigation (Geographic Positioning Systems, GPS). We will learn how to create new GIS data as well as find appropriate existing data. We will learn how to use GIS tools to map features, analyze landscapes, model processes, and manage natural resources. We will concentrate on learning the practical aspects of GIS as a tool for natural science investigations. In addition to class activities, students will develop their own GIS projects during the second half of the semester that allow them to pursue their specific interests and refine their GIS skills.
Earth's surface is always changing. Geomorphology is the study of Earth's surface, its landforms, and the processes that shape landforms. The goal of this course is for you to recognize common landforms and gain a quantitative understanding of Earth surface processes. Once you understand how surface processes work, you will have a better idea of how a landscape evolved to its present state and how the landscape could change in the future. This course will include field trips and projects that examine different landforms and processes in New England, including glaciation, river processes, coastal erosion, mass movement, and wind activity.
Hampshire College has joined the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment with the goal to become "climate neutral" by eliminating or neutralizing all of our greenhouse gas emissions. Students in this class will further develop specific energy conservation strategies to attain this goal. We will focus on raising energy awareness across the campus and reducing energy use through behavioral changes and innovative technical solutions. We will start by learning about the current energy use and carbon emissions of the Hampshire College campus. We will then investigate existing energy conservation measures that can be used at Hampshire as well as invent new ones. Students will research, develop, implement, and evaluate their energy conservation projects over the course of the semester.