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.
This course is part of an integrated science learning experience combining water resources, mathematical modeling and energy using the new Hampshire College Kern Center, built to the Living Building Challenge Standard, as a case study. Students will meet twice a week to explore the science behind the systems of the living building in their specific discipline. Once a week all three classes (NS132, NS140 and NS143) will meet together to complete interdisciplinary projects, share expertise, and form a collaborative science learning community. Students will read and share primary literature and work collaboratively on projects. We will learn about the campus living building from the architects and design engineers, take field tours, and meet faculty across campus engaged with the project. Students who complete this course may choose to continue their work using the living building in NS280, Collaborative Project Design, during the spring semester. Students enrolled in NS143, Designing a Net Zero Energy Building, will assess how the Kern Center is meeting the Living Building Challenge "net zero" energy requirement, which requires the building to generate all the electricity it uses. Students will learn about electrical power and energy, solar photovoltaic systems, energy efficiency features of modern buildings, and behavioral strategies for conserving energy. Student work in this class will help ensure the Kern Center achieves Living Building Certification.
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.
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.