Guyot Physics: Princeton University as an Urban Science Node

2016 Faculty Research Award

Award Period: 2016-2018

Jessica Irving, assistant professor of geosciences, and Frederik Simons, professor of geosciences, will install geophysical and environmental monitoring equipment on Princeton University’s campus to better understand the interactions of the natural and human-made environments. A permanent geodetic beacon and a weather station will be positioned on the roof of Guyot Hall. The equipment will operate in tandem with seismometers strategically located nearby so that sounds from the built and human-influenced environment can be distinguished from earth sounds. The time-variable positions recorded by the stationary geodetic beacon will provide information on weather systems, snowpack and the total electronic content of the atmosphere. These data will be studied together with the direct measurements of temperature, barometric pressure and precipitation as recorded by the weather station. This combination of measurement techniques will validate the targeted use of geodetic and seismic instrumentation for environmental monitoring in the urban setting. Information from the equipment will feed into a world-wide database for geodesy and seismology, and be used to explore environmental cycles and human-made effects.

Educational Impacts

Irving and Simons will train undergraduate students in the use and application of the instruments through summer internships and senior-thesis work. Such training would prepare students for careers in monitoring the Earth and its physical environment. Data from the stations would be woven into undergraduate courses such as “Fundamentals of Solid Earth Science” (GEO 203), as well as used by other researchers on campus.

Participating Department

Collaborating Institutions


Professor of Geosciences
Assistant Professor of Geosciences

Additional Researchers

Undergraduate Students

  • Lauren Von Berg, Class of 2020
  • James Tralie, Class of 2019
  • Elijah Ash, Class of 2019