Earthquakes in Taiwan are fairly frequent, and the Chiayi- lainan area has been senstive to their threats. To promote seismological studies, the Ministry of Education approved the establishment of the frist research Institute of Seismology in the country in 1990. Due to critical environmental concerns in Taiwan and considering the geophysics research trend of the world, the need to cultivate geophysicists in Taiwan has been realized. Hence, the university estahlished another independent Graduate Institute of Applied Geophysics in 1994.
Since the beginning of the century, the earth sciences have been on the threshold of unparalleled opportunities to pursue complex, socially relevant and interdiscipliary problems. Solutions to these problems will necessarily draw on all aspects of the earth sciences. Dramatic new scientific initiatives have been emerging due to recognition of the growing importance of our global and local environments. The earth scientists must play the critical role in monitoring conditions, understanding processes and mitigating the effects of undesirable change.
For these reasons, a novel department under the title of "Earth and Environmental Sciences” was established in 2002. The undergraduate program and two graduate programs are beneficial and helpful to one another in various aspects, including research, teaching, and services to he public.
Specialties in Research and Teaching
Seismology (Graduate Program)
The graduate Institute of Seismology is geared toward the study of the particular geological environment in Taiwan and to the needs of national economic development. At the same time, it seeks to go abreast with the global research trend in the field of seismology. Its emphasis is twofold: that of research and teaching, so that theories interwine with practices in exploring the internal structure of the earth and activities within. Besides these, the Institute also explores techniques for earthquake countermeasures and for earthquake forecasting systems. It endeavors to cultivate specialists in the field to conduct such studies as welI. The program is currently divided into the folloing four areas: (I) Theoretical Seismology, (2) Observational Seismology, (3) Engineering Seismology, and (4) Geodvnamics.
Applied Geophysics (Graduate Program)
The objective of this program is to enhance the academic as well as the applied research efforts in geophysics in this country. It is intended to explore opportunities in cooperation and information exchange with other related scientific areas, especially within industry. Four major areas out of a vast pool of challenging subjects in Geophysics have been selected: (I) Engineering Geophysics, (2) Environmental Geophysics, (3) Hydrological Geophysics, and (4) Acoustical Geophysics. Emphases have been laid upon applications of methods derived from Geophysics to engineering designs. Thus, theory will be coupled with training for the students to solve practical problems.
Earth and Enironinental Sciences (Undergraduate Program)
The undergraduate program in earth and environmental sciences emphasizes the interdisciplinary aspects of modern studies of the earth by encouraging students to take a mixture of science courses tailored to their interests and goals. Students will take courses in the fields of mathematics. chemistry, physics, biogeochemistry, and life sciences, along with earth and environmental sciences. Instructors are affiliated with the Institutes of Seismology and of Applied Geophysics. They offer a very wide range of courses on topics in geology, seismology, geophysics, oceanography, ecology, and geodesy. The variety of topics and instructors with different areas of expertise provide students a sound background for pursuing higher degrees in earth and environmental sciences.