About the Geophysical Laboratory

The Geophysical Laboratory was established in 1905 to investigate the processes that control the composition and structure of the Earth as it was known at the time, including developing the underlying physics and chemistry and creating the experimental tools required for the task. Over a century later, this core mission has expanded to include the physics, chemistry, and biology of the Earth over the entire range of conditions our planet has experienced since its formation, as well as parallel studies of other planets of this and other solar systems from their surfaces to their cores.

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The Geophysical Laboratory’s Alex Goncharov and Terrestrial Magnetism’s Peter van Keken were awarded a Venture Grant to apply a novel flash-heating method for high- pressure/high-temperature experiments to measure the thermal conductivity of Mars. They will then develop new models to understand why that planet cooled so fast and early.


The Geophysical Laboratory celebrated National Postdoc Appreciation Week (NPAW) September 18-22, 2017.  Together with our sister department, DTM, the Carnegie Science Broad Branch Road campus treated our postdocs to a week-long ping pong tournament, organized by postdocs Amol Karandikar and Venkat Bhadram, an ice cream social, and a Paint Nite afternoon to come together with their peers and paint a scene from their time here in DC. 

Matter at Extreme States

Washington, DC— A team of Geophysical Laboratory high-pressure physicists have created a form of carbon that’s hard as diamond, but amorphous, meaning it lacks the large-scale structural repetition of a diamond’s crystalline structure. Their findings are reported in Nature Communications.


GL alum Sergey Lobanov received official confirmation from the Helmholtz Association this week that he has won the competition for the Helmholtz Young Investigator Group Leaders award. This means that he will receive 1.8 million Euro for 2018-2023 to establish a new group at GFZ (Potsdam, Germany).

High Pressure

Washington, DC  A group of scientists led by the Geophysical Laboratory's Huiyang Gou and Timothy Strobel performed high-pressure experiments on linear dicyanoacetylene (C4N2) using a diamond anvil cell, in which a pressure-induced reaction process was uncovered. Discrete linear C4N2 molecules were found to polymerize into a disordered extended network without significant change to the bulk composition.

Upcoming Events

Oct 23, 2017
11:00 AM

The Geophysical Laboratory's weekly seminar series continues with Razvan Caracas of the French National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris. He will present, "Supercritical silicate melts in the protolunar disk."

Event Host: George Cody
Planetary Science
Oct 26, 2017
6:30 PM

Our Broad Branch Road Fall Neighborhood Lecture Series kicks-off with DTM's John Chambers.  Chambers will present, "The Mystery of Planet Formation." 

Event Host: Department of Terrestrial Magnetism
Oct 30, 2017
11:00 AM

The Geophysical Laboratory's weekly seminar series continues with Hikaru Iwamori of JAMSTEC. He will present, "Geochemical heterogeneity of the Eath's mantle and its implications for the dynamics."

Event Host: Bjorn Mysen