Geophysics is a branch of science mostly concerned with the physical properties of Earth as a planet, from the core to the upper atmosphere in terms of global systems. Historically speaking, the science dates back to the second half of the 16th century when Gilbert discovered the magnetic characteristic of the planet Earth. The next milestone in geophysical sciences was mathematical formulation of Gravity theory by Newton in the 17th century. Geophysics as an Interdisciplinary science efficiently utilizes mathematics, physics, geology and computer sciences to create a better understanding of Earth structure. As a result, It is generally divided into a number of research fields to create a better environment for studying of the physical processes in the planet Earth and the solar system.
The understanding of the phenomena related to land, the atmosphere, and the oceans is Essential for human needs. Such needs include the discovery of the new sources of energy, minerals, underground waters, the prediction of natural disasters such as earthquake, volcanic eruption, flood, drought, and the methods of risk assessment to prevent such disasters. Therefore, with regard to the necessity of the development of geophysics, the IUS proposed that the period between July 1957 and December 1958 be called "The Geophysics Year", calling for the global contribution to the improvement of the geophysical relayed sciences. As a response to this call, the Institute of Geophysics was established at University of Tehran by the Late Professor Hossein Kashi Afshar in 1957.
The Institute of Geophysics started its activities initially with the three sections of Seismology, Geomagnetics, and Gravimetry. Later, educational, pure, and applied geophysical studies were considered as general approaches. In 1970, the Committee elected by the Tehran University Board of Trustees approved the establishment of the groups of Earth physics and Space Physics.
The following programs at M.Sc. and Ph.D. levels are offered by the Earth Sciences Group:
Researchers and students in the Earth Sciences Group focus on the study of the structure and characteristics of the planet Earth. They use exploration methods to assess the underground resource, study earthquake risks across the country, and examine the geophysical engineering projects. While being dvided into different branches, The four research sections of seismic exploration, Seismology, Gravimetry, and Magnetometry are working in close collaboration with each other for researches and educational affairs.
The Space Physics Group has been offering courses in the fields of Meteorology and oceanography at M.Sc. level since 1976 and at and Ph.D. level since October 2004. The students study different meteorological subjects including atmospheric dynamics at macro and micro scales, numerical methods in weather forecasting, water management, climatology, clouds formation and rain, storms, and atmospheric boundary layers, all of which can be applied to the environment, agriculture, construction industries, and also to water resource management, transportation, and other related fields. there are also several other active research sections that have close collaboration with this Group include Ozone and Air Pollution Studies, Solar Physics and Astronomy, Meteorology, and Ionosphere.
As approved by the Board of Ministers in July 2001, the Institute of Geophysics is responsible for Iran's official calendar organized by a Council at Tehran University Calendar Center. Also, by the approval of the same authorities in December 2003, the Institute took the responsibility of the immediate and 24-hour reporting of earthquake events to governmental organizations. The Seismological Center at the Institute is in full charge of this service.