Institute of Geophysics Introduction Institute of Geophysics Introduction

Institute of Geophysics Introduction

Geophysics is a branch of science generally concerned with the physical properties of Earth as a planet, from the core to the upper atmosphere in terms of global systems. Historically, the science dates back to the second half of the 16th century when Gilbert discovered the magnetic characteristic of the planet Earth. The second step in the development of geophysics originated from Newton's Gravity Theory introduced in the second half of the 17th century. Geophysics as a multifaceted science enjoying the contribution of other fundamental sciences is divided into a number of branch fields. It mainly focuses on the study 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 crucial to meeting man's vital needs. Such needs include the discovery of the new sources of energy, minerals, underground water resources, the prediction of natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, 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 science. The Institute of Geophysics was established at Tehran University by the Late Professor Hossein Kashi Afshar in 1957 as a response to that international request.

The Institute of Geophysics started its activities initially with the three sections of Seismology, Geomagnetics, and Gravimetry. Later, its scope expanded to educational, pure, and applied geophysical studies. 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:

M.Sc. Level:

  • Earthquake Studies
  • Seismology
  • Magnetometry
  • Geoelectrics
  • Gravimetry


Ph.D. Level:

  • Earthquake Studies
  • Seismology
  • Electromagnetics
  • Gravimetry


All students in the Earth Sciences Group are introduced to the structure and characteristics of the planet Earth to apply the findings to the underground resources explorations, study earthquake risks across the country, and examine the geophysical engineering projects. The four research sections of Explorations, Seismology, Gravimetry, and Magnetometry together with a number of different laboratories collaborate closely with the Group of Earth Sciences.

The Space Physics Group has been offering courses in the field of Meteorology 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, meso, and micro scales, numerical 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 and industry, water, transportation, and other related fields. The four 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 charge of the job.