Robert W. Jacobel

Professor of Physics

My interests are in the application of physics to problems related to the earth, in particular to studies of ice and climate change in the warming world we inhabit today.  My teaching is therefore in both the Physics and Environmental Studies Programs. I have been a recent Chair of  the Physics Department and also have close ties to Environmental Studies which I helped found and directed for a number of years.  Currently I teach an introductory course in earth science, Geophysics - Perspectives on the Dynamic Earth and also a level II course on Global Climate Change.  I direct the Advanced Laboratory course for sophomore physics majors and also frequently teach one of the introductory courses in Environmental Studies.  You can read more about these courses in the links below.

My research takes me to Antarctica and other icy places, and we have a research group supported by the National Science Foundation consisting of four to five students each year and a post doc.  As geophysicists, we utilize remote sensing tools that enable us to see into the earth/ ice and also to observe it from space using imagery acquired by satellites.  In particular we design and deploy ice-penetrating radar systems to explore the topography beneath ice sheets and also to study ice history and dynamics problems by looking at the deformation of layers preserved within the ice, once deposited as snow on the surface.  Satellite imagery of the surface gives information that is complementary to our investigations of what lies below. Often our radar studies are in support of  research focusing on ice core climate records, but the radar has a variety of applications, some of them on smaller mountain glaciers as well.  You can learn more about these activities in our research website below.

Ice Radar and Remote Sensing Research Group

This site describes the activities of our research group. It was created and is maintained by students involved in this work. We have lots of neat pictures and graphics, please visit us here.

Courses I Currently Teach

Click on this link to see a list of my courses. Syllabi, schedules and related information is available on the campus "L-drive."

CV and Publications


St. Olaf Physics Department

St. Olaf Environmental Studies Program

St.Olaf College
1520 St.Olaf Ave
Northfield, MN 55057

Office: 262 Regents Hall of Science
Telephone: (507) 786-3124
E-mail: jacobel@stolaf.edu

This page was last modified on 7 September, 2011.