We study materials from the Earth from atomic to planetary scale and try to understand the evolution of the planet and the processes that shape it, with respect to the past, present and future. This understanding is of increasing importance to humankind and has a growing influence on the way we see the 'earth system' both on a regional and global level. The future development of the Earth concerning the availability of geological resources like petroleum and fresh water, or the disposal of radioactive waste and carbon dioxide are issues that need to be solved.
One of our most important tasks is the education of the future stakeholders in science, technology, politics and public administration. This encompasses natural resources, protection of water supplies, natural hazards, energy resources, climate and environmental challenges, existing waste deposits, and structural and civil engineering that ranges from building ground to tunnelling. Our department is externally oriented. Teaching and research activities are closely linked with the department of agricultural sciences, life sciences, engineering sciences as well as physics, chemistry, and materials sciences. In order to face future challenges, our courses offer subjects in fundamental as well as applied natural sciences. The study is enhanced by close contact to research, collaboration with industry, and relationships to other universities worldwide.