Introduction to Mineral Physics

"Mineral Physics 101"

A COMPRES Graduate Seminar

Hosted by Dr. Pamela Burnley and Dr. Sylvia-Monique Thomas

Department of Geoscience and High Pressure Science and Engineering Center

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Mineral Physics 101 is an entry level graduate course in mineral physics. The course was taught in Spring 2012 and Spring 2014. Materials from the course are available in several venues. The overview materials and many of the guest lectures are posted on the SERC web site. All the materials used in the course as well as recordings of all the sessions are available by request.

The objective of the course is to familiarize students with mineral physics topics and techniques so that they can comfortably read research literature in mineral physics. Students will learn enough about these experimental techniques so that they can evaluate the strength of scientific claims made by mineral physicists and form informed opinions about controversies in high pressure geophysics.

Topics include: equations of state, tensors, stress, strain and elasticity, Brillouin spectroscopy, the multi-anvil apparatus, synchrotron diffraction, high pressure deformation experiments, high pressure ultrasonic measurements, diffusion and partitioning at high pressure, Raman and IR spectroscopy at high pressure, high pressure phase equilibria, the diamond anvil cell, melts at high pressure, nuclear inelastic scattering, and Mossbauer spectroscopy. This course was designed for graduate students in the physical sciences with undergraduate degrees in geoscience, physics or chemistry. It is targeted at an audience that has at minimum had calculus, inorganic chemistry and first year physics, and exposure to crystallography either through mineralogy or solid state physics/chemistry.

Access to materials:

The modules written for the course, which include many of the guest lectures, are posted on the SERC web site. An overview of the class as it was taught in 2012 is available here:

An overview of the class as it was taught in 2014 is available here:


Additional materials including all readings, and guest lectures, recordings of paper discussions and homework sets are available via a password protected website. For access please contact Pamela Burnley (