Guest Editors’ Introduction to the Special Issue: IAG/USP: 50th Years

Marcia Ernesto, Carlos Alberto Mendonça, Leila Soares Marques


The Department of Geophysics of the Institute of Astronomia, Geofísica e Ciências Atmosféricas of the Universidade de São Paulo, celebrates its jubilee since its foundation on 26th May 1972, shortly after the incorporation of the former Instituto Astronômico e Geofísico  (IAG) into USP. The IAG adopted its current name in 2001, keeping its traditional acronym IAG/USP.  The precursors of IAG, however, have a long history starting from 1886, when the Geographical and Geological Commission of the State of São Paulo was created. Over the years, the Institute was directed under different formats and secretariats of State, consistently with main activities on Astronomy and Meteorology research and services of public interest. It was then incorporated into the Polytechnic School of USP and finally became an independent Institute with three departments.

The constitution of the Department of Geophysics brought together professors and researchers from other USP units and Brazilian and foreign universities to establish key research groups in Paleomagnetism, Seismology, Geodesy and Gravimetry, Nuclear Geophysics, and Geothermal Flux that shaped core research lines in the institution. Early in its beginning, the Department offered undergraduate courses to Physics students and graduate courses to other programs. Its Graduate Programs in Geophysics (MSc. and PhD.) were officially inaugurated in 1974. A decade later, in 1984, the bachelor’s degree in Geophysics was created as a pioneering course in Brazil.

The foundation of the bachelor's program promoted the expansion of research and teaching activities to a department formerly devoted to basic research, then incorporating many Applied Geophysics disciplines to meet the needs to educate highly qualified professional geophysicists.

The evolution of teaching and research activities in Geophysics at IAG/USP has been remarkable, achieving undisputed recognition among Brazilian and international counterparts. About 80% of the Department's scientific production is published internationally in the most prestigious journals, corresponding to the top three extracts of the Qualis/CAPES classification.

This special issue of the Brazilian Journal of Geophysics celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Department of Geophysics at IAG/USP and presents an overview of its current research activities. Through this work, we also pay tribute to the creators and founders of the Department, as well as to everyone who, over these five decades of existence, left their indelible contributions.


IAG; USP; 50 years; editorial; special issue; introduction; guest editors

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