The faculty devoted to studying the planet have changed the name of their institution—called the School of Earth Sciences for 50 years—to the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences.

With a long history tied to Stanford’s beginnings, today, as the world faces a burgeoning population expected to surge to 9 billion by the end of the century, the school is focused on finding solutions to four challenges that face people living on Earth: securing the energy future, reducing natural hazards, achieving food and water security, and finding ways to mitigate and adapt to climate changes.

But why a new name? The school has always had deep strengths in the disciplines that study the solid earth’s subsurface processes and their relationship to mineral and energy resources, to natural hazards such as earthquakes and volcanoes, and to the evolution of the planet.

Over the past two decades, though, the school has added expertise on the surface systems of the planet—where people live. This includes work on land, ocean, freshwater, and climate systems, the environmental changes going on within them, and how people interact with them. “The new name better represents the scope of the school’s research and teaching, and its value,” says Stanford Earth Dean Pam Matson.